RNZ theme tune cost revealed

Radio New Zealand spent just over $43,000 on its new theme tune, Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson has revealed.

In May, RNZ announced a “sonic refresh” and changed the music it plays at the top of the hour on its key shows Morning Report, Midday Report and Checkpoint.

In answer to a question from the ACT Party, the Broadcasting Minister said he had been advised that “Radio New Zealand has spent $10,819 on composition and $32,858.71 on rights in perpetuity for RNZ National’s new external sound imaging/music brand”.

RNZ was criticised when it was revealed the theme tune was made in Australia – by Sydney-based sound design company Soul Zu in collaboration with Kiwi composer Jim Hall.

The Screen Music and Sound Guild of New Zealand described the decision as a “slap in the face for our local composers and sound designers” who missed out on the contract in an interview with The Spinoff.

ACT Party leader David Seymour said the New Zealand music industry has every right to feel let down.

“This was incredibly short-sighted from Radio NZ. Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson should haul whoever made this decision in for a please explain.

"We would have got better value for money by sticking to someone making a recording of our native birds.”

Asked for comment Minister Jackson said it was clearly an operational matter.

RNZ has defended its decision to use the Australian company saying it considered local and offshore options and pointed out that Soul Zu had recently worked with the Australian public broadcaster SBS on its theme music.