Nominated: Rest In Fear
Rest In Fear didn't get the trophy in their first ever run for the most important Austrian music prize. But obviously the nomination itself evoked some medial attention and recognition, e.g. in form of news paper articles or exploding page reaches on facebook. But what is the actual significance of a prize that, amongst others, got awarded to a conformist right-wing nationalist for the frequency of his mind blunting audio-diarrhea? And why are artists from a marginal branch of music such as Rest In Fear a little less unimportant all of a sudden when they're being considered worthy of getting the glass trumpet? And how the hell is a commercialized music event with a content bandwidth between instant brain death by audio and cult music to be understood?
The Amadeus is passé-us: A positioning of Austrian Music.
As a small music label with a network structure and a focus in diversity and artistic individualism G Minor Records stand behind the AAMA, being both the initiating institution and the award for economic and artistic achievments for a specific reason: Awards are good for self-confidence.
Now one might say that certain Austrian artists have plenty and more - and that may well be true for some. But on the other side of this over-polished coin a large group of artistic talents only shine so dull and lack most of the gloss. The scratched Austrian overall music ego suffers from a series of factors that influence artists (un-)knowingly in a situation that does not differ too much from anywhere else in the western world: Downloads, streaming and music aggregator services deteriorate the street value of CDs and other physical media. Records companies as well as musicians have massive income break-ins and tend to start giving away records as free goodies and promotional gifts. That small enterprises and bands organize and play their shows for pure self-fulfillment is a wide-spread belief. In times where music-making is being understood as a way of achieving personal satisfaction and music itself has so much become a symbol of life style, people rebel against the concept of live- and taped music being a "product" with a value but ironically spend a great deal of money on hot drinks, fashion and other "style accessories". The small difference in Austria is, that these changes mainly affect artists from abroad.
Thinking back it is a small number of superstars who went international - like Opus, Falco, Udo Jürgens and recently Conchita Wurst - as well as a couple of sympathic starlets (e.g. Christina Stürmer or currently Wanda) who earned some fame in the German-speaking countries that make up Austria's hall of fame. Evergreens such as the band EAV, popular Après-Ski and Schlager music or Austro-pop in general not taken into consideration. The striking inconsistency in style and stage character of any Austrian export music tells a lot: In Austria you become big if you happen to sell well - or get discovered early and are being sold well, respectively. Who ever get's out of the country by him- or herself or with the support of smaller record companies and proves to be just a little successful in one of the bigger markets (Germany, USA, etc.) will be picked up by the music industry and brought back big on home territory. There is no such thing as a commonly known brand "Music from Austria".
As a part of the organizational team around Rest In Fear and being the small part of the Austrian musical landscape that we are, we are happy to see the music industry making changes. The current practice of skimming off just the economical crème de la crème without much interest in the rest of the talent pool and the immanent deliberate development of artists who already have evolved to be blockbusters can at best be understood as a very bad strategy in promotion of new blood. A national recognition in the fields of Alternative-, Electronic-, Jazz / World-, Urban-, as well as Hard & Heavy music besides the economical main categories is indeed of great value. Media attention for the achievments of groups and people in small branches of music helps getting independant acts to take a first step out of Austria, agglomerating their energy and producing their ideas - especially through an increase in public interest and with newly found partners - and might help to make an impact abroad.
In a similar way as the much debated quota of Austrian music on national radio stations an award will not just change everything. We still think that the #AAMA as a part of a set of measures will contribute to the foundation of a newly branded definition of "Music from Austria". The Awards help bringing new publicity to Austria as a music location through a number of diverse quality indie acts. It is an important factor in strenghtening the country's music scene. An appraisal of a vocational field that is generally reduced to entertainment and seen as a cultural must-have accessory of society, a professional branch that - especially in Austria - has to struggles a lot with self-doubt. The awards are occasional statements against the unorientation of the medial nine day wonders, casted and hyped to death by Ö3 and partners and work as a part of the puzzle that makes up the international publicty's picture of "Music from Austria". And it has just begun to find it's place next to Mozart and Sound of Music.
Ignoring the mandatory awards to the reactive and nostalgic, but economically successful: The generally very positive impression of this event is backed up by recurring support to the Austrian music culture, every year. We are therefore very proud of the fact that one of our roster acts actually got nominated for a music prize, despites the young age of our enterprise and considering our limited resources.
The live stream to the awards is online here on ATV+'s online portal.