I admit, I didn't watch last night's ARIA's. Faced with a choice of that or Season 1 of the HBO series "ROME" I chose the latter. Judging by the overwhelming negative response on facebook today it appears that I made the right choice.
I do feel sorry for the organisers. Mark Pope's been in the industry a long time and I'm sure he has nothing but the best intentions but he is under enormous pressure to deliver one thing and one thing only........ratings. When you're on TV that's the be all and end all. How can a night that should be about recognising excellence in music work hand in hand with the ratings driven TV industry? It's impossible. The organisers have tried and tried hard for years to put on a good show for the industry AND the viewers at home but that means serious compromises and the end result is a watered down awards night. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that worthwhile categories like Country, Blues/Roots, Kids, Jazz, Classical, Adult Contemporary etc get shamefully ignored. Are they any less worthy of recognition than Pop? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But look at it from the organisers or Channel 9's point of view. Who on earth out there in TV land is going to sit through a 5 hour awards night???
Elton John MC'd the ARIA's some 20 years ago. At the end of the night he implored them to "never televise this event. you will ruin the best awards night I've ever been to" (or words to that effect) So what can be done about the ARIA's and the terrible reputation it's got??
I believe I have the solution.....DON'T TELEVISE THE AWARDS. Make it INDUSTRY ONLY. Put ALL the categories back in. The once neglected winners get their moment, everyone will have more than 30secs to thank those who deserve to be thanked, everyone gets good and drunk/fed, put on a couple of special performances, basically everyone has a great time.
But what about reaching out to the main populace? What about the exposure and increased sales the winners get from a televised event? EASY. Put on an aria winners concert that can be televised live the next night where all the winners and some other nominees get to play live and not just one song either. We're in the MUSIC industry so let's play to our strengths and give the people what we're good at.....MUSIC!! I'm sure there's enough people out there that would pay to see Julia and Angus Stone, Washington, Guy Sebastion, Temper Trap etc etc all play their hits in one concert. During the set changes, show the highlights and winners from the previous night. It'd be fantastic! Best of all everyone wins. ALL the winners get the recognition they deserve, the industry reclaims it's right to have it's awards back, the winners get to showcase their wares to a national TV audience, the punters will get some good entertainment and I'd actually support my industry instead of watching a HBO series on DVD