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Editorial: Debate Editor Drops FIRE NZ Music Industry Diss Track (Dave Dobbyn to Respond??!?)


Written by Liam Hansen (they/them) | @liamhanse.n | Weezitor-in-Chief

Illustrated by Cameron McCurdy (she/her) | @leighapparently | Social Media Coordinator

Happy Aotearoa Music Month, everyone! Music from this silly little country is my prime yapping topic, and I’ve already written a feature dedicated to my favourite music venue in Tāmaki Makaurau for this issue, so I’ll try to keep this editorial brief. 

The music industry and community in New Zealand is in a fucking weird place right now. On one hand, the sheer volume of incredibly high-quality gigs, singles, and LPs being released is staggering. Every week, I’m blown away by another incredible new album from our shores, and the people behind the music - both making it, and independently organising it - continue to be some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. 

The problem is, all the passion in the community is carried out in the face of an industry that is thoroughly broken. It’s nigh impossible to make music and go on tour without losing money - let alone actually making any cash from your mahi. This is partially the fault of the devaluation of music and art in wider society - with the shift to streaming, nobody is buying music these days (unless you’re a pretentious cunt with a record collection like me - add me on Discogs @nesnahmail). The profitability of live music is also hit or miss; while gigs at small venues can sell out, promoters will undersell tickets just as often, leading to incredible festivals with lineups spanning the best of Aotearoa music becoming a financial burden on small promoters. 

It’s true that music doesn't always need to be made for profit. One of the biggest benefits of New Zealand’s independent music culture is the fact that there’s no pressure to outsell anyone, and a realistic lifestyle of balancing music creation with other work is celebrated and encouraged, rather than looked upon as a failure. But there needs to be some form of profit going around - venue spaces need to cover rent, touring bands need to afford gas, and media outlets need to pay their writers. If the pillars that keep Aotearoa music flowing can’t afford to exist anymore, the entire community will fall apart. 

While stronger government funding for the arts and a fundamental change to our economic system (read: commie revolution) would help get the industry back on its feet, there are steps you can take to support our music community. If you aren’t going to local gigs, you should stop reading this editorial and flick to our gig guide on page x. You may think you aren’t a concert person, but if your experiences of live music start and end at Spark Arena, then you don’t know what Tāmaki Makaurau is capable of. Figure out what sort of music you like, go to, and trawl through their gig guide until you find something that sounds like a bit of you - or something that you’ve never heard of! Who knows, maybe hyper-skramz and jazz-punk are the brain-scratching genres you’ve been looking for? 

This same approach can be applied to digital music website Bandcamp - find a genre you like, filter it down to artists from Aotearoa, and discover your new favourite artist. From there, you can follow them, share their music with your mates, buy their merch, and discover more artists from around Aotearoa. Over time, you will become a part of the scene, making lifelong friends in communities of misfits, hearing soundscapes of music inspired by the same places you grew up in, and eventually you might just get the itch to write some tunes of your own. 

The playlist for this issue consists of some of my favourite tunes to come out of Aotearoa over the years. I’ve started up a little Spotify playlist, so you can have a listen to these and all of my previous recommendations if you scan below. 


Voom - We’re So Lost

Bic Runga - Get Some Sleep

So So Modern - Dendrons

Lips - Take My Call 

Anthonie Tonnon - The Songs Of Your Youth

Ben Woods - Hovering at Home

Ripship - Fearsome Engine

Recitals - Arrow 

Model Home - Home Again V


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