Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA



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Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby lo&m » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:00 pm

My open letter to the BCMA British Country Music Association #ukcountry #britishcountry #BCMA #britishcountrymusicassociation

To whom it may concern,

I want you to know that this letter comes from a place of honesty. I have carved my career for the last 17 years playing all manner of country music professionally in the UK including bluegrass, western swing, honky tonk and traditional country music. I have made many sacrifices during those 17 years precisely because this music means so very much to me. It is more than my ‘job’, my love of country music defines me; it is the powerful force driving my passion, the culmination of which, is my life’s work.

Believe me when I say that it is with great pride that I am able to represent British country music to some capacity and I am able to celebrate some of it’s achievements whether I am playing here in the UK, Europe or the States. I am proud of who I am, where I have come from and what country music means to me. Trust me when I assure you it was with great pride and hopeful expectation that I eagerly paid up my hard earned cash to join The British Country Music Association in June 2017.

So it was with some shock and genuine confusion therefore, when I discovered that the more I tried to learn about the association I had joined, the more I became alarmingly concerned about it’s lack of transparency. We live in age now where transparency is paramount to associations such as the BCMA and the preservation of their core values often ensures both success and longevity. To demonstrate what I am talking about please see below some links I have provided from the top of my head:

• Ameripolitan: https://www.ameripolitan.com/copy-of-home
• International Bluegrass Music Association: https://ibma.org/about
• The Australian Country Music Association: http://country.com.au/about/
• The UK Americana Association: https://theamauk.org/about-us

These associations and their values are symbiotic. They stand for something salient. Not only do they help define what it is that a given association stands for but they also hold great significance to their members; values that often contribute as a principal and determining factors for a person becoming a member or not. So it is with genuine intrigue as both a professional musician working within the UK and as a paying member of your association that I openly pose the following questions to you, the BCMA:

1.) What and where is the BCMA’s mission statement? – An outline of the association’s fundamental values. What does the BCMA stand for and what are it’s primary objectives?
2.) If the association has such a mission statement, why is it not on the BCMA website or made available to it’s members? If it does not have a mission statement, why is that? As a member of multiple music associations it is alarming that there is nothing to solidify in writing what it is the BCMA represents.
3.) How many current members does the BCMA have?
4.) How and by whom is it decided who sits on the BCMA board?
5.) How does the BCMA support country music in the UK?
6.) How does the BCMA promote country music in the UK?
7.) Does the BCMA offer any support to UK country artists? If so how?
8.) How does the BCMA elect which artists they choose to promote on their website and social media? Does being a member have any impact on this?
9.) Who is responsible for the BCMAs social media? Does the association have guidelines for how and whom they promote? If so, can such guidelines be made public or available to your members? If not, why not?
10.) How does the BCMA ensure that there is no conflict of interest with its board members and its partners? These are often the same people who have other invested private and commercial interests. How does the BCMA ensure objectivity and non-bias toward its artists, its members or whomever it is they seek to represent in light of such conflicted interests?
11.) How does the association elect nominees for the BCMA awards? What are the guidelines and why are they not made public or available to your members?
12.) How does the BCMA ensure a non-bias process for nominations? I.e. what is the protocol for nominees that are related to or connected with board members and/or partners? How does the association ensure that all nominations are fair and non-bias? For example, if two board members or sponsors had a child, would it be fair to continually nominate that offspring for consecutive years for the same award?
13.) What are the BCMAs goals and objectives for the future?
14.) Does the BCMA offer any subsidies for artists? If so how is it decided who they are awarded to?
15.) It has come to light that the BCMA has in the past invited artists to their award show as “guests” (so free of charge), how is it decided which artists are offered such opportunities? How does the BCMA ensure this is fair for everyone, particularly to its paying members who are artists?
16.) How does the BCMA select which UK artists will perform at their ‘Best of British’ annual show and indeed for performances at the BCMA awards? How does the BCMA ensure this is fair, particularly to its paying members who are artists? What are the guidelines? Can they be made public or available to paying members?
17.) How does the BCMA select which artists will perform on stages they host at various UK country music festivals? How does the BCMA ensure this is fair, particularly to its paying members who are artists? What are the guidelines? Can they be made public or available to paying members?
18.) Can a list of all affiliations/stages/showcases etc. that the BCMA has with private UK festivals or ventures be made public or available to members? If not, why not?
19.) Can members get refunds?

I am sure you can appreciate these are just a fragment of many basic questions any association should be prepared to answer. Many associations can and do with ease. Maybe if the above could be addressed, a lot less confusion would surround the association currently and it’s integrity would not be so frequently called in to question, often by its own members. That is, unless none of the above has ever been addressed by the association? It would be devastating to learn that the truth of the matter is, the BCMA is an association corrupt to it’s very core, unable to address or answer any of the above because it operates primarily as a biased, unprofessional, tactical body used to promote and serve the vested interest of board members, its partners and the select few they favour… Surely not.

