Friday, December 10, 2010

Take the money and run

Last weekend the Sunday Star Times ran a story in its gossip section on local singer Annabel Fay. Seems that she flew some radio programmers over by helicopter to her parents' flash place on Great Mercury Island for a party to say thank you for their support of her latest single. The SST suggests this happened with her father, Michael Fay footing the bill. Her 2nd album is due out next year.

NBR picked up on the story, here. Titled "Excuse me, Sir Michael – is there someone you’re forgetting to thank for your daughter’s success?", the story  talks about the celebration, saying "It’s great to see Sir Michael rewarding key people for their support. But NBR wonders if he is (cough, sorry, this this is awkward) forgetting a few. Mainly, taxpayers who stumped the $50,000 of NZ On Air music funding that has helped bankroll his daughter’s recent efforts."

In today's NZ Herald, John Drinnan picks up the same story in his column. Unfortunately, he gets the $$ value of funding Ms Fay has received from NZ on Air wrong.

Fay has recieved $80,000 to date, not $70,000, as Drinnan  says. He also says "That comprises $50,000 funding for an upcoming but unnamed album." Her debut album was not funded by NZ On Air - the album funding referred to was from 2008.

He could have easily checked this by visiting the NZ On Air website and using the "search funding" option, which displays all the work NZ On Air has funded. This is all publicly available.

Drinnan says "under the music funding system the taxpayer pays - no matter how much cash the artist or record company has. We are paying for the opportunity to hear New Zealand music on radio." And you're paying to see NZ shows on TV, NZ films at the movies, NZ classical music on the radio and in concert, and you're paying for hospitals for the sick, and benefits for poor people... Did Drinnan join the Act Party recently?


The really surprising bit is Drinnan completely failed to mention the independent review of NZ On Air's music programmes that has been carried out this year (and which he's written about previously, if I recall correctly). This report is finished and due for release in the next few weeks, apparently.

Taking cheap shots at the music business is lazy journalism. John, do your homework, bro!

ADDED Russell Brown pointed out to me via Twitter that Drinnan doesn't mention that the NZOA funding is required to be matched dollar for dollar by the record company. And the NZOA funding is also fully recoupable.
ADDED Here's a thought  - maybe Drinnan wants to have a go at Liam Finn getting $60,000 of taxpayer dosh. His dad Neil is well off, I hear. Go on, John, I dare ya.

ADDED Sat Dec 11 - John Drinnan has dropped by and replied in the comments. He corrected me regarding the $ figures -  the $70 k figure came from Brendan Smyth at NZ On Air, who advised Drinnan that the details were wrong on their website. Perhaps someone at NZ On Air needs to make sure all the grant info is up to date.

9 comments:

Juha said...

Are you saying Fay has received $80,000? You wrote "$80,00" up there.

This NZ On Air report says she got $55,000 for the 08-09 year alone, unless I missed any further entries.

Isn't Drinnan's point that Fay may actually be wealthy enough to further her career without the help of tax payer money?

Interesting reading, that NZ On Air report. Everything's nicely accounted for, but I had no idea that the funding was so extensive (and yes, I do think that's a good thing).

Peter said...

ah ha! Thanks for pointing out the typo, fixed now. Drinnan seems to be buying into the Fran O'Sullivan piece he linked to, sugesting arts funding should be means-tested. Would love to see that one applied to orchestras. It's just ridiculous.

If Drinnan's point is Fay can afford to fund her own career, she's definitely not the only musician in this country with wealthy parents.

The reality of NZOA funding nz music to get on the radio is without it, NZ music was less than 2% of radio airplay here. Now it's more like 20%. That's a good thing.

jdrinnan said...

answering your point.
The big increase in airplay for New Zealand music followed a voluntary quota from the radio industry- after the government of the day threatened regulation

The point about music taxpayer support for classical music is mentioned in the item.

The $70,000 is as advised by New Zealand On Air. I'm aware that at least one of the allocations listed NZ on Air's Brendan Smythe advised details on its website are wrong.

I'm aware album grants are recoupable - I'd be interested to find out how much we have recovered.

THe NZOA internal report will be considered by Jonathan Coleman as part of his wider review

As for Liam Finn's grant - I'm not sure why anybody needs to be dared to mention that.

Presumably you mean because his father Neil was such a big critic of music industry handouts

Peter said...

Hi John

thanks for replying.

I'm disappointed that most of your points in reply were not included in your columns, such as mentioning the grants being recoupable and matched by record companies. That's an important point. As is that Ms Fay met the funding criteria.

