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Friday, 26 April 2019 01:32 am

Vic Uni buys a music label to add to its creative businesses

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TO CELEBRATE Victoria University’s purchase of Kiwi record label Rattle  a performance by five of the label’s artists was held in the Adam Concert Hall.

The addition of a record label to  the university’s creative businesses, which include Victoria University Press and Adam Art Gallery, is expected to round out students’ experience of uni life.

“Having things like a publishing company, an art gallery and a record label is all part of making a vibrant, creative university,” said Fergus Barrowman, publisher at Victoria University Press, after the concert.

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TOP TUNES: Colin Hemmingsen plays at Vic Uni

The crowd was entertained by artists Dr Roger Fox (Wellington Jazz Orchestra) on trombone, Colin Hemmingsen on reeds, Lance Philip on drums, Mark Donlon on piano and Tom Warrington on bass. They received a standing ovation.

The purchase of the label, which Mr Barrowman said would have struggled if the university had not taken it on board, is “a recognition that in the current difficult commercial climate a real quality independent label like [Rattle] would benefit a lot from university support”.

“It is also recognition from the university,” said Mr Barrowman, “that it would be good to keep Rattle going, as it is in the interests of students as an opportunity for the musicians at Victoria.”

Funding has come from the overall budget of the university, which Mr Barrowman said includes student fees, government funding and interest on assets, among other things.

The label is “ultimately and ideally” intended to create its own income through CD and online music sales, but this will need to be supplemented by the university.

However, Mr Barrowman said the small market for cultural businesses in New Zealand’s small market meant “they don’t sustain themselves and they do need support”.

Although pop music has rapidly gone digital, he said CDs were still popular in jazz and experimental music.

“The Rattle catalogue’s all online, including on Spotify and iTunes,” Mr Barrowman said. “But Rattle still sells more CDs than downloads because of the kind of music it is, and because it has always had a real love of good packaging and design.”

PUBLISHING PARTNER: Fergus Barrowman looks forward to working with Rattle

PUBLISHING PARTNER: Fergus Barrowman looks forward to working with Rattle

After the hour-long performance, Rattle trombone artist Dr Roger Fox said being within the university was good.

“It frees me up to use my experience with the students, and I’ll probably have more chances to play than I normally would,” he said.

Victoria student Anneke Brouwers  had no idea a university could have a record label, but said “it sounds really interesting”.

Mr Barrowman said all students benefited from a university having a “broad creative offering”.

There is a lot of “cross-fertilisation” between majors and subjects, he said, and “being a creative science writer is quite the buzz at the mo”.

“The student experience is enhanced by their access to top performers and researchers as teachers.

“They also benefit from having quality outlets for their work once they graduate – its all part of a whole system,” Mr Barrowman said.

“University isn’t a narrowly vocational education, it’s a broad education for life. It’s not a ticket to a job. People have to be broadly educated so they are ready for the opportunities that open in the future as things evolve and change.”

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is a journalism student at Whitireia. She previously studied at the University of Idaho and has a degree in Anthropology and International Studies.
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