Q Awards 2019

I’m still reeling from the news that Q Magazine is no longer with us, but it seems a fair assumption that the Q Awards probably won’t happen again any time soon. Tickets are still on sale for the event on 14th October 2020, at an eye-watering £999 per person, so let’s hope I’m wrong about that, but either way, I never got around to summarising last Autumn’s Q Awards ceremony, so let’s jump onto it now.

The 2019 event took place at N on N, and were presented by Nadine Shah.

Q Best Breakthrough Act Presented by Red Stripe

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Gerry Cinnamon
  • Easy Life
  • Sam Fender
  • Fontaines DC
  • Little Simz
  • Pale Waves
  • Rosalía
  • Self Esteem
  • Slowthai
  • AJ Tracey
  • Working Men’s Club

Winner: Pale Waves

Q Best Track Presented by Absolute Radio

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
  • FKA Twigs – Cellophane
  • JARV IS – Must I Evolve
  • Lizzo – Juice
  • