Everything you want to know about the workings of the Voting Academy
One of the most frequently-asked questions is: Who chooses the Nominees? There was at one time a myth that some secret panel met in a smoke-filled room to draw up an arbitrary list. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. The BRIT Awards operates a completely transparent procedure, adhering to a strict list of rules – all under the scrutiny of the ERS (Electoral Reform Services). And it all starts with the most simple eligibility test which is that a single or album must have been released during the specified eligibility period.
This is where the Official Charts Company (OCC) start their part of the process by compiling the list of the albums that were released in the eligibility period. There are hundreds – 510 albums to be exact. For singles, the analysis starts with the top 1,000 selling singles. And over a period of about six months, Chris Austin at OCC meticulously evaluates each one to ensure they are eligible for inclusion in the list of potential nominees. This requires a combination of data management, fact-checking and music industry knowledge, and it is quite apparent that Chris thoroughly enjoys the task. “Well, I love music, obviously, and this is a fascinating aspect to be involved in,” says Chris. Once he has completed all his checks, OCC submit the final list to the BRIT Awards team who are responsible for the voting procedure.
The Voting Academy is made up of over 1,000 music enthusiasts representing every sector of the music industry: record labels, publishers, managers, agents, media, NUS Ents officers and, introduced last year, the nominated artists or Award winners from the previous year. The list of eligible artists, albums and singles is made available to the Academy members via a secure online Voting Academy website where they will select their top five choices in each category, and this will result in the short-list of nominees. Two categories in which the short list is drawn up slightly differently are British Single where the top ten singles are based on commercial radio airplay and sales , and Critic’s Choice which is voted for by a panel of music critics. But the BRIT Awards inclusive approach also allows the general public to make their views count as they get a chance to vote for one of the awards.