Our research in commercial music involves the systematic investigation of ideas and questions. In popular music, it can be about books and journal articles, but might involve soldering irons, song writing, effects racks or modular synthesisers.

The work of our researchers is groundbreaking; it has led to new approaches to making and recording music; the creation of new instruments; the development of novel ways of promoting and performing music; and the development of new understandings about what goes on when people play and listen to the sounds they love.

Research expertise

Composition and songwriting

Our faculty includes electro-acoustic composers, electronic music producers and song writers. As recipients of numerous national and international awards our faculty engage in practice-based research that explores new contexts for composition and song-writing, including film soundtracks, installation and white box performance spaces, and live settings.


Music curation

Our researchers have curated record company catalogues, festivals and events around New Zealand and internationally. With a particular focus on indie and underground music, they work to raise the profile of New Zealand’s emerging and established performers across both domestic and global stages.


Music industry

New Zealand’s unique culture and geographic setting means its music industry faces unique challenges. Our researchers engage in and publish critiques and investigations of music industry issues in New Zealand and the Pacific, via both mainstream media and peer reviewed academic publications.



Our researchers include ethnomusicologists, cultural theorists and musicologists. Their scholarship considers scenes in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea, and genres including heavy metal, indie and commercial music, jazz, and New Zealand art music.


Music performance

Our performers innovate across a broad range of styles, including electronic, experimental, reggae, and indie genres. We perform all around the world via installations, festivals, concerts, and tours and seek out new ways of connecting music with live audiences using new technologies and via collaborations with other artists.


Music technology

Our music technology researchers explore instrument and interface design, building, testing, and public performance. Projects at the leading edge of this discipline include Jon He’s mechatronic instruments and Bridget Johnson’s loudspeaker interfaces.


Sound engineering and audio production

Our researchers in sound engineering and audio production have recorded and engineered albums that are celebrated in New Zealand and around the world. They investigate novel ways to deploy the studio for making music for the 21st century. We have expertise in film audio, voice overs, ADR and foley.


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Research projects


    Dubbing theatre

    Students can access highly spec’d facilities, including a dubbing theatre equipped with an Avid S6 48ch digital console, with 7.1 Dynaudio Acoustics Block monitoring. There is also a 5.1 dubbing studio using a 16ch Avid Icon console.

    Electronics technology laboratory

    Students can access a dedicated Technology Lab, that has specialist equipment for hardware development, software development, electronics, prototyping and 3D printing.

    Recording studios

    Designed by Munro Acoustics (London) and Athfield Architects (WGTN), Massey University has recently constructed world-class recording facilities at the Wellington Campus. The flagship studio features 300m2 of live-rooms controlled by two of the world’s most sought-after desks; a 72ch Neve, and a 48ch SSL Duality analogue console. Both control rooms have an impressive selection of outboard and monitoring is with Dynaudio Acoustics soffit mounted speakers in 5.1.

    Rehearsal rooms

    Students can access five acoustically treated rehearsal rooms with backline and vocal PA systems suitable for modern music. The production rehearsal room, which also doubles as a live venue, is equipped with PA and full professional lighting rig.