fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Optimism grows after successful Brit Awards 2021

After nearly 14 months, non-socially distanced indoor live music returned to the UK last night (11 May) as the likes of Dua Lipa, Coldplay, Elton John, Pink and Rag’n’Bone Man took to the O2 Arena stage for the 2021 Brit Awards.

As previously reported, some 4,000 people – 2,500 of them key workers who had been gifted free tickets – attended the ceremony, with an estimated 1,000 more working as staff, production and crew. As a medically monitored pilot event, held as part of the UK’s Events Research Programme (ERP), Brits attendees were free to mingle and take off their masks once inside the O2 (as they had at previous ERP shows in Liverpool), where scientists were examining risk factors including crowd behaviour, ventilation, surface contact and the effect of having performers in the room.

All guests took a lateral-flow Covid-19 test in the 36 hours leading up to the event, as well as a PCR test on the day. Attendees are also required to take another PCR test five days after the event, with both tests being sent to a laboratory to assess for any coronavirus transmission during the show.

Gennaro Castaldo, director of communications for Brits organiser BPI, tells IQ there was a “huge amount of interest” in the event, “not just from the UK, but from the global community”, reflecting its significance as the first major indoor concert of the Covid-19 era. “We’ve had a record amount of TV requests this year, from Japan, America, Canada, Europe… Obviously everyone’s intrigued as to how we as a country are coming out of lockdown, and how these Event Research Programme pilots are working. So there wasn’t just the UK audience, but there was a wider global interest, too, I think.”

“Heralding the return of live music, it was a special moment for everyone working in the industry”

Both Castaldo and BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor are full of praise for the O2 team, as well as stage designers Es Devlin and Yinka Ilori, whose technicoloured set, built by Diagon, provided a spectacular backdrop to both the prize-giving ceremony and the night’s live performances.

“Our hope is that the Brits 2021 with Mastercard showed the music industry at its best,” says Taylor. “It united global superstars with the breakthrough talent that is the future of British music, reflecting on a year when music has shown its power to help us navigate difficult times. The creativity of the performances lit up staging by Yinka Ilori and Es Devlin which, with its explosion of colour, was like a wake-up from the monochrome reality many of us have lived for the last 12 months.”

“It was great to be back working with the Brits and to once again collaborate with the brilliant Es Devlin,” says Diagon’s Liam Ownsworth. “It was a huge privilege to bring Es Delvin’s vision to life for the biggest night in UK music. Heralding the return of live music events, it was a special moment for everyone working within the creative industry, who have been especially hit hard by the pandemic.”

Dua Lipa collects award

Castaldo also commends the government for managing the end of the third lockdown in a “very step-by-step, gradual way” with the ERP initiative. “Our fervent wish is that [the results from the events] will come out positive, and we’ll be able to speed up the process of opening up our venues and festivals and nightclubs,” he continues, noting that – although insurance remains a sticking point – many venues still have availability for shows this summer. “With a bit of luck, there could be a real surge of interest if the government were to come out sooner, rather than later, and say, ‘We’re satisfied that with these precautions in place, you can reopen safely’.”

“What was happening on stage felt particularly significant,” adds Taylor, highlighting wins for female artists such as Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Little Mix, Haim, Arlo Parks and Billie Eilish. “‘Women artists won in eightof the 11 award categories, illustrating how the music industry has transformed to better reflect all the talent in our society. There was an inclusive feel to the show, including the additional Brits trophies that winning artists could give to their own heroes, and the fact that the majority of the audience were key workers who have done so much to help the country get through the last year. I would like to thank the music labels who contributed to cover the costs of making that happen.

“Talking to guests, it seemed they were truly excited to be out enjoying live music once again, and it was particularly special to be part of the first live audience for music at the O2 Arena in a year. Finally, the Brits being part of the ERP meant that we were gathering scientific data which should help ease the path to government reopening live music as quickly as possible, which is so important to fans and to our artists.”

“It’s probably the most significant Brit Awards in our four-decade history”

All Brit Awards 2021 performances, which also included the Weeknd, Griff, Headie One and Olivia Rodrigo, are available to watch back on the Brits YouTube channel.

