IMNZ Welcomes New Member Tom-Lee Richards
Infectious rhythms, rich harmony and timely drops of silence draw you in to Tom Lee-Richards’ nuanced songwriting. Tom blends synth textures with playful harmony and mouth-percussion and has just finished his 1st EU tour including shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The new single ‘Beside You’ has been added to rotation on Triple J Unearthed among other stations.
Following on from ‘Madness’ Tom’s last music video chosen for a number of international film festivals, ‘Beside You’s’ new dystopian future video is currently MTV Upload of the week. It also premiered on FolkRadio UK and has been featured in Berlin’s VICE Kaltblut magazine’s Top 5 among other international sites. Debut Mini-LP coming soon.
INTERNATIONAL AND INDUSTRY NEWS
Music Mentoring Programme IGNITE Returns In 2018 With Scholarship Offer
IGNITE is proud to confirm programme delivery in 2018 with a new intake and MAINZ Scholarship
opportunity. The innovative youth development programme, which nurtures and empowers young
people to pursue their passion in music and events, was established in 2016. The success of the pilot
programme led to many of its participants moving on to tertiary education and gaining work
placements and internship opportunities across the industry.
The 12-week programme will return in 2018 and will again focus on the power of mentoring; offering
participants aged 15-18 a unique experience and hands-on approach to the music and events industry.
There are 10 placements available and there is no cost to participate in the programme, which will run
from April 7 to June 28. Visit www.igniteprogramme.org.nz for more information on the programme.
Applications open on February 12. What IGNITE offers:
• Established music industry professional paired up with participants to provide information, advice
and guidance on an ongoing basis throughout the programme (one-on-one)
• Participants develop events further in groups and with previous graduates (peer to peer)
Seminars and Workshops
• Invited professionals share expertise at IGNITE Seminars, also open to the public. Topics include
event and tour management and marketing and aimed towards people venturing into events
and tours for the first time, followed by workshops where participants will get feedback and
advice on their events from the industry guests.
• Guests from the production sector facilitates a hands-on Event Production workshop for
participants to gain a base understanding of event production and learn basic sound setup skills
• Gain practical experience volunteering and working at music events
• Private tours of music venues to gain further insight
Participants will work towards producing a music-based event at the end of the 12-week programme,
working under the guidance of their mentors, alongside the IGNITE team and with the assistance of the
IGNITE Event Fund. All participants will reflect on their journey and learnings and present these to
complete the programme. One deserving graduate will be awarded the MAINZ Scholarship to study
Diploma in Music and Event Management in 2019. Industry mentors will be announced in January.
Blockchain Music: Rights, Artists and ‘The Big Spreadsheet In The Sky’
Jaak is one of the startups exploring the potential that blockchain technology has for the music industry. The company is working on a number of pilot schemes, and its CEO Vaughn McKenzie has been a regular speaker on blockchain panels at industry conferences.
Yesterday he flew solo at the Slush Music conference in Helsinki, interviewed about ‘the state of blockchain and music’ by Lewis Silkin partner Cliff Fluet.
Fluet kicked off on the adoption of blockchain in the music industry. “I’ve seen pretty much every form of new technology that’s arrived, from the arrival of the internet… to downloads, to streaming, to mobile, to the application world, to social networks,” he said.
“The music industry has a pretty fixed playbook with how it tries to deal with new technology. It’s a deny, destroy, dominate strategy. And it can sometimes take 20 years until you see something like mass adoption. But I think with blockchain it’s been really quite different.”
In the last two years, the level of interest, adoption and proof of concept has been faster than any previous technological development, suggested Fluet.
“There are some people that are very sceptical about it thinking it’s not a magic wand, it’s just technology. Or you’ll have other people who use perfection to be the enemy of the good: because blockchain doesn’t solve everything, it solves nothing,” he continued.
What is it for? Fluet offered a sly soundbite for as-yet unBrexited fellow Brits in the room. “It’s to take back control of business models and content, and to enable it to be smart content not dumb content.”
McKenzie talked about Jaak’s journey so far, which has included plenty of reorientation. “We see the real use case of blockchain in the music industry as quite simple: we need one place to put all of the rights information… and a database is quite a bad place to put it,” he said.
