Leonie Hayden: Who's bitter enough to hate NZ Music Month?

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Music blogger Leonie Hayden doesn't think we need New Zealand Music Month, but it is a privilege to have it.
New Zealand Music Month deserves to be celebrated.
New Zealand Music Month deserves to be celebrated.

And so we come to the end of another NZ Music Month. The stars did not fall from the sky and The Feelers did not probe anyone on a mountainside, to my knowledge.

I've always equated hating NZ Music Month to showing up to a party and yelling, "What's the point?!" at the hosts. I mean, who's bitter enough to hate something that celebrates music? (PS I already know the answer to that question). I for one welcome the opportunities that often crop up to learn something about the past.

My favourite thing to happen during Music Month was the Tied To The Tracks project - 200 New Zealand albums are now available digitally thanks to Recorded Music NZ, spearheaded by board chair Chris Caddick (of The Caddick Report fame) and funded in part by Lord Steampunk himself, dairy-drugs kingpin Starboy.

Thanks dude, pleased to see those filthy fat stacks being funneled back into something worthwhile.

It's taken a few years to put together - many of the albums were only released on LP, and some had to be traced back to the last remaining copies in possession of the artists themselves. From what I can remember of the launch event, a huge chunk was found in the collection of kings of the vinyl nerds, Audio Culture's Simon Grigg and Murray Cammick.

When I was experiencing the cultural cringe responsible for keeping a lot of local music out of the charts in the '90s (to be fair I was just a horrible, spotty, misshapen adolescent. Grown ass radio programmers should have known better) it would have done me good to know about more of these albums. To my judgmental ears, the '80s chart toppers sounded beyond naff and then someone decided to shove diluted American dross like Deep Obsession down our throats, leading me to make assumptions about local music and worship at the altar of Seattle instead.

I later discovered salvation in the form of Head Like A Hole and Garageland, but I was completely ignorant to the deep, wide ocean of albums that ranged from '60s girl group pop and R&B to some of the coolest psychedelia and garage rock around, and perhaps some of us are still a little bit guilty of that ignorance.

The albums are available via iTunes, Spotify and Amplifier, but it's dependent on each label or artists feelings towards those platforms. There's a handy Pinterest board being updated by Audio Culture, so you can see exactly what's on offer.

Each of the albums' cover art was digitally restored where needed and mounted in an exhibition at Tyler Street Garage in Auckland's Britomart.

We don't need New Zealand Music Month but I think we're privileged to have it.

In David vs Goliath showbiz news, New Zealand's independent record label association IMNZ, along with their international counterparts, are taking on YouTube's new music streaming platform, which is due to launch soon.

After making deals with major labels, the internet giant is undercutting independent labels in a move that sees them paying well under the market average already being paid by Spotify, Rdio , Deezer and the like, which most will argue is too low to begin with.

YouTube has threatened to block content if independents don't sign the contract on offer.

Methinks treating independent copyright owners like crap isn't a great idea if they then form like Voltron (the worldwide independent label association WIN) to point out that 80 per cent of new releases are generated by independents. Lawyer up Google! Looks like you kicked sand in the wrong kid's face.

* What do you think? Do we need New Zealand Music Month?

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