“As much as it was painful process at times” for the Brits team, who pulled together the show in under six weeks, seeing the result made it more than worth it, concludes Castaldo, who says having multiple performances with a live audience sends an important message that the ERP can act as a “stepping stone towards the return of live music at scale”. “And that’s the key word: scale,” he adds, “because obviously you can have events and have a few people distanced here and there, but that’s no good to any promoter. You’ve got to be able to put bums on seats and know that you can fill the room to capacity, so that’s why these pilots are so hugely important.

“It’s also the most diverse awards we’ve ever had, with eight of the 11 categories won by women, which is a historic moment, too. So I think for those reasons, it’s probably the most significant Brit Awards that we’ve had in our four-decade history.”

A full list of 2021 award winners is available from the Brits website.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Brit Awards 2021 confirms pilot event in May

The 2021 Brit Awards ceremony will go ahead with a live audience of 4,000 people as part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), organisers have announced.

IQ reported last month that the Brits, the UK music industry’s main annual awards ceremony, was being considered as a pilot show alongside events such as the FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship. The 2021 awards, which take place at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena in London on Tuesday 11 March, will be the biggest indoor ERP show and feature live performances from Dua Lipa, Headie One, Arlo Parks and Griff, among others.

As with other ERP events, including the recently announced Sefton Park Pilot concert in Liverpool, audience members will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once seated in the arena. All attendees must, however, have proof of a negative lateral-flow test result to enter the venue.

As part of the wider scientific research on the ERP’s events, attendees will also be asked to take a test after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of indoor settings, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical interventions like face coverings. They will also be requirement to provide contact details for National Health Service’s contact-tracing system.

“The BRITs are always a big night in the music calendar, but this year’s awards will be particularly special. They will reunite live audiences with the best of British talent for the first time in a year, while providing a vital opportunity to see how we can get large crowds back safely as soon as possible,” says British culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

“This scientific trial is an important step on the path to recovery for the live entertainment industry”

“Music connected us when we were separated by this pandemic, and now it’s going to help bring us back together again.”

The majority of tickets for the event (2,500) will be donated to key workers from London via a ballot system in recognition of their work during the pandemic.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of Brits organiser the BPI, comments: “The Brit Awards team are excited to confirm our plans to host a live audience at our ceremony on 11 May. There could be no better way to celebrate music’s biggest night than with an audience present for the first live performances at the O2 in over a year. Most importantly, this is also a key moment in the return of live music, which we all want to see back at scale as quickly as possible.

“We will be working closely with the government, the O2 and all our partners to finalise details and ensure all safety measures and guidelines are adhered to. More exciting performance announcements will be made in the coming days.”

“We’re proud that the O2 has been selected to host the largest-indoor-capacity pilot event with the Brits” says the O2’s deputy GM, Danielle Kennedy-Clark. “This scientific trial is an important step on the path to recovery for the live entertainment industry, and our operational teams are making the final preparations to be able to welcome people into the O2 again for the first time in more than a year”.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK targets “special summer” with new test events

Upcoming major events such as the Brit Awards and FA Cup final may be run as ‘pilot’ events designed to trial the return of large, non-socially distanced audiences to UK venues, culture minister Oliver Dowden has said.

In an interview published in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said the British government will use a dozen events held in late April and May to test allowing spectators to return to sports venues, theatres and nightclubs without social distancing. Currently, under prime minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of the UK’s latest lockdown, all restrictions on indoor gatherings are set to be lifted from 21 June.

Among the 12 events observed under the so-called Events Research Programme (ERP), said Dowden, could be the World Snooker Championship final, held at the 980-seat Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on 17 April; football’s FA Cup final, staged at Wembley Stadium (90,000-seat) on 15 May; and the UK music industry’s main annual awards ceremony, the Brits, which are scheduled to return to the O2 (20,000-cap.) in London on 11 May.

According to the BBC, the government hopes up to 20,000 fans could attend the FA Cup match – double the 10,000 people who will be permitted at outdoor events in England from 17 May.

Other ERP events will take place at a nightclub, a comedy club and a conference venue, according to Dowden’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

“These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing”

Brits organiser BPI said last autumn that it is planning for the awards – which traditionally take place in February – to return with a “spectacular event” in May. The 40th Brit Awards took place in February 2021, a month before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of the O2 and other venues. IQ has contacted the Brit Awards for comment on the 2021 event.

