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.