News January 18, 2017

Industry weighs in on Fanny’s Golden Guitars nom withdrawal

Poppy Reid
Editor
Industry weighs in on Fanny’s Golden Guitars nom withdrawal

In response to TMN’s coverage yesterday regarding the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA)’s request for Fanny Lumsden to withdraw one of her Golden Guitars nominations, the CMAA has issued an official statement.

“While the CMAA does its utmost to ensure the integrity of the Award entries on this occasion Lumsden’s entry in this category has been overlooked by all of the 70 Judges, from across the industry, artists and media involved in this process,” it read.

Lumsden’s single Land of Gold was a finalist in three categories: Qantaslink New Talent of the Year, Single of the Year and APRA AMCOS Song of the Year. Lumsden’s collaborative single, Cheers to the Girls with Amber Lawrence and Catherine Britt, is also up for a Golden Guitar in the Vocal Collaboration Of The Year category.

However, the CMAA announced on Facebook on Sunday that Lumsden’s entry for APRA AMCOS Song of the Year is ineligible due to its previous release on her 2015 album Small Town Big Shot. While the single was released within the eligibility period, the album was not.

Roger Corbett, Vice Chair of the Country Music Association of Australia, explained in the official statement: 

“We have over 600 nominations from artists all over the country and a small window between the Judging process and the announcement of the Finalists. The eligibility criteria for all the categories are clearly stated but as with all systems where humans are involved there can be errors made. The bottom line is, we are compelled to trust that the artists or their management have submitted their nominations correctly.”

He added: “In my view, the majority of the industry is behind Fanny Lumsden and wanted to see her succeed at this level after the significant impact she has made on the Industry in the last couple of years. We feel that despite this incident, we are sure that Fanny will continue to make very successful inroads in the industry.” 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the CMAA has wrongly nominated an artist, or awarded an artist for that matter. In 2011, Lee Kernaghan accepted the Golden Guitar for Top Selling Album of the Year (for Planet Country), only to have the award withdrawn by the CMAA after it realised the rightful winner was Graeme Connors.

Rob Potts of Rob Potts Entertainment Edge told TMN:

“I think it is a terrible state of affairs that mistakes surrounding presentation and nominations of and for the Golden Guitar Awards now seem to be a regular occurrence.

“It is a basic requirement of any awards process that compliance with eligibility be rigorous and thorough as the checks and balances in this area ultimately ensure the integrity of the Awards. Sadly it is an area that the CMAA has fallen down in over the last few years as the administrators of this iconic Award.

“If this is not corrected it will continue to see the devaluation and erosion of their status as the oldest continuously presented Awards in the Australian music industry.”

Speaking on Lumsden’s withdrawal of her nomination, Tim Daley, Group Program Manager at Foxtel’s Country Music Channel told TMN:

“It’s disappointing that the disqualification has come so late, after the nominations were announced. It’s a symptom of the voluntary nature of the CMAA and the lack of wider and deeper industry engagement (major labels, publishers, media, promoters, agents, etc.) at the board level. 

“The people who work on this aspect of the Golden Guitars want it to work, but they just don’t have the resources to properly vet every entry.”

The music industry came out in support of Lumsden in response to her Facebook post on Sunday:

Some of the disappointment surrounding the mix-up has been pointed at the nomination handbook; some industry figures TMN spoke to believe the eligibility information could be clearer.

TMN understands Tim Holland, who is Marketing Manager, Commerical Music Group at Sony Music Entertainment, has personally offered to rewrite the eligibility information for each category.

Cheryl Byrnes, Managing Editor at Country Music Capital News & Co-Ordinator at Toyota Star Maker, told TMN yesterday that the nomination procedure for the Golden Guitars needs perfecting at both the entry point, where the onus is on the applicant, and throughout the judging process.

“The role of the CMAA Board is indeed to ensure every finalist and track or video nominated is 100% valid,” said Byrnes. “Without having spoken to anyone yet, it appears there’s been two oversights and the procedure still needs perfecting.” 

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