“What Jaak really wants to build is infrastructure to enable you to build a global music-rights database that lives in a place where no one owns it.” And once this exists, the company hopes it will enable other benefits, from smoother royalty processing to faster, automated, more-flexible licensing.
“One thing that really does separate us has been our focus on the existing music industry. There are lots of music blockchain companies that have gone straight into ‘let’s go and do a token sale, let’s do an ICO, let’s make tokens, let’s give them to people and then let’s build a streaming service’. That ignores lots of the infrastructure that’s already been built.”
Twickets debuts ticket-resale integration with Eventbrite Music Ally Bulletin reports: Face-value ticket-resale service Twickets has a good new partnership with ticketing platform Eventbrite. It will see event promoters able to opt in to Twickets so that concertgoers can buy and sell spare tickets without inflated prices. New Zealand music festival Rhythm and Vines is first to benefit, with Twickets launching in its homeland alongside the news this week. The partnership is also live in Australia and the UK. “There are a number of technology solutions that we have already put in place to help our larger events prevent unauthorised resales of their tickets. At the same time, we want stay true to the fans, who often have perfectly valid reasons to sell their tickets,” said Eventbrite’s UK general manager Josh Crouch in a statement. The key here is the tech integration: when someone sells their ticket by logging in to Twickets with their Eventbrite account, the original will be cancelled and a new ticket issued to the buyer.
Majors Get The Tracks But Not The Longevity On Today’s Top Hits Mark Mulligan (Music Industry Blog) reports: A post by Chartmetric’s Sung Cho diving into Spotify playlist metrics caught my attention, and one aspect in particular: how the major labels dominate the flagship Spotify playlist Today’s Top Hits. Sung was kind enough to share the underlying data with me so that I could dive into it in a some more depth.
Major record label artists accounted for 77% of all tracks in Today’s Top Hits between May and November 2017. In the latest week of data available the share rose to 78%. This compares to a recorded music market revenue share of 69% for the majors in 2016 and a 72% streaming revenue market share. Major label artists thus get a larger share of the tracks in this flagship playlist compared to their market share. This apparent advantage is doubly impactful. A playlist like Today’s Top Hits is more likely to be listened through by its listeners, so the higher share of tracks a label has there translates into a higher share of plays which will ultimately contributes to a higher share of revenue which will then be used to justify a higher share of tracks, and so the process starts over.
Universal trumps the rest
Some majors though, do better than others. Universal’s streaming revenue market share in 2016 was around 30% yet it got 43% of the tracks in Today’s Top Hits over the period. Sony got 20% against a revenue share of 23% while Warner got just 13% against a 2016 revenue share of 19%. Of course, there are many caveats, not least of which is that the strength of a label’s release roster plays a big role in determining which tracks make it on to Today’s Top Hits. Which means that Universal could be doing a particularly good job of creating frontline hits that do well on streaming.
Indies over-perform against the odds
On the surface, indie labels would appear to have the dice stacked against them. A 2016 streaming revenue market share of 28% translates to a 23% share of the tracks on Today’s Top Hits. Additionally indie label tracks take an average of more than one week longer than major labels after release before Spotify adds them to the list. (The major label average is actually skewed up by a single track which was 4.5 years old when added. If that outlier is removed then the difference stretches to a full 2 weeks less time on average for major label tracks to get on the playlist compared to indie label tracks.)
This indicates that a larger number of major label tracks are taken at face value and added quickly while indie tracks are more likely to have to prove their own worth with organic plays before being added. Indeed, 55% of indie tracks have to wait more than a month before being added to Todays Top Hits, compared to 49% of major label tracks.
Yet despite the relative double disadvantage, indie tracks stay on Today’s Top Hits 12 days longer than major label tracks, which is probably a reflection of the fact that so many have to prove their worth to get on the playlist and are therefore more likely to have more staying power than an unproven track put on the playlist immediately upon release. In fact, 13% of all Today’s Top Hits tracks were put on the list the day of their release which begs the question how they can be defined as hits if no one has streamed them yet….
Rob Ruha and The Witch Dr. Announce Release Of ‘Survivance’ Album
Songwriter, composer and performer Rob Ruha will reveal the fruits of his new project – Rob Ruha and The Witch Dr. – with the release of the 12-track album SURVIVANCE today!
