THE organisers of The BRIT Awards will today invite over 1,200 people drawn from across the UK music industry to join the BRITs Voting Academy – the voting body convened each year to select the nominees and, ultimately, the winners of most of the annual BRIT Awards.
This year well over half (57 per cent) of the invites will go out to new members in a move designed to refresh this year’s Academy with as diverse a range of music experts as possible.
This updated list includes 718 potential new voters and aims to achieve greater gender balance as well as increased BAME representation.
The Academy is updated annually with around 300 new voters typically coming in each year to replace or add to existing names, but this move represents the biggest shake up seen in some time. The criteria for being on this voter list remain the same as ever, however – members are invited on the basis of their expertise across different aspects of music.
The work has been led by Ged Doherty, the BPI chair (the organisation that owns and runs The BRIT Awards and is responsible for long-term strategy of the awards), who earlier this year gave a public undertaking to review the Voting Academy.
Accordingly, the BPI appointed a specialist committee comprising leading Black and Asian figures from music and media, co-chaired by Paulette Long OBE and Kwame Kwaten, to advise on the Academy’s voting structures and make-up.
Overseeing the review process alongside Ged Doherty was BRIT Awards 2017 chair, Jason Iley (and chair and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment UK & Ireland), who is responsible for the look, feel and creative element of this year’s show.
The BRITs organisers have, with the committee’s input, created an invite list that is more reflective of the industry and society at large.
The final invitation list for the 2017 awards is made up of 52 per cent male and 48 per cent female members – a significant shift from the 70/30 split for the 2016 Awards1. 17 per cent of this year’s invitees are BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) – up from the 15 per cent (voter) figure in 20161, and ahead of the national average.
Ged Doherty, BPI chair, said: “I’m really proud that we’ve taken firm action to refresh the Academy to ensure that it keeps up with trends in music and society at large.
“I believe that as a result of these changes the BRITs will be better-equipped to reflect the diverse nature of Britain and British music.
“There’s been a long-held myth that BRITs winners and nominees are decided by industry executives in a smoke-filled room, but the simple truth is that the awards are voted for each year by a 1000-plus strong Voting Academy made up of experts drawn from all areas of music.”
The invitee list for the Academy is made up from all areas of music throughout the UK, ranging from artists to media, and members are invited on the basis of their music expertise and knowledge.
The different Academy sections are: Artists, Business, Retailers (physical, online and digital), Concert Promoters and Venues, Publishers, Managers, NUS Representative and Music Colleges, Producers, Independent Record Labels, Major Record Labels, Press and Media and Social Media.
Jason Iley, BRITs chair and chair and CEO of Sony Music UK & Ireland, said: “As the most important awards in the British music calendar we have a responsibility to be truly reflective of what is happening in music so that we can support new and emerging talent as well as recognise and celebrate mainstream commercial success.
“To do this, it’s important we have Voting Academy members who are both knowledgeable and passionate about all types of music and who also reflect the diversity of our consumers and country.”
Voting Academy invites will be sent out today, Monday 7th November. Voting will commence on Friday 9th December and closes 13th December.
* Please note that the 2016 figures quoted are based on Academy members who actually voted, while the 2017 figures reflect the people who have been invited to join this year’s Academy.
Whether all these new invitees choose to participate and exercise their vote is, however, a matter for them, so it should be noted that the invitation list may not always fully correspond with the final list of those who have voted.
The BRIT Awards 2017 with MasterCard will be broadcast live on ITV – Wednesday 22nd February from London’s O2 Arena. 2017 BRIT nominations will be announced on 14th January live on a primetime ITV Saturday evening slot – featuring special performances.
For further information on The BRITs, please contact:
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Stuart Bell/Richard Dawes/Lisa Birch/Holly Appleton – 0203 327 7111
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For further information on The BPI please contact:
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Notes to editors:
About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Promoting British Music
The BPI is the record labels’ association that promotes British music and champions the UK’s recorded music sector. Its membership is made up of over 370 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘major’ companies, which collectively account for around 80 per cent of domestic music consumption and one in six artist albums sold worldwide.
The BPI certifies the Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards Programme, co-owns the Official Charts, organizes and owns The BRIT Awards – which has raised more than £16.8m for music education and wellbeing charities, including the BRIT School – and is home to the Mercury Prize.
The following are voted for by the Academy:
British Male Solo Artist, British Female Solo Artist, British Group, British Breakthrough Act, MasterCard British Album of the Year, International Male Solo Artist, International Female Solo Artist and International Group
* There is 16-month eligibility period for all releases – (Monday 20th July 2015 to Monday 5th December 2016)
* All releases, whether album or single, must have achieved an OCC Top 40 chart placing during the eligibility period
* The voting is monitored by the ERS (Electoral Reform Services) – which is completely independent of The BRIT Awards.
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