Awards Business News

BRITs announces new, more diverse Voting Academy

By | Published on Monday 7 November 2016

BRIT Awards 2017

Invitations to join this year’s BRITs Voting Academy are being sent out today, with hopes that moves to build a more diverse group of voters will avoid a repeat of criticisms after this year’s prizes were handed out exclusively to white performers, despite the awards show following a particularly strong year for genres dominated by non-white artists.

Over half of those invited to join this year’s Voting Academy will be new to the process, with 718 new members brought in to improve gender and ethnic diversity among the voters. The group is now 48% female, while the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic voters has increased to 17%. Of those invited to vote who then chose to do so, the male to female split for the 2016 awards was 70/30, while 15% of voters were identified as BAME.

“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”, says Chair of BRITs owner the BPI, Ged Doherty. “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+ strong Voting Academy made up of experts drawn from all areas of music”.

BRITs Chair and Sony Music boss Jason Iley adds: “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”.

As previously reported, the 2017 BRIT Awards trophies were designed by architect Zaha Hadid, who died earlier this year, and also aim to reflect greater diversity in the awards ceremony.

Voting Academy invites are being sent out to potential BRIT voters today, with votes then collected between 9-13 Dec. The nominations will be announced on 14 Jan, with the ceremony itself is due to take place at the O2 Arena on 22 Feb, presented by that Michael Buble.