Yours Sincerely,
Membership No. 0427

This letter was copied from Hannah's Facebook page as she has asked those who care about the current state of country music in Britain to share it. http://www.hjbrokenhearts.com
Country is a state of mind, not a state of America.
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby kev » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:23 am

These are pretty much the same questions that have been appearing on here for a while now: Ol' Livewirer seemed to get particularly worked up about it! Maybe this is apt for this occasion?

Image
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby Smudger » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:58 pm

I like Question 19 best........
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby LoneShark » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:44 pm

Naive, despite pertinent questions, as there is an underlying issue with this artist and a member of th BMCA. It's the music business Hannah, nothing is as it seems, believe it or not there IS backstabbing, ass licking and threats, both verbal and physical. It's how you deal with it that will define your progress and development. Been there done that!
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby nickytt » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:13 pm

LoneShark wrote:Naive, despite pertinent questions, as there is an underlying issue with this artist and a member of th BMCA. It's the music business Hannah, nothing is as it seems, believe it or not there IS backstabbing, ass licking and threats, both verbal and physical. It's how you deal with it that will define your progress and development. Been there done that!


True, but when you say business there are only two acts in this country getting mainstream radio play, with proper labels and doing proper tours in venues bigger than clubs. Those two are Ward Thomas and The Shires (I might add that Liverpool/Irish chap whose name escapes me to that list). Not much of a business is it? And I'm not even sure if the bank accounts of these two artists would be that impressive after the labels "expenses" have been deducted. Everybody below these two acts seems to be having a bun fight to be recognised/accepted/respected or make enough money to live without having to play covers at weddings and birthdays (or drive an uber cab).

The sad thing (and incredibly annoying thing for the BCMA) is that these two did it without a jot of help from the BCMAs. And the even sadder thing is that probably if they had of been part of the BCMA fold and managed by Lee Williams or been the son of a committee member, their careers would have gone nowhere because that is the pattern. Better out than in it seems.
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby LoneShark » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:01 am

Hi Nickytt, I wasn't referring to just country music when I spoke of the music business and its practices. I have done this a long time and speak from experience so without being disrespectful to Hannah, or anyone for that matter, the naive comment I feel is justified. The world has changed now and 'signing' to a label ain't no big deal anymore now we have social media here to stay!!! The money is to be made for these mid table acts is in continuous touring with live exposure, building a fanbase along the way. Not a lot has changed there in my 40 years plying my trade.

Regards the BCMA, I have nothing for or against them but I do think others put too much emphasis on their power and influence. Award ceremonies are what they are, they don't pay the bills or put food on the table, its just personally satisfying that someone has recognised your work. I have been the recipient of many such awards over the years and none of them have made the slightest difference to my lifestyle! I don't condone personal attacks on social media or elsewhere but it will continue as long as there is 'business' in music. Good thoughts to all. B
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby nickytt » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:04 am

LoneShark wrote:Hi Nickytt, I wasn't referring to just country music when I spoke of the music business and its practices. I have done this a long time and speak from experience so without being disrespectful to Hannah, or anyone for that matter, the naive comment I feel is justified. The world has changed now and 'signing' to a label ain't no big deal anymore now we have social media here to stay!!! The money is to be made for these mid table acts is in continuous touring with live exposure, building a fanbase along the way. Not a lot has changed there in my 40 years plying my trade.

Regards the BCMA, I have nothing for or against them but I do think others put too much emphasis on their power and influence. Award ceremonies are what they are, they don't pay the bills or put food on the table, its just personally satisfying that someone has recognised your work. I have been the recipient of many such awards over the years and none of them have made the slightest difference to my lifestyle! I don't condone personal attacks on social media or elsewhere but it will continue as long as there is 'business' in music. Good thoughts to all. B

Regardless of how much power or influence they have, they shouldn't try to bend it or abuse. Thankfully at the moment they do not command the destiny of artists fame and fortune (they may think they do) and I'm happy about that because I'll tell you one thing I know...power corrupts. This is clearly demonstrated in Hollywood at the moment. Woman are standing up and saying "we don't have to take this abuse of power anymore". Different situation but you know what I mean.

Now Miss Johnson may be speaking rubbish, she may be speaking the truth or there may be two sides to this story (I'm pretty sure the BCMA has very decent people in it's fold) but since she has called them out they now have the opportunity (and dare I say obligation) to answer Miss Johnson and challenge her if necessary. People can then make their own minds up.

I will ask you one question though loneshark. As an artist in British country, if you saw or had a feeling something deeply unfair, unjust or corrupt was going on at the BCMAs would you call them out? Or perhaps would a little part of you not want to ruffle feathers in case it came back to haunt you? This I fear is the dilemma of many artists. This is a small community and you never know who you are going to come face to face with at the next festival or who is going to be critiquing your next album. Right now we need some honesty.
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby LoneShark » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:54 am

Hi Nickytt

I repeat I have no affiliation to the BCMA and you are obviously unaware of my persona should you think I wouldn't ruffle any feathers lol.

When I was 19 learning my chops in the Glasgow rock bars, I was confronted by a punter wanting us to play a certain song. When told we didn't do it, he produced a butchers knife and threatened me! The band and I scrambled a version pretty damn quick. The point being today's scene, especially country, is a magic carpet ride compared to those days, hence I don't see the big deal about it.

