Have you been in a retail store and heard your music playing? Where were you the first time, and what was it like?
“Yes, we have! It’s such a crazy feeling because you know it happens, but to actually witness it is surreal. I always look around at the other people in the store and feel strange that they have no idea it’s my song.
“The first time I was actually in an H&M in Germany, and my girlfriend in the changing room messaged me saying “Isn’t this your song playing” – I hadn’t even noticed so that was pretty wild. It’s on a lot of retail playlists, so I always hear it in malls and stores which is awesome. It’s really amazing to know that people hear it when they’re just going about their day.”
Do you think retailers know that they are supporting you as a local artist through the licence fees they pay to play music?
“I don’t think retailers know much about the system to be honest. It can be a lot to grasp so I understand, but as an artist public performance royalties are a part of our livelihood. I think a lot of retailers and small businesses think that it doesn’t matter, or that they’ve already paid to use the music by getting Spotify, which is such a misconception. Musicians are small business owners and you wouldn’t expect any other small business to provide their goods or services for free, so why do we expect to use other people’s music for free?”
What’s one thing that you would tell retailers about the importance of the licence fees they pay?
“I guess if I came in to your store and asked for your product for free you would probably decline – that’s how I feel about retailers that don’t pay for a music licence. Music makes such a huge difference to the vibe of a store and can be so powerful in curating an atmosphere for the shoppers. Don’t take it for granted!”’
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about working in the music industry?
“It can definitely be rough sometimes when you have no money and get knocked around with too many people saying ‘No’. The best advice is to hang in there and take every opportunity because everything you are a part of is a chance to grow and learn. Sometimes the things we thought would be a terrible gig or would play to no one were the times that a crucial industry person was in the crowd, or someone loved us and created an opportunity for us. You just never know so you have to always be open to new pathways, and kind to everyone you meet.”
Under the NZ Copyright Act (1994), having permission to play music in a business setting is required by law. OneMusic offer simple annual music licences that grant businesses permission to use virtually all music from anywhere in the world. After administration costs, all money collected is returned to music creators as royalties, and is a large part of how people that make music earn a living.