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The networked state: New Zealand on Air and New Zealand’s pop renaissance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2008

Michael Scott
Department of Sociology, University of Auckland, 10 Symonds Street, Auckland 1000, New Zealand E-mail:


When New Zealand’s ‘third-way’ Labour government came to power in 1999 it placed a greater policy and funding emphasis on the arts and culture. Like other ‘promotional states’ (Cloonan 1999) the Labour government sought to support the domestic popular music industry through a voluntary radio quota. Drawing on qualitative research, this article describes the ways in which the state, through New Zealand on Air, negotiates and leverages domestic popular music artists onto commercial radio. In this process, state agents mobilise social networks to ‘join-up’ commercially appropriate artists to radio programmers. The success of this programme is based upon state agents developing an institutional isomorphism with existing music industry practices. Even so, popular music makers contest New Zealand on Air’s sympathetic policy settings by citing forms of institutional exclusion.

Middle Eight
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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