According to DCMS, the ERP will use a range of “non-pharmaceutical” methods to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the events, including pre- and post-event testing, enhanced ventilation, novel venue lay-outs and the monitoring fans’ movements and interactions.

‘These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing. We will be guided by the science and medical experts, but will work flat out to make that happen,” says Dowden. “We want to get the people back to enjoying what they love and ensure some of our most important growth industries get back on their feet.

“These are important steps towards the safe and special summer we all crave, and that I’m fully focused on delivering.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

TikTok displays live potential at 2020 Brits

The 2020 Brit Awards took place on Tuesday night (18 February) at the O2 Arena in London in a special, live-focused ceremony.

Performances on the night came from double award-winner Lewis Capaldi (best new artist, song of the year), album of the year winner Dave, Brits rising star Celeste, Mabel (female solo artist), Lizzo, Sir Rod Stewart and international female solo artist winner Billie Eilish, who debuted the new James Bond theme song at the event.

The Brit Awards changed a few things up for 2020, reducing prize categories from 14 to 9, upping the number of live performances and allowing artists more creative freedom.

Another new addition for this year was the partnership with video-sharing social networking platform TikTok.

The partnership, which is part of a wider programme to showcase TikTok’s potential for the live industry, saw the platform transmit key moments from the Brits directly to digital screens at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year”

Via TikTok, Lewis Capaldi became the first artist to perform on the Brits red carpet, later singing a duet backstage with male solo artist winner Stormzy. TikTok users were also encouraged to take part in the #RedCarpetReady hashtag challenge – an interactive competition in which users post videos with a specific hashtag – and use the Brits ‘Jump In’ sticker.

To further elaborate on the platform’s compatibility with live, TikTok’s head of UK music operations Paul Hourican is delivering a workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March, explaining how artists, promoters, agents and festival organisers can capitalise on TikTok’s reach.

“On TikTok, artists can reach listeners at lighting speed and build authentic fanbases – it’s a unique connection between artists and fans that we want even more artists and fans to benefit from – as well as the discovery opportunities TikTok brings for success off-platform,” says Rich Waterworth, general manager of TikTok UK.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year.”

The full list of Brit 2020 winners can be found below:

Female solo artist: Mabel
Male solo artist: Stormzy
Best group: Foals
Song of the year: Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’
Mastercard album of the year: Dave – Psychodrama
Best new artist: Lewis Capaldi
International female solo artist: Billie Eilish
International male solo artist: Tyler The Creator
Rising star: Celeste

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Live music to take centre stage at the Brits 2020

Organisers of the 2020 Brit Awards have announced changes to the format and content of next year’s ceremony, which will include fewer awards and more live performances to mark the event’s 40th year.

The 2020 Brit Awards, which take place on Tuesday 18 February at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, will impose no creative limitations on artists performing at the ceremony.

Last year’s Brits saw performances from Hugh Jackman, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Pink, Jorja Smith, the 1975 and Jess Glynne, among others.

The number of awards handed out on the night will be reduced from 14 to 9, with the removal of the international group, Brits global success, British artist video, best British producer and outstanding contribution to music categories.

All winners will be decided by the 2020 official voting academy, comprised of 1,200 individuals, including artists, promoters, agents, publishers and label representatives. There will be no element of fan vote.

Several categories will also be renamed, with the critics’ choice becoming rising star, best British single restyled as song of the year and British breakthrough act now known as best new artist. All categories will refer to solely British artists, unless otherwise stated.

“We will be putting creativity, British culture and exceptional performances at the heart of the show”

The panel of judges for the new-look critics’ choice category will include live music bookers, songwriters and producers, as well as the traditional music editors, critics and radio station heads.

The recipient of the Rising Star Award will receive a performance slot during the show. The award is open to British artists who have not yet achieved either a recording in the Official Charts UK Top 20 Artist Album Chart, or two recordings in the Top 20 Singles Chart.

“We have had a fresh look at the Brit Awards this year. Most importantly we will be putting creativity, British culture and exceptional performances at the heart of the show to make Brits night a world class celebration,” comments David Joseph, chairman of the Brits Committee for 2020 and chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK.

