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MNZ Interview: Background Noise 002: Pippa Ryan-Kidd

27 Oct 2021 // An interview by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ) has been putting its stamp on the local music business section since it formed in 2002 by a collective of local labels. With 230+ members and the evolving success of events such as the Taite Music Prize and the Going Global Music Summit, the organisation is very optimistic about its future and that of its member labels and distributors.

Gaby from Muzic.net.nz recently spoke to the Chairperson for IMNZ, Pippa Ryan-Kidd, about her personal path within the music industry and all things IMNZ:

Can you please introduce us to the world of IMNZ; including its aim and ethos?

IMNZs Vision: "A thriving New Zealand independent music culture and industry".

IMNZ is a non-profit trade association providing collective benefits and exclusive opportunities to all our members to help grow their businesses. We stand for fairness and equality for all music and encourage open and transparent systems and industry in which creative innovation is at the centre.


Advocate. IMNZ aims to give independent New Zealand music a collaborative voice and representation, both nationally and internationally. We offer collective bargaining opportunities and a connection to global organisations including the Worldwide Independent Network, Merlin and our compatriot independent trade associations. Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to maintain our contacts with these organisations through online conferences, and use this network to:

Celebrate. IMNZ constantly recognises the amazing music created by our members which is at the heart of the organisation. We celebrate these through our annual Taite Music Prize, our weekly newsletter and independent charts as well as various showcases across the year.

Each yearn conjunction with the New Zealand Music Commission, we hold the Going Global Music Summit. We have been able to present a host of international speakers and knowledge sessions over the years, which have enabled many of our members to make international connections for their careers. Since the pandemic, we have taken some of this online with small knowledge-based sessions. We are currently working on an offering for this year, which involves a selected group of members (who officially applied and were accepted) showcasing through Bandcamp to international markets.

Educate. IMNZ offers educational opportunities to aid the development and growth of all our members. We aim to increase and share our knowledge and provide the necessary tools and connections to further their business.

We run the Going Local Knowledge Sessions around New Zealand every year - traditionally it has run in 4 towns each year, this year we increased it to 5 and next year we are looking to add in several other towns to the schedule.

Our continued operations based on these core values will help drive the success of our members, and ultimately serve our primary purpose of fostering the growth and development of New Zealands independent music industry.

What exactly do you do in your role as Chairperson of IMNZ?

It is largely Governance and leadership. IMNZ employs a General Manager - Dylan Pellett. Dylan manages all the events under Board Governance. As Chairperson, it is my role to ensure the Board, in conversation with the General Manager, all agree on our direction, planning and events. We need to ensure Dylan has the tools and the opportunities required, to carry out the agreed directives.

Can you tell us about IMNZs future plans? 

Pre-pandemic, we organised 3 main events every year: The Taite Music Prize, The Going Global Music Summit and The Going Local Music Industry Sessions.

Going forward, we aim to continue these as in person events where restrictions allow, and if not, then continue to offer our members a version in the most suitable way possible at the time.

Does IMNZ offer any specific assistance for those who are affected by COVID?

IMNZ has shared all the relevant COVID assistance information possible, via our website and our weekly newsletters.

What other jobs or positions are you involved in within the New Zealand music industry?

I work with Tami Neilson as management, and provide Project Management for several other artists - the most recent being Troy Kingi, Delaney Davidson and Proteins Of Magic. 

When did you start working in the industry, and what inspired you to work with music?

I went to London when I was 19 and had a “holiday” job with HMV. I was hooked and it became a full-time job for the next 7 years! My friend Jeffrey Stothers worked at HMV at the time as Head Buyer, and later when he returned to New Zealand to start Southbound Distribution, I worked for Southbound for the next 12 years.

In between, I had returned to New Zealand and worked for both Levene & Co and Farmers as a product buyer. I always missed being involved with music and so happily returned to it!

As a female, have you encountered any specific difficulties within the industry? And if so, do you have any words of wisdom for other females who are also involved in the music industry?

No, not within the music industry, just business in general.

The best thing you can do to become confident within your own self, is knowledge. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can, to help you feel confident in standing up to speak on whatever you choose to, whenever you need to, to whoever you need to.

That I not saying it is easy, but it is a good tool.

Work well in teams, help people along the way as you would like to be helped yourself, lift up those you work alongside and you will gain respect from this.

In the music industry, there will never be any situation where you cannot have a co-person with you - recording, rehearsing, writing, legal and more. If someone tells you cannot have a co-person with you, then, they are not someone you ever need to work with.

Soundcheck Aotearoa has done a lot of good work in educating the industry on how to speak out about unacceptable behaviour, and on the other side, how to accept disclosures. If you need to discuss a situation, there are many people out there in the industry now, that you can talk to - both women and men. If you don’t find a god listener the first time - try someone else. There isn’t any reason now to sit on unacceptable behaviour. 

Ive been working for Muzic.net.nz for 2 years, however it has a 20+ year history. What are some of your views on Muzic.net.nz and other NZ music media outlets? 

We have such a small music media landscape here in NZ, and the outlets, platforms, publications that we do have, do an amazing job to create a space for our musicians to be heard. Everyone is approachable and enthusiastic about New Zealand Music, doing what they can to help promote music and shows. Many of these journalists do it for the love of it,

And in our desire to sell music and tickets, we often forget to say thank you!

Thanks to Muzic.net.nz, I have seen many biographies for artists that boast awesome review quotes for their music!

What messages would you consider best to convey specifically to those starting out in music?

Creating the music is only he first part of the Job! There are many parts to the wheel that will help you get your music out there in the world - live shows, digital platforms, social media, media outlets, physical product, retail stores. The best thing emerging musicians can do, is to educate themselves with as much knowledge as possible, as to how all these areas work, and can work for them, where they fit in the cycle of releasing music and how to create a plan to cover all these aspects.

I would really encourage musicians to join industry bodies such as IMNZ, APRA, MMF as we all run basic “how to” courses, and networking sessions to meet both peers and industry leaders.
Everyone in all of these organisations is approachable, ask questions! No one minds and is usually really happy to help.

IMNZ runs Going Local every year, for this purpose. Since the pandemic started, we have also been running many online sessions run by international companies, covering all those topics. Members can attend for free and even online, it is still great way to make industry connections.

Many thanks to Pippa for answering our questions.


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