Regardless of whether you love the music or not, one thing most people can agree on is that a great musical performance is something to behold. So it’s no surprise that music awards shows are filled with impressive performances from today’s biggest stars. The Grammys is the granddaddy of them all, but there are plenty of other music awards shows that have their own unique flair and style.
The most prestigious of the lot, the Grammys are presented by the Recording Academy and give out prizes to recording industry professionals. The academy is made up of thousands of industry members, including previous year winners and nominees, who vote on categories and determine the winners.
Although there are many categories, the most coveted prize is Album of the Year which goes to the creators of an entire album. Song of the Year awards the songwriters of one particular song and Best New Artist gives the nod to new artists. These are the main categories that get a lot of attention, but there are other smaller ones like Producer of the Year and Best Engineered Album that can also add up to big wins.
While the Grammys are seen as a pinnacle in the music world, they have had their fair share of controversy. Since the genre-based awards first began in 1959, there have been some awkward moments. For example, in the 1978 Grammy Awards, rock and rap were only just being recognized by the Academy and Best New Artist winner Debby Boone’s music career hardly inspired confidence that this award was truly based on quality.
In recent years, the Grammys have been tweaking their categories to reflect changes in music and market trends. For instance, in 2011 NARAS radically restructured the awards, cutting the number of categories from 109 down to 78. In the process, they consolidated categories for Hawaiian music, Native American music and Zydeco into a single category for Regional Roots Music. This move has been controversial, as it has been argued that it reduces the importance of certain types of music.
The BRITs, or BRITS, are the British equivalent of the Grammys and are awarded to British musicians. They have their own history of controversies, such as Jarvis Cocker creating a commotion during Michael Jackson’s performance in 1996.
This year the BRITS partnered with Spotify for a program called ‘Fans First’, which will bring fans up close to their favorite artists in global locations and at sold-out concerts around the world. They were able to identify the most loyal fans by studying their metrics, then they gave them access to these shows through special tickets.
This year saw a handful of standout winners at the BRITS, including R&B star SZA who took home four awards for her breakout record SOS, Nigerian rapper Burna Boy picking up the award for top African artist and girl group NewJeans winning top K-pop act. In addition to these prestigious winners, other notable awards went to rapper Drake for top breakthrough artist and Drake and Migos for top hip hop artist.