Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Playing the music of compulsion

"New Zealand music achieves record airplay!" trumpets an excited group including the Herald, Little Steve Maharey, NZ on Air, and the fairies at the bottom of my garden.
Airplay of New Zealand music has doubled [to 21%] since March 2002 when the government and the Radio Broadcasters Association launched a Code of Practice for New Zealand music content, agreeing to a target of 20% of local music by the year 2006. "This is a fantastic result for the music industry, and it demonstrates what we've known all along – that New Zealanders want to tune into more of their own music," [a breathless] Steve Maharey said.
Isn't that great! Isn't that fantastic! Haven't they done well!? Well, no they haven't -- or at least, this 'result' leaves us in no position to know, since as Lindsay Mitchell notes the figure achieved is the direct result of compulsion. "Back in 2001 the radio industry was told to lift their quota of NZ product or else," she reminds us. Aunty Marian Hobbs told radio stations then she expected them to "comply voluntarily... or else there is always the big stick." So as Lindsay says, "the logic is very mangey. Because radio stations did what they were told under threat of complusion the argument has been twisted to, NZers must have wanted it after all."

Expecting logic from politicians is the only thing she's got wrong here. Expect to see the 'voluntary quota' lifted on the back of this -- or else. As someone once said, if its good then they don't have to force you.

LINKS: New Zealand music achieves record level of local airplay - NZ Herald
Do it or we will make you - Lindsay Mitchell

TAGS: New Zealand, Music, Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour

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