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TaP Music to “pass the baton back” for selecting UK Eurovision entry

By | Published on Wednesday 2 August 2023

TaP Music has announced that it will not take part in selecting next year’s UK Eurovision entrant, instead deciding that it is time to “pass the baton back”. The management firm chose the last two performers to represent the UK, Sam Ryder and Mae Muller, with very mixed success.

“We are THRILLED that Eurovision in the UK has a bigger and wider audience than ever before and to have been part of the UK hosting it in Liverpool with Ukraine this year was an incredible moment for us, showing the unifying power and importance of popular culture”, says the company in a statement.

“We’re so proud of Sam and Mae for representing the UK so wonderfully and are enjoying watching their careers flourish as a result”, it then adds.

However, the statement goes on: “It’s been brilliant working with the BBC this last two years, but for now, we think it is time to pass the baton back. We wish the BBC the best of luck with ongoing success and continuing to build the excitement and audience in the UK”.

TaP first came on board in 2021, selecting Sam Ryder and his song ‘Spaceman’ to represent the UK in 2022, securing the country’s greatest Eurovision success in decades when he came second behind Ukraine. And when Ukraine was unable to host the 2023 event due to the ongoing war with Russia, the UK also stepped in to act as host for the first time since 1998.

The company took over the Eurovision job from BMG which had previously attempted to select a winner for the BBC, resulting in the UK putting forward James Newman with ‘Embers’, which came last after scoring no points at all (only the second time this had happened to the UK and the first where no one could blame technical issues).

Buoyed by Ryder’s win and the opportunity to host the Contest, the UK went into 2023 with a new optimism around Eurovision. An optimism that was then knocked when Mae Muller’s ‘I Wrote A Song’ was selected as this year’s entry – a song that never seemed especially suited to the competition – and smashed when a lacklustre performance at the final saw it placed second from last.

Of course, TaP has a whole host of big name acts on its artist management roster, so some were surprised when the company chose Ryder – with whom it does not work – as the UK’s Eurovision entrant on its first go-round.

Despite being a fairly popular TikTok star, the move was seen in some quarters as a bit of a cop out. It worked out though, didn’t it? He did great. So it looked like the team at TaP really knew what they were doing.

You’re only as good as your last result though and, well, I think we’ve covered that. Was Sam Ryder a fluke? Was Mae Muller a good choice that just didn’t work out on the day? We’d need a third spin of the TaP Music wheel to better gauge that and we are not going to get one. Which might lead you to suspect that the company thinks Sam Ryder was a fluke. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Whatever, TaP concludes its statement by saying: “We believe Eurovision is one of the greatest live music shows on the planet and hope that many more artists, new or more established, will see the huge opportunity it brings, and we know there is room for even more growth of the format, both in the UK and beyond”.

Yeah, obviously. I don’t think anyone wants to come second once and then go back to kicking around the bottom of the table for another 20 years. And this means that the question now is who will the BBC turn to next to take on the task of finding a potential British Eurovision winner?

For many years the broadcaster let the public decide and we all know how that turned out. Although, to cut the public some slack, they were usually forced to choose from a handful of absolutely dreadful songs put forward by the BBC. And they did manage to select the 1997 winner, Katrina And The Waves’ ‘Love Shine A Light’.

It seems like finding a new music industry partner is probably the way to go though. And one that would be able to whip some of the UK’s better talent – both songwriters and performers – into giving it a go.

Of course, many of those top talents worry that doing Eurovision would be a kiss of death for their careers. But Ed Sheeran’s always saying he’d do it and he seems pretty bulletproof at this stage.