2 February 2023

The latest data from NZ On Air shows radio airplay still plays a key part in amplifying New Zealand music alongside music streaming.

While the Top 10 Most Streamed songs list in 2022 is dominated by Kiwi bands Six60 and L.A.B, the Most Played Radio hits for 2022 shows Kiwis are being exposed to a range of Aotearoa artists. Bands and artists such as Rob Ruha, Sons of Zion, Jackson Owens, Coterie, Lee Mvtthews and Gisborne-based band Ka Hao all feature in the Top 10 most played radio hits in 2022.

The data is gathered for NZ On Air by Radioscope/Recorded Music NZ, which manages all New Zealand airplay data.

"What we can see in this data is that radio airplay continues to play a part in exposing audiences to Aotearoa music talent," says Teresa Patterson, Head of Music at NZ On Air. “And NZ On Air is proud to have supported many of those talents over the years.”

Jana Rangooni, Chief Executive of the Radio Broadcasters’ Association (RBA), says these figures are really encouraging, as the RBA members work hard to support the amount of great local music reaching New Zealand audiences.

“This data is interesting,” says Rangooni. “It shows that radio airplay still plays such a key part in music discovery across the population. That's what radio programmers do so well, along with curating and aggregating the best music from around the globe, they are highlighting new Kiwi music coming through and exposing audiences to new songs, artists and new talent."

Most-Played Radio – 2022:

  1. Someone To Be Around – Six60
    2. Cool It Down – Coterie
    3. Mr Reggae – L.A.B
    4. That’s Where I’ll Be – Rob Ruha
    5. Before You Leave – Six60
    6. Love On The Run – Sons Of Zion feat. Jackson Owens
    7. All She Wrote – Six60
    8. Can’t Make It Right – Jackson Owens
    9. Takeover – Lee Mvtthews feat. NÜ
    10. 35 – Ka Hao feat. Rob Ruha

Most-Streamed – 2022:

  1. In The Air – L.A.B
  2. Mr Reggae – L.A.B
  3. Controller – L.A.B
  4. Why Oh Why – L.A.B
  5. Under The Sun – L.A.B
  6. Cool It Down – Coterie
  7. Don’t Forget Your Roots – Six60
  8. Someone To Be Around – Six60
  9. 35 – Ka Hao feat. Rob Ruha
  10. Pepeha – Six60

The Radioscope/Recorded Music NZ data also shows that Kiwi radio stations are continuing to hit the 20 percent voluntary local airplay threshold, hitting that benchmark for the third year running.

While the full-year figure for 2022 of 20.64% was lower than the year before (23.84%), the figure is still impressive given the return to international bands once again touring in Aotearoa post-lockdowns.

“In 2021, the local content rates went sky-high,” says Paul Kennedy from Radioscope/Recorded Music NZ. “Mainly due to a lot of international artists putting touring on hold and, consequently, there was more of a focus on NZ music in terms of touring and also on our airwaves.

"So even though the market in Aotearoa got back to relative normality in 2022, we are still seeing commercial radio continuing to stay consistently above that 20 percent voluntary threshold."

The commercial stations that individually hit the 20 percent voluntary threshold in 2022 were ZM, Mai FM, George FM, Hauraki, Nui FM, QFM, Pulzar and Bayrock.

The data relates to airplay on commercial radio only and doesn’t include music played on public, student and iwi radio – which all have legislated benchmarks that commercial stations do not. That data is tracked separately and also shows exceptional local content airplay results.

The percentage of local music played on Alternative stations in 2022 hit 71.52 percent, while Iwi stations reached 54.92 percent.