Music industry

The front page: ‘Simply apocalyptic’ – Can New Zealand’s music industry rebuild from the Covid wasteland?

The music industry has a long road back to recovery. Photo/Getty Images

New Zealand Music Month has just passed and you’d be forgiven for not noticing it or taking full advantage of it.

After two difficult years, the music industry is in the early stages of a long road to recovery from the obliteration caused by Covid-19.

NZ Herald culture editor Karl Pushmann told the Front Page podcast that the impact of the pandemic on the music industry was “simply apocalyptic”.

“It completely killed the whole music industry. It wiped it out for about two years. The impact was just nightmarish, really.”

The live music and entertainment industries weren’t the only ones to face this harsh impact. Businesses and livelihoods across New Zealand have been rocked. These industries also face a long road to recovery.

One thing that has always defined the music industry is its cultural impact on society and its ability to bring people together.

“People find their tribe when they go to concert halls,” says Puschmann.

“They gain a sense of community and a sense of belonging. They find their identity through music and they get inspired to start creating their own stuff. Not having that sense of community has had a real impact on a lot of people. “

The other major impact on the industry over the past two years has been the exodus of talent from roles that helped push gigs forward. Many of these music employees have been forced to find more sustainable work elsewhere, potentially depriving the scene of some talented musicians, producers as well as stage managers and event managers.

“There was definitely a brain drain and that was a huge concern,” says Puschmann.

“There has certainly been great concern about the loss of skilled industry workers in the backstage sector: lighting and sound engineers, roadies and just anyone who makes a show or event happen. produce.

“A lot of skilled workers were forced out of the industry. These skilled workers just had nothing to do. Hopefully with the return of live music they will also come back and stay at the level that international artists need .”

Puschmann says that problem was alleviated to some extent by an increase in government funding of about $120 million for the arts and culture sector in February, which will hopefully bring some people back into the industry.

The loss that’s harder to quantify and can’t really be summed up in a spreadsheet is the Kiwi artists and talent that haven’t been able to build and build an audience over the past two years. Did we perhaps miss the next big superstar?

“It’s a loss that we cannot quantify,” replies Puschmann.

“All art is derived from inspiration. Someone can go to a show and be impacted and want to start making their own music. They build their own little community around them. So unfortunately we’ll never know. . But maybe they’ll still go to a concert and ignite that spark.”

Puschmann says the recovery of the industry in the coming years will largely depend on the support of fans, who go to shows and buy merchandise.

“The industry puts on shows and events, and it’s really up to us, the public, to support their efforts. We need to get to shows, go to venues and events, and support the industry. There’s very few things like seeing Whether you go to a show at the Spark Arena with 10,000 people or a small show at the Whammy bar with 150 people, the atmosphere is always the same…

“The best way to rebuild the industry is to just get along with those gigs, and maybe buy a t-shirt at the merchandising booth to help out the band that’s playing.”

The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am.

• You can follow the podcast on nzherald.co.nz, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.