“The awards should be a global platform for the artists of the year to create moments that live beyond the night itself. We are looking at everything to put on the best possible show.”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and Brit Awards Ltd adds that: “The Brits Committee will endeavour to make the 2020 Brits a truly landmark event, highlighting not only another remarkable 12 months in the British music year to a growing global audience, but also paying tribute to many unforgettable Brits moments that are now part of a rich and much loved heritage.”

Winners of last year’s Brit Awards include Little Mix, George Ezra, Jorja Smith, the 1975, Tom Walker, the Carters, Drake, Ariana Grande Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, Pink and Sam Fender.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Facial recognition security tech used at the Brits

This year’s Brit Awards used facial recognition technology to enhance its event security, deploying the technology to screen guests at multiple entrances to the O2 in London.

Surveillance and security technology provider, Digital Barriers, partnered with Super-Recognisers International (SRI), a company that trains staff to identify faces in crowds, to provide the facial recognition security at the Brits.

The Digital Barriers facial recognition system linked to mobile apps, which enabled specialised SRI staff members to make secondary face-to-face identity verification checks.

The same technology was previously used at the O2 for the National Television Awards in January.

“The O2 is the world’s most popular music and entertainment venue and we’re continually reviewing our security measures,” says Paul Williams, senior security manager at the O2.

“The use of facial recognition is proving to be a valuable enhancement to the security and safety of the venue, its guests and staff”

“The use of facial recognition is proving to be a valuable enhancement to the security and safety of the venue, its guests and staff,” adds Williams.

Digital Barriers and SRI have now agreed to partner at any event that requires the combination of facial recognition with specialist operators. “This is a unique offering anywhere in the world,” says SRI co-founder and chief operating officer, Kenny Long, who has now joined the Digital Barriers team.

Digital Barriers chief executive Zak Doffman says that the successful O2 deployments and addition of Long to the team “attest to the world-class quality of our technology.”

“We work with government agencies around the world, and our technology is field-proven in the hardest operating environments,” adds Doffman.

The use of facial recognition technology in growing in live entertainment, with artists such as Taylor Swift using biometric technology to screen concert crowds for known criminals and other undesirables.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

‘It’s rare to see a group work this hard’: Giddings on Little Mix’s road to the Brits

On Wednesday, UK pop superstars Little Mix picked up their second Brit Award, taking home the best video artist prize for ‘Woman Like Me’ featuring Nicki Minaj.

Coming on the back of five studio albums and five years of nearly constant touring, the band’s UK/RoW agent, Solo Agency’s John Giddings, says it’s a well-deserved reward for the hardest-working pop group out there…

 


IQ: It’s the second Brit award for the band, and the first since 2017, when they won British single of the year for ‘Shout Out to My Ex’. How important is it for you, and the team around the band, to be recognised for your hard work?
JG: I think it’s fantastic.

It’s so rare to see a group who work this hard – I’ve said this before, but pop groups work ten times harder than rock acts when it comes to things like promotion, working the room, meet-and-greets… Little Mix are rightly being rewarded for that.

The band hit the road again this autumn for the LM5 tour, their sixth in six years. That’s a pretty gruelling touring schedule…
It is. It’s amazing to see how hard these girls work.

And they still like each other! They get on, they enjoy each other’s company… and that’s so important. It’s the same with any group – you take away the fun element and nobody wants to be there; they just all want to go home.

You’ve worked with Boyzone, the Spice Girls, Westlife, the Corrs… Is the Little Mix phenomenon a similar vibe to those acts in their heydays?
Very much so. I remember when we opened the gates at Wembley Arena on the Spice Girls’ first tour [in 1998] and I suddenly realised there were mothers dragging their children in, as they enjoyed the music as much as their daughters!

That was the first time I remember selling tickets in sixes and eights, as opposed to twos and fours, because it was proper family entertainment. And that’s definitely the case with Little Mix too.

“It’s amazing to see how hard these girls work”

How has the fanbase evolved since you started working with Little Mix? Is it a case of the fans growing up with the band?
Yes, to an extent. But there are also women of 40, 50, who love their music, too, and not just through their children. So we’re seeing their audience growing in multiple ways; the girls are going from strength to strength.

