Local music on radio hits highest peak since records began!


Local music broke several records for radio airplay and chart placings in 2020 – in spite of the many challenges the industry faced due to the pandemic, according to NZ On Air, the Radio Broadcasters Association and Recorded Music NZ.

For the first time since 2005, commercial radio networks and stations playing contemporary New Zealand music collectively played more than 20% local music content in the calendar year. The final figure for New Zealand music airplay on commercial radio in 2020 of 20.95% surpasses the previous highest figure achieved in 2005 of 20.77%.

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 in the success.

“There have been big local and global successes like BENEE, Jawsh685, Six60 and Drax Project, astonishing success locally for artists like L.A.B., and a wide range of other local acts who have achieved radio airplay and chart placings. Despite 2020 being a hugely challenging year it was very encouraging to see local audiences loving local hits,” said Mr Ridler.

Damian Vaughan, Chief Executive of Recorded Music NZ noted, “It is extremely satisfying to see the number of NZ artists increasing their presence across commercial radio. Its testament to our talented artists and the breadth of songs being written and produced locally, as well as the strong relationships between the music and radio sectors, all with a shared goal to champion music from Aotearoa.”

According to Paul Kennedy from Radioscope/Recorded Music NZ (which manages all airplay data) the 20.95% achievement is the highest quantity of New Zealand music on air in a calendar year since monitoring began. He says, “That’s up from 18.26% in 2019 and 16.61% in 2018, and a long way from the 5% range when these stats first began to be kept in the late ‘90s.”

Big ups to NZ radio broadcasters for supporting our backyard talent!

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