I also have no inclination either way regarding Hannah Johnson, i am sure she is very good at what she does. It is the naïveté of being upset in a business of snakes in the grass I find strange.

As to worrying about upsetting festival organisers ......Nah.

B
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby nickytt » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:42 pm

Well I'm very curious to know what that song was now...as least he was interested enough to ask (if only at the end of a knife)!!

Clearly when you've been around the block a few times and seen it and done the machinations of the BCMA are of little concern. But 'back in the day' the hopes aspirations of a British country band/artist were perhaps lower. Four blokes in a van having fun, a phone number from a pretty lady and a kebab on the way home. Without internet or social media what were the chances of being heard or recognised outside that circle of pubs and clubs....quite slim I would think. Today a young talented person who wants to make a career in country will look to the likes of the BCMA for help, guidance and perhaps publicity. I think the suggestion is that this is being given to a select few, and worse than that, given to artists that have a commercial or family connection with committee members. If you think we should just accept that without question then fair enough. Or if you don't mind ruffling a few feathers then go ruffle...it might be fun!

As for Miss Johnson being naive, maybe she is a little and i think she should have toned the attack down somewhat, however I'd never heard of her before this but it pricked my curiosity and I checked her music out. I have to say if you like traditional country it's pretty good. Maybe she's been smart. Time will tell.
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby kev » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:37 pm

nickytt wrote:Well I'm very curious to know what that song was now...as least he was interested enough to ask (if only at the end of a knife)!!



Probably "Freebird"!! :lol:
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby LoneShark » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:07 pm

Hi Nickytt

Back in the day, I have no idea what the aspirations of a country band were as had no interest in the genre at that time. Before social media AND karaoke, live music was exactly that, you lived or died by your talent, many did both! But you got out there and tested your chops against others. Aspirations were high, with A&R reps always sniffing round the Glasgow venues. I smiled when your started a sentence with 'young talented person'. There were many young talented persons 'back in the day' all trying for that big break WITHOUT the aid(hype) of Facebook et al, so feel you are being a little disingenuous there?

My question to you is this: can you tell me the BCMA events that have progressed any talents ( including the nepotism inferred?)

Re HJ, her style of country music is not for me but I respect her talents, and as said previous have nothing against her. I do think she has utilised the social media platform very well, nothing wrong with that as many do.

Hey Kev, no, Freebird was in the set lol. It was Layla the maniac wanted!

As always, I wish all artistes well in their quest for stardom. B
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby nickytt » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:06 am

LoneShark wrote:Hi Nickytt

Back in the day, I have no idea what the aspirations of a country band were as had no interest in the genre at that time. Before social media AND karaoke, live music was exactly that, you lived or died by your talent, many did both! But you got out there and tested your chops against others. Aspirations were high, with A&R reps always sniffing round the Glasgow venues. I smiled when your started a sentence with 'young talented person'. There were many young talented persons 'back in the day' all trying for that big break WITHOUT the aid(hype) of Facebook et al, so feel you are being a little disingenuous there?

My question to you is this: can you tell me the BCMA events that have progressed any talents ( including the nepotism inferred?)

Re HJ, her style of country music is not for me but I respect her talents, and as said previous have nothing against her. I do think she has utilised the social media platform very well, nothing wrong with that as many do.

Hey Kev, no, Freebird was in the set lol. It was Layla the maniac wanted!

As always, I wish all artistes well in their quest for stardom. B


Hi again Loneshark

interesting debate. To answer your question about the BCMA, the answer as far as I'm aware is none. Diddly squat. As I stated in my first post The Shires and Ward Thomas are the only acts achieving serious success, and they have done this without the BCMAs help or promotions. Ed Sheeran has just written a track for the Shires which is an incredible coup for them and British country music. Not sure Ed will be popping up at the next BCMA awards to pick up his best song award though. And that's a shame because British country music could be big...very big. There's talent and there's an audience. Now if Ed Sheeran is writing country music then young people might sit up and listen. But my fear is that this will make the BCMA only more rabid in their quest to get success for their stable of small selected artists (and the nepotism isn't inferred ,it's a fact).

I think my point is this. The BCMA appear to be unwittingly (lets be generous) limiting themselves. They are short changing the bar singer, the club singer, the girl writing songs in her bedroom, the edgy new band, the old guy (they are ageist too!) , and all because they have decided to focus all their efforts on a small selected few. They have created their own agency and are getting us to fund it by paying an annual subscription. As far as I'm aware they haven't addressed the points made by Hannah Johnson, probably because they can't or they don't want to.

I love country music because it moves me in a way other genres of music can't. I also think it's a very honest kind of music that can reach out to everyone, regardless of age,race or social position. It has an integrity that I like. I'm not so sure the BCMA is matching those qualities right now.

Very willing to be proven wrong.
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Re: Hannah Johnson's open letter to the BCMA

Postby lo&m » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:01 pm

Just my 2p but I think the BCMA doesn't have as much power and influence as itself and others think.
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