The group were formed on the X Factor in 2011—
They were, but I think most people have forgotten they’re X Factor winners at this point. They’re not considered a reality TV band – they’ve gone way beyond that.

You’ve obviously played a key part in that growth. Who else has been instrumental in Little Mix’s ascent?
Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee at Modest Management, who have steered the ship incredible well. Their collective experience really came into play in looking after [Little Mix] – they’ve kept them together and took them to the next level.

How did the rate their performance of ‘Woman Like Me’ on Wednesday night?
I thought they were incredible. They’re such athletic performers and that really came across. You can see the stamina [they bring to their live shows].

Two Brits wins under the belt now, then… You must be hoping for a third next year?
Absolutely. It’s important for groups to see their results of their success. They work so hard, and they love getting close to their public.

I’d like to see them win best album – they’d be deserving winners.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

Brits Week previews UK music’s biggest night

The 5th War Child Brits Week kicked off last Monday, giving fans the opportunity to see leading UK artists in intimate settings across London in the run up to this year’s Brit awards on Wednesday 20 February.

Brits Week, the series of intimate live performances by leading UK acts that precede the Brits are already underway, celebrating the best in British music whilst raising money for non-profit War Child.

British breakthrough act nominees, Idles, opened Brits Week on 11 February, playing at the 350-capacity 100 Club. You Me At Six performed on the same night at Scala (1,145-cap.), followed by performances by AJ Tracey at 100 Club, Nick Mulvey at Wilton’s Music Hall (400-cap.) and Enter Shikari at The Dome (5,039-cap.) throughout the week.

A DJ set from singer-songwriter Frank Turner in conjunction with Xtra Mile Recordings on Friday at 320-capacity Omeara, and a Sunday-night performance from Mabel at Bush Hall (425-cap.) closed out the first week.

Performances still to come include last year’s British group and British album winners, the 1975, who play at Islington’s 600-capacity the Garage this evening (18 February). Jake Bugg and Jade Bird join forces tonight at Omeara, Bring Me The Horizon play on Tuesday at the Dome and Anne-Marie performs the night before the awards ceremony at Omeara. A final performance by Tom Odell on Friday 22 February closes out Brits season.

The Brit awards take place this Wednesday at the O2 Arena in London. The awards ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and broadcast live on ITV.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan”

Hugh Jackman opens the ceremony, performing a song from his award-winning film, The Greatest Showman. Calvin Harris will perform alongside multiple Brit award nominee Dua Lipa, Rag’n’Bone Man and Sam Smith. Fans can also expect performances from Little Mix, the 1975, Ms Banks and this year’s outstanding contribution to music winner, Pink.

This year’s Brit awards see four nomination each for UK pop sensations Anne-Marie and Dua Lipa. Anne-Marie is up for British female, British single, British video and British album. Future Forum’s keynote guest, Dua Lipa, has two nominations a piece in the British single and British video categories.

George Ezra and Jorja Smith are up for three awards each, whereas a host of artists including the 1975, Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne and Florence and the Machine have received two nominations each.

Kamasi Washington, Travis Scott and Shawn Mendes are all up for international male against 2017 winner Drake and four-time Brit winner Eminem, whilst international female sees Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Christine and the Queens and 2014 nominee Janelle Monáe all shortlisted.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan, both in the UK and beyond,” says Jason Iley, Brits chairman and chief executive of Sony Music UK and Ireland.

“I’m delighted to see the nominations representing talent across a wide variety of genres – from returning artists to some incredibly exciting new talent – who are set to become the stars of the future.”

