Making New Zealand's Pop Renaissance: State, Markets, Musicians, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Making New Zealand's Pop Renaissance

State, Markets, Musicians, 1st Edition

By Michael Scott


198 pages

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Since the early 2000s New Zealand has undergone a pop renaissance. Domestic artists' sales, airplay and concert attendance have all grown dramatically while new avenues for 'kiwi' pop exports emerged. Concurrent with these trends was a new collective sentiment that embraced and celebrated domestic musicians. In Making New Zealand's Pop Renaissance, Michael Scott argues that this revival arose from state policies and shows how the state built market opportunities for popular musicians through public-private partnerships and organizational affinity with existing music industry institutions. New Zealand offers an instructive case for the ways in which 'after neo-liberal' states steer and co-ordinate popular culture into market exchange by incentivizing cultural production. Scott highlights how these music policies were intended to address various economic and social problems. Arriving with the creative industries' discourse and policy making, politicians claimed these expanded popular music supports would facilitate sustainable employment and a sense of national identity. Yet popular music as economic and social policy presents a paradox: the music industry generates commercial failure and thus requires a large unattached pool of potential talent. Considering this feature, Scott analyses how state programs induced an informal economy of proto-pop production aimed at accessing competitive state funding while simultaneously encouraging musicians to adopt entrepreneurial subjectivities. In doing so he argues New Zealand's music policies are a form of social policy that unintentionally deploy hierarchical structures to foster social inclusion amongst growing numbers of creative workers.


’The historical marginalization of New Zealand’s local recording industry by the international record companies has usually been framed in terms of the traditional binary between a more interventionist government role in the market place versus the operation of the free market. Scott moves beyond this, providing a comprehensive and nuanced analysis of policies supporting the production and dissemination of domestic popular music, introduced during the Fifth Labour Government (1999-2008) and maintained since. In situating the New Zealand case in terms of a rejection of neo-liberalism and the shift to an enabling state, this study will be of wider interest, making an original and valuable contribution to our understanding of popular music policy.’ Roy Shuker, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand ’Scott’s critical sociological approach provides a range of state-centric and society-centric interpretations that enable a new reading of these state-driven music economy interventions’.

Table of Contents

Contents: New Zealand’s pop renaissance; The ’after neo-liberal promotional state’; The development of popular music policy; The state and popular music markets; Musicians and the state; Popular music as social policy; Conclusion: governing through popular culture?; Appendix; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Michael Scott is a Lecturer in Sociology at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. He has previously published in Popular Music, Journal of Sociology and Poetics.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / International
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock