23
September
2019

Turkish Eurovision Participation to be discussed in the Turkish Parliament

Türkish Parliament

Turkish fans have been so frustrated by TRT and the government for being silent on Turkey’s Eurovision participation, so much so that questions have been raised in the Turkish Parliament,

It seems that a congressman from the city of Adana, Mr. Ayhan Barut and the main opposition party CHP is sensitive about the issue as well. Mr. Barut has placed a parliamentary question for Mr. Fuat Oktay, the Vice President, to answer.

Contents

  • 1 The Introduction of the Letter
  • 2 The Questions
  • 3 Will It Work?

The Introduction of the Letter

The question letter briefly started with expressing what Eurovision means to the Turkish public since its debut in 1975. It discusses how the people of Turkey got together with national pride in supporting the artist representing them (good old days). It also addresses the importance of the contest in terms of international relationships, its contribution to tourism, cultural promotion while friendship was also mentioned in the introduction.

The Questions

We will share a brief summary of the six questions asked in the letter:

1- What is the reason for not participating In the last eight years.

2- Is it true that our government is pressuring TRT about not participating in this contest?

3- Don’t you think Eurovision Song Contest is a good opportunity for the cultural and touristic promotion of our country? Who has been preventing these opportunities for 7 years?

4- Does Eurovision song contest hold any contribution on the advancement of our country’s art and artist? What seems to be those contributions in a positive or negative way?

5- Have our artists, artist groups and unions been consulted regarding our participation in Eurovision Song Contest?

6- Will it be considered to participate again in the Eurovision Song Contest which we have won with Sertab Erener back in 2003.

Will It Work?

Turkish fans are wondering if this action will get a positive response from the TRT or the government. Still, hopelessness is the dominant feeling.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

20
September
2019

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Rise Of The Internals

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Rise Of The Internals
http://archive.org/download/escinsight_20190919_652/escinsight_20190919_652.mp3

It definitely feels like the Eurovision Song Contest build up to Rotterdam 2020 has started. There’s been a flurry of news in the last week, so let’s pick up the pieces and see where we are.

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Rise Of The Internals

The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest season continues, with new internal selections, no more four hour shows, and a little bit of Nightwish. Ewan Spence and the team round up the latest news, dates, and thoughts for Rotterdam 2020.

As the season gets under way, stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight

16
September
2019

It’s The Hope That Gets You: Thoughts On The BBC, BMG, and Eurovision 2020

It’s The Hope That Gets You: Thoughts On The BBC, BMG, and Eurovision 2020

Not since 2011 has the UK entry finished in the top half of the Grand Final (the proverbial left hand side of the table) with Blue’s ‘I Can’. The last five results read 24-24-15-24-26. With BMG’s help, so the fan theory goes, that’s all going to change in Rotterdam.

Before you start singing something better than “It’s coming home” and booking hotels around the Harrogate International Centre, let’s take a breath and look at the situation with some words of caution.

Where Is Harroaget? (EBU/BBC)

Say Wonderful Things

First up, words are important, so let’s take a closer read at the press release not for what it says, but what it doesn’t say:

Following a process in which BBC Studios approached a number of record labels to pitch ideas for 2020, it was clear that BMG shared the BBC and BBC Studios’ vision of selecting a song with broad international appeal and securing an artist who embodies the spirit and values of the Eurovision Song Contest.

BBC Studios will be working alongside BMG’s UK music publishing and frontline recordings team based in London to select the United Kingdom’s Eurovision 2020 entry which will then be released and published by BMG.

Everything is focused on the selection process. There is nothing that confirms that BMG will be heavily involved after the process of song selection. The natural assumption is that the act’s record label would be actively involved in the journey to the Ahoy, but the question is by how much? It could swing from doing little more than a minimal publication by uploading the track to digital services (and signs over the required rights to Universal for the Eurovision album), right up to a multi-million pound promotional campaign across the voting countries.

Knock, Knock, Who’s There

BMG has rather a lot of artists signed to it, and many more under consideration. The press release may mention acts such as Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra, Kylie Minogue, and Mans Zelmerlow, but I suspect that BMG are not going to offer up a big name to the BBC. A big name would be unlikely to risk the productive part of their career to disappear for six months into the Eurovision world, as discussed previously on ESC Insight:

Ultimately every performer who enters Eurovision will lose, apart from the single winner from the Grand Final (and then they have a short window to capitalise on that success). As of January 31st [2014], I’ve been able to confirm 8,427 acts who have submitted a song to a national broadcaster. All of them must dream of taking to the stage in Copenhagen and winning the Contest, and all of them must know that’s an incredibly long shot. Losing at Eurovision is as close to being guaranteed as being a certainty.

It’s more likely that names further down the list are going to be put up for a National Final (presuming there is a National Final, although as we went to press BBC News was reporting this would be an internal selection). We’re more likely to get acts of the calibre of Maid, Goldstone, and Darline than Little Mix, HAIM, or First Aid Kit.

Presumably whoever wins through the selection process will need to sign a contract with the BBC to represent the United Kingdom at the Song Contest, and it’s going to be a similar contract to previous years. In which case let’s remind ourselves of Surie’s thoughts on the restrictions:

Despite not being a BBC employee, SuRie has also been obliged to adhere to the corporation’s impartiality rules while competing. “I’m allowed no political opinions, but there are a lot of political questions at Eurovision, and I have to stay completely neutral,” she says. “I can’t give opinions as it doesn’t align with the BBC way.”

