A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

AN OPEN LETTER TO AWARD


I am writing to thank AWARD for the generally great awards night. I was lucky enough to pick up a pencil for original music and was honored to receive it as the judging is notoriously tough and historically the trophies are hard won.
Sadly my pencil and, for that matter, all the others handed out that night was immediately devalued by the mockery that followed. The following category was “Best arrangement of existing music”. This is a somewhat controversial category but I believe it to be a legitimate one. There are some iconic examples where a performer has transformed an existing piece of music and given it new life. No greater example would be the haunting remake of Trent Reznor’s song “Hurt”, originally performed by Nine Inch Nails but totally reinvented by the genius of Johnny Cash.
Well blow me down if this actual track didn’t win a silver pencil. But...hang on..John Cash is well dead, and anyway he wasn’t commissioned by an agency to record this song... and where do the “Music Production Company” who claim to have originated this track, fit in to the creative category? They are, in fact, a music licensing company who’s only contribution to this commercial was to negotiate a fee for the right to use an existing piece of music, created by other actual creative people. The same company also picked up another silver and 2 bronzes for negotiating a fee for three other existing pieces.
This is a total nonsense and puts the integrity of the AWARD awards into serious question. If doing a financial deal can get you 2 silver and 2 bronzes at AWARD then advertising has sunk to the level of the popular public “misconception” of adland. It was bad enough to see the same company name listed as “Music Production Company” on works by Bjork but this is beyond the pale. It is no different than Paramatta Motors entering the new 3 series BMW in the “European Car of the Year” awards under their own name. They didn't make the car they just sold the damn thing!
Even if the company did the actual “cutting down” of the track to the length of the commercial, making something physically smaller isn’t “arranging”. It is an hour of studio time from any competent audio engineer and nothing more than that. Would the judges be impressed if an entrant negotiated the rights to a print of the “Mona Lisa”, ran it thru the photocopier on 50% reduction (to “arrange” it) and entered it in the art direction category? What the results of “Best arrangement of existing music” tells us is that this arrangement of Leonardo Da Vinci would be a legitimate entry and who could then deny one of the world’s greatest paintings a gold and, for that matter “best in show”?
If AWARD is to have any credibility then these 4 pencils should be returned and the category results declared null and void. Despite this kerfuffle, It would be an injustice if the category were to be dropped, I mean John Cash would have got a legitimate silver if he had actually been commissioned to rearrange “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails but AWARD has to be a lot more vigilant as to the true legitimacy of entrants to what are meant to be the top regional creative awards.

Jim Hall
Creative Director
Soundtrax

5 Comments:

Blogger wingnut said...

nice one jim. I totally support your stand. In any other business this would be described as fraud or at the very least a transgression of the Fair Trading Act.
I am very interested to any response from either the judges or the recipients.

Bruce Lynch
Composer
Auckland

4:14 PM NZDT

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Jim. I've never actually been to Award, or fact entered anything outside of the radio or television awards. This is simply because the type of work I and many of my more traditional colleagues do is not represented by a specific category, and we wouldn't dream of barging in on someone elses parade. I don't know how may music 'edits' i've done over the years. Some of them were probably quite good. But cutting out a couple of verses or making a 4 min song into a 30s instrumental certainly doesn't make me crave recognition by my peers. Happy to let my showreel do that though if anyone wants a copy ;)
cheers, carry on. Steve Finnigan

7:07 PM NZDT

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for fanning guitars. Whatever that means.

Good stuff Jim.

9:27 PM NZDT

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok then that seems like a pretty sound argument (no pun intended), let's hear from Award then? Award? Hello?

9:36 PM NZDT

 
Blogger CB said...

The AWARD response and the continuing debate is on the CB Blog: www.campaignbrief.com

9:57 PM NZDT

 

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