One of Aotearoa’s foremost producers of powerful kapa haka traditions of song and indigeneity, Ruhalaunched his solo career in 2014 and gained international recognition for his unique style of music, which became known as ‘haka soul’.
He went on to win countless awards, including ‘Best Māori Album’ (Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2014 and 2016), ‘Best Songwriter’, ‘Best Māori Song’, ‘Best Male Solo Artist’ (Waiata Māori Music Awards) and the prestigious APRA Maioha Awardin 2014 and 2016 for his waiata ‘Kariri’ and ‘Tiki Tapu.’
This year, Ruha received the honour of being named as one of five Laureate Awardrecipients in the Arts Foundation Awards.
Now the esteemed artist from New Zealand’s East Coast has embarked on a collaborative project with some of the country’s finest musicians (Darren Mathiassen from Shapeshifter, James Illingworth from Bliss n Eso, Tyna Keelan from The Nok and Johnny Lawrence from Electric Wire Hustle) AKA The Witch Dr.
The results are a stunning 12-track album, which shows a new side to the multi-talented Ruha and delivers a powerful message with an uplifting blend of festival soul and R’n’B, promoting the Māori nation as relevant, spirited, capable, connected, prophetic, morally courageous and unrelenting in their pursuit of self determination.
“The album stems from a discussion I had in the back of a taxi with friends about this academic term called ‘survivance’. It reflects how I feel about that word, what it elicits from me as a First Nations person of Aotearoa, how we address and face issues that impact us as indigenous peoples here in this country and what that means in a global context,” says Ruha.
“Musically, I wanted the album to position that discourse in a current but familiar sonic landscape to attract major ‘click traffic’ to not only the tunes but the messages in the songs. It was important also that the music was warm, offered multiple opportunities for the listener to engage with those messages and not be too intellectually heavy and uninviting.”
The tracks that make up SURVIVANCE are heavily influenced by the music that Ruhagrew up on – killer grooves, strong melodies, A-rotate listen-ability with strong R’n’B foundations.
“R’n’B was birthed out of a section of society that wanted a voice and strove to create a vehicle to amplify it and normalize its place. It is in this knowledge that we created musical beds that are fresh with exciting twists, spirited and a bit edgy, powerfully grounded and at times venerable and lamenting. It is a journey of sound that is as diverse and exciting as my Māori nation today,” he explains.
This is evident in the album’s lead single ‘Kalega’ – the perfect summer jam, which takes the listener on a journey to Ruha’s home. “Picture glistening coastal views, fresh fish and chips after a swim, ice cream stops and BBQs on the beach while your favorite jams ring out the car window and you have ‘Kalega’ – an upbeat waiata that celebrates a unique slice of Aotearoa heaven, the East Coast, where the word ‘Kalega’ is as legendary as a kina tongue on bread!”
The song debuted in the Top 5 NZ Heatseeker Chart, quickly becoming a radio favourite and receiving great traction online after its accompanying video, directed and produced by the award-winning Shae Sterling – debuted on The Spinoff.
Francisca Griffin Releases New Single ‘Falling Light’
Falling Light is the first single from Francisca Griffin’s album, The Spaces Between, which will be released in early 2018 through Cocomuse Releases, and will be available on vinyl, CD and across leading digital platforms.
Corona Sunsets and Loop Recordings Present L.A.B – 7 Free Shows Across NZ Corona Sunsets are stoked to be bringing soul/rock/funk outfit L.A.B. live and free for a seven show tour this summer, supported by Summer Thieves (select shows) & Jake Barton.
Fresh off the release of their debut self-titled album, L.A.B. are set for a huge summer. The album went straight to number one on iTunes, and is a unique blend of soulful-rock and electronic-funk, punctuated by exceptional melodies. This tour will see L.A.B. bring the album to life across some of NZ’s summer hotspots.
Accompanying L.A.B. in Opononi, Mangawhai & Whitianga are Summer Thieves. Rising from the dusty rinsed streets of ‘Scarfiedom’, Dunedin’s Summer Thieves are a melting pot of reggae, hip-hop, rock & funk. Playing alongside L.A.B. across the remaining Corona Sunsets shows is the Thieves’ frontman Jake Barton.
These shows are all free entry and limited capacity, so first come first served.
Present by Corona and Loop.
