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 Everett True

more Red Bullshit. A further comment on the AMP 2010 shortlist.

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There’s a wider story yet to be written about this year’s shortlist.

The AMP purports to represent the best in Australian music and yet, in a year when Australian hip-hop and hardcore were generally agreed to be particularly strong, there isn’t a SINGLE representation from either genre on the shortlist.

It raises a few, very fundamental, questions. Is the Australian music industry – ‘alternative’ or not – racist at its heart? Or is the absence of pretty much anything that isn’t male white indie more a reflection of poor selection criteria applied when it came to choosing the judges… i.e. it literally was a case of drinking in the right Melbourne and Sydney pubs. Folk have pointed out that only a handful of hip-hop acts applied to be considered for the AMP. Well of course only a handful did. They knew they weren’t going to win. (Let’s not even start getting into the whole thorny issue of having an award that is supposed to represent the best Australian music and yet automatically excludes anyone who hasn’t applied.)

Listen up. I haven’t featured that much music made by non-white females in my Song Of The Day blog here on Collapse Board – although you might be surprised at how many there are. No, really. There are quite a few. (Etc etc) The crucial difference is that I’ve never claimed that my Song Of The Day blog is anything more than a reflection of my own tastes. The AMP claims to represent an entire country, and not just an entire country but the ‘best’ that country has to offer. Even though it clearly is merely a reflection of the fact the vast majority of its panel of judges prefer to listen to white male indie music.

Either way, as Justin stated in the comments on my previous post about this subject, the smart money is on a hip-hop act to win in 2012. Can’t be seen to be racist now, can we chaps? It’s bound to be the ‘wrong’ act, incidentally – as always happens when a panel of self-proclaimed industry ‘experts’ sit in judgement on music they don’t feel a fundamental connection with. Same way Lisa Mitchell was wrongly given the award in 2010.

In many countries, this would be considered to be little short of a national disgrace.

The AMP shortlist
Cloud Control – Bliss Release
Dan Kelly – Dan Kelly’s Dream
Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush To Relax
Gareth Liddard – Strange Tourist
Pikelet – Stem
Richard In Your Mind – My Volcano
Sally Seltmann – Heart That’s Pounding
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
The Holidays – Post Paradise

P.S. Some interesting Twitter correspondence between two of the AMP judges

urthboy – I was supposed to be at this #amp announcement this morning.
domalessio – Me too! I wonder what people will make of the Short List? RT @urthboy I was supposed to be at this #amp announcement this morning.
urthboy – @domalessio ppl will think it’s more of the same – at least this is what I’m hearing
urthboy – i sat on the #amp judging committee. 1/2 of the shortlisted artists were discussed. the other 1/2 went thru w/out any discussion
urthboy – the undiscussed records went thru automatically as they’d been the ‘most’ favourited before the day (via email)
urthboy – cant believe only 7 hip hop acts entered the #amp

8 Responses to more Red Bullshit. A further comment on the AMP 2010 shortlist.

  1. David February 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Oh god, you’re still king of the trolls, Everett.

    This is probably going to explode, I’mma get out of here before it does.

  2. aaron February 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

    i think to make your comments above valid you need to put down the nine albums you would have voted for. let’s see what people think of your list

  3. ed February 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

    It’s not just that you have to apply, it’s that your application form also has to include the $95 application fee. And then they can’t even be bothered to sit around and have a chat about the short-list.

    Also I think I’m right is saying only 3 QLD acts have made the shortlist in six years (Go-Betweens – Oceans Apart (2005), The Grates – Gravity Won’t Get You High (2006) and Tom Cooney – Presque Vu (2008) which is hardly a surprise given the geographic bias of the judges and that out of the 30/31 judges, I think only one is in Brisbane.

  4. Alex February 3, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I remember reading on the M+N boards that after the application (perhaps if you’re shortlisted?), artists have to submit ~25 CDs (properly manufactured, no burnt copies), and if they make it into the final nominations, its another ~50 CDs.

    On top of the application process/fee, it all feels a little too much effort for truly independent artists and bands who don’t have any label assistance or management. I don’t blame most for not bothering.

    AMP should just move to a digital file distribution system for the judging panel. Keep the application fee if you must, but currently the system it works on is pretty unviable for most ‘independent’ Australian acts.

  5. Darragh February 3, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Well, to be honest, I can’t stand Australia’s version of hip-hop, so I’m not surprised.

  6. SourGrapes February 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I can’t see that quotas for style and genre will provide quality results. Since when has the music industry been a meritocracy? Should (or can) the AMP be about rewarding a “quality” or “the best” act, an intrinsically subjective endeavour? Or should it encourage a struggling or under-represented act, without much in the way of means, contacts, cash, equipment? The socialist in me prefers the latter. But this is unlikely, for the reasons outlined by Ed and Alex above. In short, I’d rather the AMP consider who needs it the most rather than who (in somebody’s assessment) deserves it.

    I also think future generations will look back on the hip hop versus rock debate with the same derision we look back on mods and rockers arguing about the qualities of rock’n’roll versus rhythm and blues. Just terms, after all. And one can hardly be called racist for failing to appreciate Australian hip hop.

  7. Everett True February 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Is ignorance an excuse for racism then, SourGrapes? This is a panel of self-professed music industry ‘experts’, don’t forget… not common people like you and me.

    This is an interesting point, though. “Should (or can) the AMP be about rewarding a “quality” or “the best” act, an intrinsically subjective endeavour?” Well, of course not. But I think you’ll find that the AMP itself claims contrary. Otherwise, what’s the point of it?

    And as for “Or should it encourage a struggling or under-represented act, without much in the way of means, contacts, cash, equipment?”… er, see last year’s winner.

  8. Everett True February 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    (from Facebook)

    Suzy Ramone
    It seems odd that record companies are behind it and entrants have to have a ‘commercially released album’. Does the $30,000 go towards paying off their record company debt?
    (I interviewed Lindy Morrison about this prize when it was first l…
    See more
    03 February at 17:22 · Like

    Charlie Ivens
    You’ve read this, I presume, Everett? http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/23/the-secret-to-lisa-mitchells-amp-success-the-music-funnily-enough/
    The fact one has to a. apply, b. pay and c. provide boxes of CDs (how quaint!) to be considered seems to be the great AMP unmentionable – see also the Mercury Prize in the UK

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