Mp3.net.nz is poised to become the first Web venture to receive a grant from Creative New Zealand.
The arts funding agency has offered the mp3.net.nz, which sells digital downloads of music by unsigned local artists, $10,000 towards a plan to take the venture on the road. The company had sought $26,000 and will have to seek private sponsorship to make up the shortfall.
But the main thing, says founder Chris Hocquard, is that "it's official recognition from the establishment that the internet is now a viable means of getting the arts across."
Mp3.net.nz's proposal is for an 11-date tour featuring one of the most popular acts from the site, with local support being chosen via a competition on the website itself. Door prices would be around $5.
"At the same time we want to take four computers and an intranet and encourage all the local artists to upload," says Hocquard. "The thing here is that we've found a way to combine the internet with a physical presence and that's made it easier for them to say yes, we'll go out on a bit of a limb."
Hocquard says there are now 198 artists on mp3.net.nz – "we're a whole segment of the New Zealand industry now."