Friday, 13 January 2012

In Defence Of...The Brit Awards 2012

Yesterday the nominations for the 2012 Brit Awards were announced. As with any other Brit Awards the critics were soon out in force, the main subjects of attack being the prince (or maybe king) of what journalist Peter Robinson has dubbed ‘The New Boring’, Ed Sheeran. Sheeran picked up the most nominations (4) for best male British solo artist, British breakthrough act, British single and British album of the year. Jessie J was second in the firing line, particularly as she was nominated for British female and the critics’ darling PJ Harvey wasn’t. Such criticism is rather like dissing marmite – it’s usually about taste and a pretty pointless argument, as  everyone  99% of people think their taste is the best. It takes a brave person an idiot (us) to admit that some of their taste is somewhat dubious. 

Interestingly very few people have laid into Adele – maybe acknowledging that irrespective of her huge commercial success Adele deserves to be there on artistic merit.

And there’s the point. The Brits are fundamentally about acknowledging commercial success and championing that success to the rest of the world. It’s a case of rewarding those who have done well with more media exposure and therefore  UK sales and then to say ‘hey rest of the world look at these acts, they sold well here, so maybe you’ll like them too?’ It’s why the Brits very rarely come with any surprises in the nominations. They’re not the bloody Mercury Prize.

This is one of arguments against the Brits - that the awards don’t really reward ‘the best’, just the artists that sell well. Yet ‘the best’ is highly subjective. So here’s one (highly subjective) attempt to quantify one definition of ‘the best’ in terms of a wider audience. It is quite simply this.


You may laugh at this argument and suggest that ‘but everyone knows that large sales don’t necessarily mean the best’, but that’s only from your perspective. Taking the public at large and gaining a consensus of what is ‘the best’ can only be done in a means that is quantifiable. Record sales are one such method. So although the record industry votes for most of the awards (a small number are voted for by the public), if they’ve voted on this basis then they are accurately representing what the biggest % of the record buying public of Great Britain thinks. Just because you don’t agree (and certainly in the case of Jessie J we don’t – she tricked us into thinking she was going to be good with the first single before revealing her true crimes against music as time went on) it doesn’t make the Brits wrong.

So if you’re one of the critics of the Brits calm down. Not everyone thinks like you and you’re no more right than anyone else. Nor are we. If we were right The Unthanks would be best British band and album and Nicola Roberts would win at least one award. We’re off for a marmite sandwich and a listen to Finley Quaye, winner of Best British Male in 1998. Remember him?

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