 

The full list of nominees can be found below:

British album of the year
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
George Ezra – Staying At Tamara’s
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

British female solo artist
Anne-Marie
Florence + The Machine
Jess Glynne
Jorja Smith
Lily Allen

British male solo artist
Aphex Twin
Craig David
George Ezra
Giggs
Sam Smith

British group
The 1975
Arctic Monkeys
Gorillaz
Little Mix
Years & Years

British breakthrough act
Ella Mai
Idles
Jorja Smith
Mabel
Tom Walker

Critics’ choice
Winner: Sam Fender
Lewis Capaldi
Mahalia

British single
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
George Ezra – Shotgun
Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
RAMZ – Barking
Rudimental – These Days
Siagla and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Tom Walker – Leave A Light On

British video
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Jax Jones ft Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Jonas Blue ft Jack & Jack – Rise
Liam Payne and Rita Ora – For You
Little Mix ft Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Rita Ora – Let Me Love You
Rudimental – These Days

International male solo artist
Drake
Eminem
Kamasi Washington
Shawn Mendes
Travis Scott

International female solo artist
Ariana Grande
Camila Cabello
Cardi B
Christine & The Queens
Janelle Monae

International group
Brockhampton
The Carters
First Aid Kit
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Twenty One Pilots

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

‘We’ve been stepping up for years’: Brits’ #MeToo moment

Performers and awards nominees used last night’s Brits, the UK’s leading music awards ceremony, to express solidarity with the global campaign against sexual harassment in the entertainment industries, with both male and female artists donning white roses in support of the Time’s Up movement.

Ellie Goulding, who presented the award for best international female solo artist to Adwoa Aboah, summed up the mood when she said: “It’s so amazing to see so many people tonight wearing the rose. We’re very proud to be women, and actually I think we can all agree that we’ve been stepping up for years.”

The “stepping up” comment was a pointed reference to Grammys chief Neil Portnow, who caused a furore last month when he told women they needed to “step up” if they wanted greater representation in the music industry, leading to calls for his resignation.

Dua Lipa, who took home both the best British female and British breakthrough artist prizes, similarly used her acceptance speak to highlight women’s role in music.

“I want to thank every single female who’s been on this stage before me that has given girls like me – not just girls in the music industry, but girls in society – a place to be inspired, to look up to, and that have allowed us to dream this big,” she said. “Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world.”

“Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world”

Artists of both sexes, including Ed Sheeran, Paloma Faith, Stormzy, Rito Ora, Sam Smith, Little Mix, Rag’n’Bone Man, Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne, Emma Bunton, Jess Glynne and Kylie Minogue, wore the roses on the red carpet (and Faith was later seen berating a confused Royal Blood for their conspicuously bare lapels, telling them, “You should be carrying these, in camaraderie with women”).

Also notable was the level of success for non-white artists, perhaps reflecting the greater number of “BAME” (black, Asian and minority-ethnic) members of the judging panel following 2016’s #BritsSoWhite debacle.

In a surprise result, black grime star Stormzy beat Ed Sheeran to the best British male and best British album awards (for Gangs Signs & Prayer), with Kosovar Albanian-origin Lipa the only other artist to pick up two gong. American rapper Kendrick Lamar, meanwhile – known for his politically charged lyrics dealing with black empowerment – took home the best international male prize.

A full list of winners is below:

British album of the year
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

British artist video
Harry Styles – ‘Sign of The Times’

British breakthrough
Dua Lipa

British female solo artist
Dua Lipa

British group
Gorillaz

British male solo artist
Stormzy

British single
Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Human’

International female solo artist
Lorde

International group
Foo Fighters

International male solo artist
Kendrick Lamar

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

£2.8m for UK acts under new Megs scheme

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) is to make available nearly £3 million to emerging British talent to export their brand internationally.

Under the Music Export Growth Scheme (Megs), relaunched in partnership with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), independent British music companies will be eligible for grants, ranging from £5,000 to £50,000, to help their acts break into overseas markets. The total fund stands at £2.8m.

The previous Megs, which ran from January 2014 to March 2016, saw more than £1.6m awarded to a number of now-household names, including Brits 2016 winners Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Mercury Prize-winning Young Fathers and London grime MCs Afrikan Boy and Ghetts.

“Megs will champion the incredible raw talent that we have to offer by giving the support and financial backing many artists need to take that next step”

International trade minister Mark Garnier says: “UK music has a long history of inspiring millions across the world and influencing generations of artists. We are the second biggest exporter of music in the world and one in every six albums sold globally belongs to a British act.

“From the Beatles to Skepta, British music is part of the very fabric of our nation and heritage. Our Music Export Growth Scheme will champion the incredible raw talent that we have to offer by giving the support and financial backing many artists need to take that next step.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.