Local Music On NZ Radio Hits New Peak

Local Music On NZ Radio Hits New Peak

Local music play on NZ radio has hit the highest peak since record-keeping began, reports NZ On Air. According to the NZOA, the Radio Broadcasters Association and Recorded Music NZ, several records for radio airplay and chart placings were broken in 2020, in spite of the many challenges the industry faced due to the Covid pandemic.

For the first time since 2005, commercial radio networks and stations playing contemporary local music collectively played more than 20% local music content in the calendar year. The final figure of 20.9% for NZ music airplay on commercial radio in 2020 surpasses the previous highest achieved in 2005 of 20.8%.
Led by a large increase in local music airplay across the pop, dance, adult contemporary and beats RnB format stations, cracking 20% has been the culmination of a steady trend of increasing local airplay since a low ebb in 2016/17.
According to NZ On Air’s Head of Music David Ridler the strength and breadth of the great local music repertoire in 2020 has been a key factor, attributing the local and international successes of the likes of Benee, Jawsh685, Six60, L.A.B. and Drax Project.
Paul Kennedy from Radioscope/RMNZ (which manages all airplay data) says the 20.9% achievement is the highest quantity of NZ music on air in a calendar year since monitoring started. “That’s up from 18.3% in 2019 and 16.6% in 2018, and a long way from the 5% range when these stats first began to be kept in the late ‘90s.”

The data relates exclusively to airplay on commercial radio and does not include music played on public, student and iwi radio – all of which are tracked separately, and also had strong local content results in 2020.

Other records broken in 2020 by local music include:

  • More than 2 billion impacts by local songs. An impact is defined as the total number of listeners who were tuned to a particular station at the time a Kiwi song was played, as measured by GfK. It means that on 2 billion occasions a New Zealander heard a NZ song being played on the radio.
  • For the first time near the end of 2020, weekly impacts exceeded 50 million in a 7-day period.
  • In 2020, the #1 spot on the weekly RadioScope 100 Airplay was held by a local song on 41 occasions.
  • For 34 weeks in a row an NZ song held the #1 position – eight different songs consecutively held the spot – songs by Six60 (four tracks), L.A.B., Drax Project, Jawsh685 and Stan Walker. 

NZ On Air was allocated two years of additional music funding in the Arts Recovery package in May 2020. The extra funding is boosting NZ On Air’s investments in multi-single Projects, individual Singles, and rounds focusing on Development, Pasifika artists, Te Reo Māori waiata (with Te Māngai Pāho) and Children’s Music.

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