The Aria Awards – Australia’s most prestigious music awards show – will go gender neutral in November, eliminating the industry’s top men’s and top women’s awards.
Instead, a Top Artist award will be introduced and the number of nominees will increase from five to 10.
Australian Recording Industry Association chief executive Annabelle Herd said the change would better reflect equality and diversity in the music industry and give artists the opportunity to be recognized on an equal platform. .
“The days of separating artists into gendered categories that completely exclude non-binary artists are over,” she said in a statement.
“The music industry demands a more equal, inclusive, safe and supportive space for all and Aria works hard to achieve this through the Aria Awards and everything we do.”
In March, non-binary British singer Sam Smith called out the Brit Awards on social media, claiming that the gender-specific categories of the top British music awards systematically exclude artists who do not identify as either male or female.
“For me, music has always been about unification, not division,” Smith said on Twitter.
“I look forward to a time when awards shows can reflect the society we live in. Let’s celebrate everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, sexuality and class.”
The Grammys have been gender-neutral since 2012, and according to an analysis by Statista, since 2013 about 45% of Grammy nominees for Best New Artist have been women.
But the industry’s longstanding gender imbalances remain unchanged: when it comes to record of the year and album of the year, for example, more than 90 percent of Grammy nominees are male; and over 70% of Song of the Year nominees were performed by male artists.
For the second consecutive year, the Arias will be digital only, in partnership with YouTube, due to Covid-19. Association chair Natalie Waller, who took over from Denis Handlin after his controversial departure from Sony Music Australia in June, said the board made the decision to go digital after considering health public and uncertainties about what restrictions may still be in place. in November.
“It is vital for us that the event takes place in one form or another, to celebrate the determination, the resilience and the achievements within the music community during this very difficult time,” she said.