Tour Dates: December 27 – Opononi Hotel – L.A.B. w/ Summer Thieves December 28 – Mangawhai Tavern – L.A.B. w/ Summer Thieves January 2 – Whitianga Hotel – L.A.B. w/ Summer Thieves January 12 – Our Place, New Plymouth – L.A.B. w/ Jake Barton January 13 – Boundary Tap & Kitchen, Kapiti – L.A.B. w/ Jake Barton January 19 – Winnie Bagoes, Christchurch – L.A.B. w/ Jake Barton January 21 – Astrolabe Brew Bar, Mount Maunganui – L.A.B. w/ Jake Barton
45th Auckland Folk Festival – Third Announcement!
The Auckland Folk Festival celebrates its 45th anniversary in January with an entertaining and inspiringly diverse line-up of local and international artists. New Zealand’s biggest annual folk music gathering will take place again at the Kumeu Showgrounds, over Auckland Anniversary Weekend, January 26-29, 2018.
Featured in the third announcement: Tiny Town
Tiny Town is a brand new tiny theatre, specially built by the team behind Coastella Music Festival in Kapiti. Within the walls of this converted ten-foot container is room for a handful of audience members and the artist. Offering the chance to get up close and personal with musicians, the audience is rotated with each song from the artist. Traveling to Auckland for the Auckland Folk Festival, Tiny Town will pop open at times throughout the Festival and feature an eclectic and exciting mix of musicians.
APRA Songwriter Speaks
Each year APRA AMCOS bring a songwriter to the Festival for what is called ‘Songwriter Speaks’. The Auckland Folk Festival collaborate with APRA to choose a New Zealand songwriter who is at the peak of their craft and who writes songs that contribute to the folk world. In past years they have welcomed Don McGlashan, Tama Waipara, Mel Parsons and, in 2017, Gerry Paul. This year they are excited to present the APRA AMCOS Songwriter Speaks is Adam McGrath, of The Eastern. A guest at the Festival in 2017, he will be well known to audiences as an outstanding songwriter and as a charismatic and enthusiastic speaker. A modern-day troubadour, he rustled a few feathers in the final Sunday night showcase in 2017, and inspired a new generation of songwriters in his workshops.
Social Media Songwriter Competition
The festival are bringing back their social media competition this year, after the tremendous success of the inaugural competition for the 2017 Festival. YOU will get the chance to play at the 2018 Festival. All you have to do is send in a video of you performing a folk song. The song can be an original, a cover, or a traditional song. The winner will get the chance to perform on one of the main stages at the Festival as well as a weekend pass to attend the whole Festival. You can find all the details on our Facebook page. Make sure you read the instructions and tag us correctly so we can find your video! Entries close on the 13th of December, and the winner will be announced on the 19th.
The Auckland Folk Festival is not just about music! There is a full dance programme that takes over the large hall and open spaces around the Festival grounds. 2018 will be no different as the festival welcomes a range of dancers, styles and workshops. You can be an audience member for a dance showcase, or maybe you want to go learn a dance, or take part in one of the many ceilidhs that occur in the hall each evening. This year there will be a featuring dance from the La Bourrée French Regional Dancers, Joy Dancers of Taiwan, City of Auckland Morris Dancers as well as Euro Gypsy, Scottish Dance, Welsh Clog and many others. The Gaidhealtachd Ceilidh Band open the dance programme on the Friday night with a very popular ceilidh. Don’t miss out on getting your dance on, you can always have a rest and watch some music before coming back for the next session.
The family-friendly festival showcases folk musicians from around New Zealand and the world to entertain guests of all ages. Beginning on the Friday night, festival goers can enjoy a long holiday weekend of concerts, dances and educational workshops, all within the boundaries of the Kumeu Showgrounds, situated just a short drive northwest of Auckland city.
With a new breed of NZ folk artists enjoying international attention the festival has also been evolving in recent years, drawing in a younger generation of fans who appreciate those authentic modern songwriters, as well as more traditional folk and dance.
The Auckland Folk Festival provides opportunities for the artists and attendees alike to share their own music and celebrations with like-minded people from all cultures.
Sustainability is at the forefront of festival organisers’ decisions with recycling stations and a no-rubbish policy. Set in a spacious rural environ, the festival supports local businesses by using their services where possible. All tickets include camping.