Music News

BRITs Scraps Female & Male Categories, Introduces Public Vote Awards

The BRIT Awards with Mastercard will return for its 42nd show on February 8 2022, and will introduce changes to the awards format, including replacing female and male categories, introducing four new public-voted genre awards, new BRITs host Mo Gilligan, and a new set creative from Block9.

Under the leadership of a new Chair, Polydor co-president Tom March, each aspect of the 2022 show has been closely looked at in collaboration with The BRITs Committee, with digital and new technology again playing a central role in order to engage with fans through every step of the campaign.

The BRITs have confirmed that for the 2022 show they will move away from the female and male categories, and will launch new awards for Artist of the Year and International Artist of the Year, celebrating artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them - as part of The BRITs’ commitment to evolving the show to be as inclusive and as relevant as possible.

In 2021, the male and female categories were British Male Solo Artist, British Female Solo Artist, International Male Solo Artist and International Female Solo Artist.

“It is important that The BRITs continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible,” commented March.

“It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender. I'm really excited to launch four new genre awards, which create even more opportunities for artists to be acknowledged for the brilliant music they create and produce, and give music fans the chance to get involved and vote to support their artists and help them to win a BRIT.

“The 2022 show is shaping up really well, Mo is going to be an excellent host and I am thankful to him along with Clara and Maya for being part of this year's BRITs."

Music fans will get to play an even bigger part in The BRITs 2022, with the introduction of four new genre awards, all of which will go to public vote to decide upon each category winner.

The new awards will be: Alternative/Rock Act, Hip-Hop/Grime/Rap Act, Dance Act and Pop/R’n’B Act.

These awards are to showcase the range of music styles that have produced some of the UK’s best loved artists, and demonstrate the diverse cultural melting pot that British music is known for.

In further recognition of the array of artists contributing to the last 12 months in music, and their role shaping the soundtrack and musical beat of the UK, The BRITs in 2022 will include featured artists in Song of the Year with Mastercard as nominees; previously only the lead artists or named collaborators have been counted.

The full category list for 2022 will be as follows:

Artist of the Year with YouTube Music

Group of the Year

BRITs Rising Star supported by BBC Radio 1

Best New Artist

Song of the Year with Mastercard

Mastercard Album of the Year

International Artist of the Year

International Group of the Year

Alternative/Rock Act

Pop/R&B Act

Dance Act

Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act

The main eligibility window for the above categories (bar Rising Star), and all awards as decided upon by The BRITs Voting Academy, runs from January 1 to December 9 2021.

The BRITs in 2022 will also celebrate the Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, honorary awards that are decided upon by the BRITs Committee.

Mo Gilligan has been confirmed as a 2022 BRITs host, with Clara Amfo and Maya Jama set to take on presenting duties for ‘The BRITs Are Coming’ Nominations show and BRITs Red Carpet show.

“It’s an absolute privilege to host the 2022 BRIT Awards,” said Gilligan. “I’m truly honoured to be asked. We’re already in the extensive planning stages and all I can say is, I promise we’re going to give it all we’ve got to create an incredible night for music fans everywhere. Let’s go!”

Amfo and Jama will announce the 2022 nominations as part of a primetime ITV broadcast, and will bring all of the news from the celebrity arrivals as part of the 2022 BRITs Red Carpet show on ITV2 and ITV Hub on the night of the awards.

“It is such an honour and pleasure to be part of The BRITs presenting team for 2022,” commented Amfo. “The spirit of celebration from the artists to the viewers is really special and I’m so excited for everyone to see more memories being made on the red carpet and stage in February!”

“I am so excited to be back on presenting duties for the BRITs 2022!” added Jama. “I remember watching the show growing up and still can’t quite believe I get to be a part of it. ‘The BRITs Are Coming’ TV special on ITV has always been one of my favourite shows, it’s such a big celebration, everyone is on top form and I love seeing so many of my favourite people within the music industry come together for such an incredible night.”

The BRITs Voting Academy is made up of approximately 1,200 music industry experts across media, artists, labels, publishers, promoters, retailers and more, and is refreshed annually to ensure the voters are as diverse and representative as possible.

“The BRIT Awards are not just a celebration of British music, they are a reflection of British culture,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI and BRIT Awards. “The changes we are making for the 2022 show should mean more new fans, more engagement and a bigger global platform than ever for our amazing artists.”

“One of the things we all love most about The BRIT Awards is that they always stay in tune with the times, remaining relevant to both the artists and our audience,” commented MJ Olaore, chief operating Officer BPI.

The annual BRITs Rising Star award will continue to identify the future stars of British music, having previously helped launch the careers of some of the biggest UK artists such as Adele, Sam Smith, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Sam Fender, Celeste and last year’s winner, Griff.

The award is open to British artists who, as of October 31 2021, have not yet achieved an Official Album Charts Top 20 placing or achieved more than one Top 20 chart placing in the Official Singles Chart.

Voting is open now until November 26 to an invited panel of music editors and critics from the national press, online music editors, heads of music at major radio and music TV stations plus songwriters, producers and live bookers.

This year's digital music partner is YouTube Music. Audiences around the world will be able to watch the whole journey of the BRITs unfold, from the nominations, through the run-up, to the awards themselves and the performances on demand afterwards.

For the first time, fans will also be able to watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on the night on YouTube Shorts, a new short-form video experience right on YouTube, as well as listening to their favourite artists' playlists on YouTube Music.

“We are proud to be the official digital music partner for what will go down as a seminal year in BRITs history,” said Dan Chalmers, director of YouTube Music, EMEA.

“Today's fans are hungry to enjoy music in different ways - live-streaming, playlists, short form video - with Shorts, the newest addition to the platform, we will take The BRITs to the next level. Celebrating the best of British talent is what we do day in, day out at YouTube and we're thrilled to partner for the new category for Artist of the Year.”

Mastercard continues its long-time partnership with the BRITs, 2022 marking its 24th year as partner.

The BRITs will continue to be exclusively broadcast on ITV for the 29th year in 2022, continuing to present a TV broadcast for the main show along with its sister programming on ITV2. The O2 arena will once again host the BRITs going into its 12th year.

“We’re hugely excited to be welcoming The BRIT Awards back to ITV screens in 2022,’ said Katie Rawcliffe, ITV head of entertainment commissioning. “Mo has already proved really popular amongst ITV audiences since joining The Masked Singer and we look forward to this new era for the awards with Mo, Maya and Clara at the helm.”

A makeover of the show creative will come courtesy of Block9, the team behind this year’s Glastonbury - Live at Worthy Farm, the AR live stream - ‘Gorillaz: Song Machine, Live From Kong’, Banksy’s Dismaland and NYC Downlow, the nightlife institution seen annually at Glastonbury.

Further campaign announcements will be unveiled in the coming months.