From what we can see today, BMG’s participation does not enhance the argument for an established act to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Do you think that this collaboration between the BBC and BMG will improve the standing of the Song Contest in the mainstream press? Will The Sun suddenly be happy to support something European because a record label is involved? Will it open up new avenues for artists to help develop their career beyond the televised show?

SuRie, BBC You Decide 2018 (image: BBC/Joel Anderson)

SuRie, BBC You Decide 2018 (image: BBC/Joel Anderson)

In the profile, Surie also subtly brought up the issues around budgets:

Back in London, I’d brought up the financials of representing Great Britain with SuRie, having assumed there would be a substantial contract and pay package given the workload she has to take on. “I get a one-off fee for the show itself, but that’s it,” she’d told me bluntly. “I just need to survive. If I had a waitressing job they’d have said, ‘Keep your shifts and we’ll work around it.'”

The BBC is funded by the public and is limited in what it can spend its money on. It has money to put on the Song Contest (and a reserve fund for big ‘surprise’ events each year such as royal weddings, general elections, and hosting the Contest if it were to win). It is allowed to spend a sensible amount of money promoting its own shows to a UK audience, but the BBC can’t justify promoting a privately owned song to a German audience.

If this new collaboration is going to have a significant impact on the UK’s final result, BMG is going to need to spend money. Lots of money. Lots of its own money. It’s going to have to promote the Song Contest entry hard. I suspect the last time that that happened with a UK entry was in 2009 with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jade Ewen’s ‘It’s My Time’, which was the last Top Ten entry for the UK.

Love Enough For Two

I can see all of these problems, yet my heart is still a-flutter. This is, after all, the Eurovision Song Contest, and I want every country to deliver the best possible entry into the competitive side of the event – even if it is at its very heart just a big flashy TV show with lots of pyro and not enough guitars.

Collaboration is a good thing. The BBC know the TV and Radio landscape. In the UK the Song Contest is a huge ratings winner, capturing the top slot in that week’s ratings and one of the few TV broadcasts that everyone in the country watches live. The BBC instinctively knows how to promote TV shows to get the UK public watching. The BBC does not instinctively know how to create a hit song.

If the staff in the BBC knew music as well as they knew TV, well, …they’d be working at companies like BMG. So connecting TV expertise with music expertise for me is one of the key value exchanges in today’s news.

This will require commitment and trust on both sides. The best way for this to work, in my opinion, is that the BBC focuses solely on putting on the TV show, and leaves every musical and artistic choice to BMG. If I had just one question to ask about all of this, it would be simple. Who is at the top of the chain of command of the UK entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. Not the televised show, but the three minutes on stage. Does the ultimate power belong to BMG or with the BBC? When there is a conflict of vision regards the music, the staging, the video, or the promotion of the song, who makes the final call?

Looking High, High, High

The mark of a good organisation is working out where your weaknesses are, and finding a way to address them. A collaboration between the BBC and BMG for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 is a good start, although it would be remiss to not point out that other broadcasters have similar and stronger relationships with music companies.

The UK now has a renewed approach, there is a wider pool of music to find 2020s Song For Europe, and with new voices in the team that means different choices can be taken with the UK’s entry to find success.

That sounds good to me.

Categories: ESC Insight

16
September
2019

Eurovision: You Decide scrapped as the BBC join forces with record label BMG

Eurovision: You Decide scrapped as the BBC join forces with record label BMG

Michael Rice (United Kingdom 2019)

Eurovision: You Decide has been scrapped. The broadcaster BBC will team up with record company BMG to hopefully find the winning formula to bring success back to the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Is this a step in the right direction for the U.K?

It’s been 22 years since the United Kingdom has lifted the Eurovision trophy and in recent years the nation has experienced pretty dismal results at the contest. Last year was no exception when this year’s entry Michael Rice finished in a disappointing last place with his entry Bigger Than Us. In a shock move the BBC has decided to scrap the selection show Eurovision: You Decide and opt for an internal selection with the help of record company BMG.

BMG has had some impressive artsits on their books including Kylie Minogue, Lewis Capaldi and Mabel. It is hoped that BMG will bring fresh ideas to the BBC Eurovision camp.

 “Our commitment to finding the right song has never been higher and this collaboration with BMG, who have access to world class songwriters, is a genuinely exciting prospect and I am certain that together we can find the best song and artist possible for 2020.” Kate Phillips, BBC controller of entertainment commissioning

You can remind yourself of this year’s entry for the United Kingdom by watching our video of Michael Rice performing Bigger Than Us at Eurovision in concert.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

13
September
2019

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways with Ann Squires

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways with Ann Squires
http://archive.org/download/escinsight_20190901_650_castawaysS3E2/escinsight_20190910_651_castawaysS3E2.mp3

ESC Armchair’s Ann Squires is next at the customs desk as Ellie Chalkley works through another collection of Eurovision songs and memories as see prepares to visit Île de Bezençon.

Eurovision Castaways with Ann Squires

Podcaster, educator and long time home-based contest appreciator Ann Squires of ESC Armchair and the Keep Dancing Podcast talks lost rave classics, the joy of niche linguistics, and keeping Georgia weird.

The momentum is building up around the latest season, so keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast to stay up to date with Eurovision, Junior Eurovision, and all the National Finals. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight

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