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Matiu Walters shares Six60 business playbook

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Music Month may be over but for Kiwi musicians, the challenges of running the business side of their music careers continue.

In an interview for small business platform, Matiu Walters of Six60 has opened up about the business model that has taken the five piece from their first album in 2011 to performing at sold out stadiums throughout New Zealand in February this year.

Manaaki Co-Founder, Pat MacFie, said the chat was set up to help artists hit hard by the restrictions from COVID-19.

"We are finding on the forum that creatives are really feeling the effects of COVID-19 restrictions so it is an area we are throwing some support around."

"Matiu and the guys have created an incredible business model that disrupts everything traditional about the music industry. So we wanted to unlock their patterns and framework to help artists who are doing it tough right now," said MacFie.

Walters spoke candidly on Instagram Live about the band's method for success, which started when they hired an engineer from the Rock Shop in Dunedin to record their first album.

Matiu explained how the band’s following grew organically in the beginning but being decisive and having "ridiculous" goals helped get them to the next level.

An early goal was to maintain control over their own music, catalogue, publishing and rights so they established Massive Entertainment.

"It wasn't good enough to just be a band and write songs. Let's be moguls," said Walters.

Walters talked about how the band held all the takings from their first Western Springs gig and used it to fund their next 'big play' which ultimately led to their biggest year yet and sold out stadiums in Lower Hutt, Whangarei, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland and Dunedin.

He also covered some of the challenges the band faced over the years, including negative opinions around their identity.

"Some were saying it’s not white enough but it’s not brown enough, we were doing whatever we felt was cool to us, and that pissed some people off [sic]."

"We are going to do this our way and represent this place and who we are to the maximum."

When it comes to failures, Walters believes they are equally as important as success.

"They’re two walls you bounce between. As long as you’re going in the right direction, you’ve got to take it as it comes."

His advice to those in business now is to keep moving.

"Get off your ass and begin. And never stop. Just keep going and never take ‘no’ for an answer."

On Friday the Government announced a $175 million package to support jobs in the music and arts sector and on Saturday Six60 played a recording of their last Western Springs Concert on TVNZ.

MacFie said it is great to see support for the cultural sector and hoped big business and fans would get behind the industry as well.

"There are many ways we can show Manaaki. Music gets us through the tough times and now, as a country, we need to help the music makers get through. We want the creatives out there to know they are not alone."

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