What we mean by Music

Music includes classical and contemporary music; orchestral, choral, and band music; opera; jazz and improvised music; sound art; contemporary popular music; 'world' music; traditional and contemporary Māori and Pacific music.

It includes customary and contemporary practices of all the peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand, including Māori and Pasifika peoples and the diverse cultures of people living in Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Track record requirements

For a musician or a music group, success means having performed publicly with a degree of critical or box-office success. This does not include performances made as part of a course of study.

For a music composer or writer, success means having had published or performed at least one work that received a degree of critical or sales success. This does not include performances made as part of a course of study.

Music activities we support

We fund a range of activities, for example:

Developing or presenting work

  • Creating new music work.
  • New recordings (both audio and visual content) of original high-quality New Zealand music where the main purpose is to use the recording to support a future domestic or international tour, a live or digitally mediated performance, or promotion activity.
  • Commissions of new music or sound work.
  • Residencies in New Zealand or overseas for New Zealand composers to create new work.
  • Touring or presenting in New Zealand or internationally.
  • Publication of music scores by New Zealand composers.

Developing skills and audiences

  • Mentoring programmes
  • Workshops, wānanga, fono, masterclasses, seminars, conferences and for creative and professional development for New Zealand composers, musicians and music practitioners.
  • Competitions that offer development opportunities for New Zealand performers and composers or engage with diverse communities.
  • International professional-development opportunities for composers or performers.
  • Initiatives for audience development.

Community projects

  • Community arts projects that focus on professional musicians working with communities, or that have regional or national significance. (refer to Community arts).

Music criticism and documentaries

  • Publication of monographs, essay series, journals, music scores and critical writing about music from New Zealand.
  • Documentary or archival projects that focus on music from New Zealand or a New Zealand practitioner.

Activities music funding does not support

Music funding cannot be used for:

  • Recording projects (both audio or visual content) where the main purpose is for broadcast, or to distribute the recording via retail or online platforms. These should be directed to NZ on Air or Te Māngai Pāho.
  • Projects that have received funding from another government organisation, such as NZ on Air or the New Zealand Music Commission. This includes projects that receive support via the NZ Music Recovery Package 2020/21 and 2021/22.
  • Production costs for presenting New Zealand music by an international company for an international audience.

Other support for contemporary popular New Zealand music

Check which government organisation funds your type of project. Creative New Zealand, NZ on Air and the New Zealand Music Commission share information on applications to ensure there is no duplication of funding.

Also, have a look at the Inter-agency contemporary popular music diagram (pdf 150KB)

Creative New Zealand

Priority: Arts development and live performance by investment in:

  • creation and development of new music
  • audio and visual recordings to support live performance, touring or promotion
  • live performance and touring
  • developing skills.

NZ on Air

Priority: music recording, video and promotional content for all broadcast and online platforms by investment in:

  • new multi song projects and singles (including recording, video and promotion)
  • recording and video content for children's music
  • new tracks distribution to broadcast and online platforms
  • NZ music features on broadcast and online platforms
  • music industry professional practice support.

NZ Music Commission

Priority: music sector growth and support by investment in:

  • increasing expertise and audiences
  • music education and engagement
  • international market development
  • domestic touring (2020/21 - 2021/22).

Te Māngai Paho

Priority: production and broadcast of content in te reo Māori by investment in:

  • recordings and publicity of music in te reo Māori
  • wānanga and breakthrough projects
  • production of Māori language content for broadcast on radio, television and online.

Music Managers Forum is dedicated to helping grow artist manager businesses through education, networking and advocacy for NZ managers and self-managed artists.

Recorded Music NZ provides industry representation, advocacy and acts as a collective licensing organisation for recording artists and their labels.

APRA AMCOS NZ ensures songwriters and composers get paid fairly and efficiently for the use of their works by providing music users with easy ways to play and copy the music they love.

Music Helps supports projects that use the power of music to help people in need & provides wellbeing & emergency financial support services to kiwi music workers.

Independent Music NZ works on behalf of independent NZ labels and artists to advocate, educate, and to celebrate NZ music, both nationally and internationally.