Not so much a rant today as a polite question.
Being part of the 24-hour news cycle, we keep a regular watch on social media to see what’s bubbling on the music news front. So, we were interested this morning when we saw a post on Facebook from WA Music Industry Association (WAM) Hall Of Fame inductee, Dixie Battersby, who has been a tireless promoter of everything that is good about WA music for more years than she would care to count. Battersby asked, what are the criteria for getting invited to the WAM Awards? In asking the question she cited the example of local radio announcers, Sue Myc and Nina Henderson from 89.7 FM, who also tirelessly promote WA music on their show but, according to Battersby’s post, have never cracked an invite to WA music’s night of nights.
…the people who get invited to such events should be carefully selected with the aim being to extend WAM’s networks on behalf of…musicians
WAM is a member-driven organisation, but a quick look at the organisation’s 2017 Annual Report (last’s year’s has not yet appeared on the WAM website), doesn’t shed light on the guest list for that year’s WAM Awards ceremony. I’m not even sure whether it’s in any way necessary to publish such information and you could make all sorts of arguments on all sides of the debate, so there’s probably no right or wrong in it. Making public the criteria for who gets an invite, however, would be useful information as it would quell the gossip about who is and who isn’t in with the WAM ‘in crowd’, and there sure is a lot of speculation on that!
Publication of such criteria also would give WAM members a basis on which to evaluate how their membership fees are being used and what strategic connections WAM is choosing to make on their behalf. You see, it’s not just about the glitz and glamour of it all, the people who get invited to such events should be carefully selected with the aim being to extend WAM’s networks on behalf of the musicians that are members of the organisation.
Speaking to an industry insider about this issue, they told us, “It would be easier to get an audience with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un than get that information from WAM.” That may be a bit harsh, but you get the point, there’s a sense in some quarters that WAM play their cards pretty close to their collective chests.
It’s normal for there to be heightened awareness in the WA music industry at this time of the year as we slip into Awards season and also WAMCon and WAMFest, our industry’s major conference and live music showcase. Lots of people are talking about WA music right now, which is great, and lots of people are expressing a whole range of points of view, which definitely should be encouraged.
What not many people are doing, though, is asking questions in public.
So, taking a leaf from Battersby’s book, I, too, would like ask what are the criteria for getting invited to the WAM Awards?
Also, what are your questions? I know I have many more. Let’s discuss.
For the sake of full disclosure, I have not received an invitation to this year’s WAM Awards. Maybe I’m just feeling left out?
Update 28 Oct, just received an invitation via email this morning.