Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigation of Live and Unsigned has now been concluded deciding that they will not be continuing with the formal investigation. The ASA also stated that they do not require Live and Unsigned to make any changes to their advertising for this year’s competition.
The ASA also stated that they appreciate that Live and Unsigned spent time and effort in responding to enquiries and that the information provided enabled them to come to this juncture.
ASA investigation of Live and Unsigned
An ASA investigation was the result of a complaint from the mother of a member of Underline the Sky, the band that won the Rock category at the Live and Unsigned 2010 competition. The complaint arose as a result of Underline the Sky claiming they did not receive prizes of an all-expenses paid trip to perform at a festival in India and a sponsors amplifier.
As Chris Grayston (Events Director for the organisers of Live and Unsigned - Future Music) explains; “festivals sometimes just don’t happen. Last year some 40 festivals in the UK alone didn’t go ahead, when that happens as a prize we can only give alternative prizes as we have done to other contestants winning prizes. The band was kept informed throughout with the communication directly being copied in to e-mails to the organisers who eventually didn’t get the corporate sponsorship to fund the event. It was the 25th year of Independence Rock Festival in Mumbai of which when a delegation came across from India to meet with Live and Unsigned had no doubts to question their intentions or integrity.”
Live and Unsigned state that Underline the Sky did receive other prizes as promised to the Rock winners including a year’s supply of drinks and endorsement with Rockstar. With regards the amp prize offered to genre winners, it was communicated well in advance of the Grand Final to all the finalists that due to the genre categories being split from 3 to 4 categories, that the 3 amp prizes would go to the other genre category winners as the Rock category was already being offered an abundance of other prizes. The band was also given a slot on the prestigious M4 tour as a result of conversations with the band, in which they stated they wanted to get out of Ipswich.
Don’t expect ‘The-A&R-Fairy’
Dean Hill from Raven Black Music organisers the tour and explains with reference to Underline the Sky not completing the tour “They [Underline the Sky] walked away midway through the tour and they did not fulfil their part in any way shape or form; an amazing and promising band whilst on stage, but in terms of attitude, lots to learn. It’s a constant issue for dedicated organisations providing a framework for development for up and coming acts that some engage with the process and make the most of it were others sit back and expect ‘The-A&R-Fairy’ to take care of everything.”
They were also offered recording studio time with a management agreement, to which Grayston explained; “I really liked the band and made an offer to them to write the management agreement themselves.” Underline the Sky agree that “Chris Grayston produced a contract for us to sign, and stated that we could reword the contract however we pleased.”The band never produced an edited or reworked contract and decided to pay for the booked studio time independently.
Grayston continues that Bronwyn Cooper didn’t attend either of the meetings with the band most notably the last of the two face-to-face meetings in their hometown in Ipswich, when only 2 members of the band turned up late stating issues within the band. At this point Grayston lost his enthusiasm to sign them to management. They were still offered other festival slots and opportunities thereafter but lack of communication and sometimes no communication saw these opportunities pass.
The Robbie Boyd Band said they had "an incredible experience playing to a packed out Italian crowd" as a prize for winning the alternative category in 2011.
Furthermore, singer Lucy Spraggan explained that when a promised trip to Australia fell through, Future Music supplied an adequate replacement. Lucy goes on to state that they continue to enjoy a good working relationship. Lucy received a new website, video for her single as a replacement and is currently on a UK tour with Future Music where Lucy has picked up numerous festival gigs performing on the Live and Unsigned tour as the guest act to the industry judges which include some 32 festival partners.
The Live and Unsigned 2012 winning prize is for the winner to tour the UK with a festival tour of 14 festivals this summer and £10,000 to the winning act to spend on what they want for the development of their act. The festival tour includes some huge festivals such as Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters, Sundown Festival and Strawberry Fields Festival.
Live and Unsigned conclude "we were never in doubt that there was an issue. We can now continue with giving artists opportunities that are very difficult to come by in the music industry."