I stand corrected on the $$$ details, if NZOAs website is in fact wrong. You'd think if they were trying to be transparent about their funding they'd at least check to make sure it was accurate.

Crediting the radio industry with success for a voluntary quota is a bit of a stretch - the government of the day threatened regulation as a result of extensive lobbying from NZOA, and the music industry. Radio programmers were hugely resistant to NZ music prior to that.

In regards to Liam Finn's grant - as I mentioned in the comment above yours, Annabel Fay isn't the only musician in the country with wealthy parents. It just seems an easy target for you to attack an unpopular millionaire like Michael Fay rather than a popular millionaire like Neil Finn. Every year at the APRA Silver Scrolls Neil wins the award for Most Played NZ Song Internationally. That tells you what kind of royalties he gets annually. Its also worth noting that Neil Finn owns a recording studio, which Liam has used in the past.

John, perhaps you could follow up on the issue of recoupments from NZOA grants. There are some success stories in there, esp from TV shows. I'd also like to see how far you can get with the idea of means-testing for the arts. I don't see how that one can fly, but we are under a National govt, so anything is possible.

Cheers.

Juha said...

SST says today that Fay has received $85,000 since 2006, and that NZOA's Brendan Smythe went on an all-expenses paid for trip to Michael Fay's Great Mercury Island for an "album preview".

Under those circumstances, I do think it's right to ask what's going on here.

Peter said...

Juha - Fay got the money because she was deemed eligible under the funding criteria. It's not a grant - its recoupable. And the copter to the album preview for Brendan Smyth (if true) - well, the music industry does all sorts of excessive promo stunts to get influential people to listen to its commercial offerings. This isn't a one-off instance. I don't agree with Fay getting funding, but that's cos I don't like her music.

Rob said...

This section of the broadcasting act might be relevant

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM158019.html

"The Commission, in assessing any proposal for the Commission to make funds available for broadcasting or transmitting on demand, or for the production of any programme to be broadcast or content to be transmitted on demand, must have regard to (a) the extent to which the persons seeking the funding for the project to which the proposal relates have sought and secured funding or other resources for the project from sources other than the Commission;"

ie "Annabel can you afford to do this off your own back cos we've got a lot of people who can't?"

It is a form of means testing and it is in the Broadcasting act, and it is The failure to follow this logical point which cause a lot of the offense NZers feel.

As noted in my independent report (available here - http://www.mediafire.com/?uqg11bmvvvem426) NZ on Air is desperate to attach itself to success, to be seen to be successful, rather than the less glamorous and more difficult job of actually nurturing success.

With that in mind it's easy to see why you'd want to align yourself with a money bags artist like Fay. Her dad will definitely throw the required amount of payola at the right people to make them both look good, and indeed he has already, but is that really what NZ on Air are there for?

And if you don't know what ZNOA are there for its written in the broadcasting act in section 36.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM158014.html

"to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture", ...whatever you interpret that to mean, but it surely doesn't mean throw money at major companies to make music to sell adds to, surely...

SoundslikeusNZ said...

This section of the broadcasting act might be relevant

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM158019.html

"The Commission, in assessing any proposal for the Commission to make funds available for broadcasting or transmitting on demand, or for the production of any programme to be broadcast or content to be transmitted on demand, must have regard to (a) the extent to which the persons seeking the funding for the project to which the proposal relates have sought and secured funding or other resources for the project from sources other than the Commission;"

ie "Annabel can you afford to do this off your own back cos we've got a lot of people who can't?"

It is a form of means testing and it is in the Broadcasting act, and it is The failure to follow this logical point which cause a lot of the offense NZers feel.

As noted in my independent report (available here - http://www.mediafire.com/?uqg11bmvvvem426) NZ on Air is desperate to attach itself to success, to be seen to be successful, rather than the less glamorous and more difficult job of actually nurturing success.

With that in mind it's easy to see why you'd want to align yourself with a money bags artist like Fay. Her dad will definitely throw the required amount of payola at the right people to make them both look good, and indeed he has already, but is that really what NZ on Air are there for?

And if you don't know what ZNOA are there for its written in the broadcasting act in section 36.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM158014.html

"to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture", ...whatever you interpret that to mean, but it surely doesn't mean throw money at major companies to make music to sell ads to, surely...

Peter said...

Hi Rob thanks for the info - I just checked Blogger, it had mistakenly marked your comment as spam and was awaiting moderation so I had to check and publish it from there. Apologies