Brit, Brat or Twat Awards?

With the BRIT Awards on Wednesday (24th), we ask if the awards show actually holds any credibility or is it an exercise in satisfying music big cats and pop execs? In 2010, Lily Allen came out and said they were fixed. Yet, when Tom Odell, an artist signed to her record label In the Name Of there were no complaints. In the Name Of is a subsidiary of Sony – one of the ‘Big Three’ – who we imagine any ‘fixing’ is benefiting.

There is a correlation between who wins Critic Choice Award and who is nominated for British Breakthrough act. The music industry decides said artist is worthy of being the Critic’s choice one year, ultimately platforming the artist for Radio 1 play and major endorsement, only to nominate them the following year for successfully ‘breaking’ the music industry. There is irony smothering the Award. Along with last year’s Critics’ Choice, expect artists fawned over by the BBC to make the nominations. You only have to take a look at this year’s nominees for British Breakthrough to question if they really deserve to be considered for ‘breaking through’ the music industry, or just playing the game the way the music bosses like. This year 2015’s critics’ choice James Bay goes against BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years & Years, 2014 BBC introducing winners Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Sound of 2015 longlist nominees Wolf Alice. The only smidge of credibility that I can identify is that the nominees then go to public vote. This year The Brits Critics’ choice and BBC’s Sound Of 2016 goes to the same artist; congrats to Jack Garratt who sucked up to exactly the right people and landed both awards. If you play the music game, you  can revel in your nominations.

James Bay, Adele and Years & Years are all receiving 4 nominations. All white artists. Forget about even receiving a nomination if you were black and British this year with the only non-white nominations being in the International categories. Apparently Stormzy proved that being on the BBC Sound Of 2015 list doesn’t secure you any hint of a nomination.

“This year The Brits Critics’ choice and BBC’s Sound Of 2016 goes to the same artist; congrats to Jack Garratt who sucked up to exactly the right people and landed both awards”

The BRITs have also been criticised for its lack of diversity in genre, Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian calling them ‘A conspiracy against Rock n’ Roll’, although in 2014 Arctic Monkeys won best album for AM.

Does it matter even if there is very little authenticity in the Awards though? The BRITs are just a sliver of this industry-wide problem of unreality. Isn’t authenticity and originality what we want? The NME Awards do own some credibility. These are 100% public voting, and even asks for suggestions on nominations, but has stopped having their awards aired on TV due to the lack of popularity it receives.

With performances from Rihanna, The Weeknd and Coldplay it is an awards ceremony that satisfies your parents and your pop-indulged siblings. Everyone can watch it together, and everyone does. You complain about the winners and enjoy doing it. It probably brings you together more than if you’d found the whole thing credible in the first place.

Here’s Jack Garrett – The Brits Critics’ choice and BBC’s Sound Of 2016 – talking about the BRITs:

Meg Long

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