Why NZ Music Month is worthless

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 10:09 30/04/2014

There's a whole lot of stuff planned, as usual. There'll be "showcases" and there'll be token mentions in blog posts and newspaper articles, the usual names will be named. Ultimately the same backs will be patted. The same few - the chosen few, with just a small hint of new and therefore (allegedly) exciting being added into the mix...

Always that token gesture.

You'll have to tolerate people trotting out that line about it being good to "show some support" as if the rest of the year can just go f**k itself; the artists will all be dining out on their earnings from this concentrated period anyway. Since it's so lucrative and all.

Way back, once upon a time, over a decade ago now - in a different era, pre-social media, when people still went into record stores (and by people I mean the general public, not only us sad collector/completist/fetishist types) there was possibly a purpose. There was a quota to push, it was about radio-play. But radio doesn't matter at all. Not now. Now it's about Facebook likes. And if you're sitting around worrying about who likes you - or who likes your stuff - on Facebook you're clearly doing it all wrong. And probably not doing it all since it's your fulltime job just to manage a Facebook page.

We have some brilliant musicians in this country.

And most of them must dread what's coming. Because it means the friends and family members who still don't understand why they have dedicated their life to their craft but have - on the surface - so little to show for it will be among those announcing that they're going to be keen to "show some support" and will most certainly be "doing their bit".

In terms of the new crop, you'll read names that you'll never read again. They'll flick by you and mean nothing. You'll also read the same names too, the ones you always see. Once a year or so. They might have something new to offer. It will probably sound the sound. Those cynical jerks that wait, that time their release.

There will be t-shirts and posters and there might even be a word or two from the PM. He'll slur his way through a bit about showing support and being proud and he probably won't even (quite) laugh. He'll tell the country to give itself a big high five. When actually an extra five dollars would probably be handy. It will be the seventh or ninth or eleventh news item in the final week of the month. The newsreader will smirk when he or she gets to trot out a line earlier in the month, they'll then share a giggle over owning some Split Enz or whatever.

We should really end it. Call it quits. Stop the madness. Get rid of it. For once. For all. Forever.

Especially this year too - I mean the kudos, most of it, will just be going to Lorde. What she's done, what she's achieved, will of course be talked up as being so great for the whole country. Again. She'll win a couple more awards here. There will be a small team of PR trouts making them up just to hand on to Lorde. Best Stage Name. Best Real Name. Best at Winning So Far Because we have to now give her every award going - and get some more made -  since she's won a couple of big international ones. It couldn't possibly be right to recognise any other musician. Lorde's done (more than) enough for every musician. They just need to be patient now and wait. The benefits will soon start rolling in.

Yes, the musicians will know exactly the sort of benefit. And it's more of a trickle. It's never ever rolling.

One of the special events might even see Lorde perched up at Aotearoa Square during lunch-hours. The rest of the musicians in Auckland waiting in line, ready to kiss the ring. They owe her after all. She's done so much. Really so much.

Other times, other years, back a half-decade ago or so, I've even tried to do my bit to celebrate it - writing a post every day about a different artist or aspect, trying quite hard to pick the lesser known, the names that aren't - perhaps - the usual suspects.

But not this time.

We need it to stop. We need to say no more. Kill it until it is very dead indeed. Kill it with fire. Something stronger than that usual piss-weak apathy anyways.

But it's too late this year. Because it'll be jangling its spurs and riding back on in to town. And a few psychophants and psycho-fans will be keen to hitch wagons, jump bandwagons, ride that horse for 31 boring, embarrassing, desperate and ultimately insignificant days.

Yes, it's another New Zealand Music Month. And we don't need it. Not at all. Not anymore.Target

It makes us seem petty and lazy and simple. It reduces our musical voice, collectively, down to the dude-bro party-guitar bulls**t and all that vacuous crap that doesn't sound at all like it has any actual New Zealand voice. That sounds like it would, if it could, if it had a choice, be John Mayer Jr or Jack Johnson II.

That Jeremy Redmore guy - formerly of Midnight Youth - he'll be this year's star.  Further proof that we've all failed. That it all means nothing. That the right people are left to fend for themselves and the spineless learn to crawl. And the crawlers get it all.

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