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Important Update for the Aotearoa Music Awards

Published Friday 31 March 2023

Update from Recorded Music NZ:

2022 review of the Aotearoa Music Awards

Last year we made the tough decision to pause our annual awards show to give us time to review and reflect on the awards and their purpose. Instead of our traditional large-scale show, we hosted an intimate awards event honouring the 2022 Tūī finalists and winners.

It was important to us to hear from artists what the awards mean for them, so we reached out to artists and the wider music community via an online survey and a series of interviews. We heard from over 350 people, the majority of whom were artists or artist managers.

The message from the community was clear: the Aotearoa Music Awards is seen as essential. People told us that:

  • The awards are seen as aspirational for emerging artists.
  • Winning an award, being a finalist, and having the opportunity to perform live all bring tangible promotional benefits for artists that can raise their profile and contribute to commercial success.
  • The event itself serves to bring the community together to acknowledge, recognise and validate the work of recording artists doing their mahi in an increasingly complex and challenging environment.

We heard widespread support for our 2020 rebrand to Aotearoa Music Awards, and its reflection of the place, the people, the artists, the music, the fans and the overall mana of making music here in Aotearoa. We also heard the importance of the awards reflecting Māori as tangata whenua, as well as the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and the provision of a safe and respectful environment for all participants in the awards.

We also received important feedback that we need to address, including concerns about the judging process, a lack of understanding or clarity about the criteria for judging each of the awards and questions about the make-up and diversity of the judging academies.

With respect to the event itself, unsurprisingly we heard a wide range of views. We heard that artists want to feel a sense of community when attending the event, and many people acknowledged the tension between the in-room experience and the fundamental purpose of the awards to serve as a platform for artists to reach fans & media and to drive engagement with music from Aotearoa. .

Our plans for 2023/24

While we know that we can’t please everyone, we acknowledge what we’ve heard through the review and will be making some changes. We have moved the event to a new time of year and have started work to:

  • Look into each of the current award categories including a review of the criteria, how they are communicated and whether they are still reflective of our modern industry.
  • Take steps to ensure that voting/judging academies are gender balanced with suitable Māori and diverse representation.
  • Assess the judging process – making sure both the way of voting and the weighting system is robust, based on best practice and communicated well to those involved.
  • Look at the overall awards event format with a focus on creating a great live in-room experience and celebrating our diverse music community, while still providing artists with unique promotional opportunities and ways to connect with fans , including by enabling content creation and facilitating and enhancing audience reach via social and digital platforms, as well as traditional media.
  • Further develop collaborative industry, commercial, media and digital platform partnerships with the shared purpose to support and celebrate our music community and to help drive audience reach and engagement with music and artists from Aotearoa.

This work will take some time and as a result the next Aotearoa Music Awards event will take place in the first half of 2024, with a launch event in November 2023. This will mean a 17 month eligibility period and a new timeline for the awards, with nominations opening in November 2023.

Further event details will be announced at a later date. Please stay tuned and keep an eye on Recorded Music NZ and the Aotearoa Music Awards social pages for further updates.

In the meantime, we always welcome your views and feedback. You can either contact Sarah Owen personally, or submit feedback via [email protected]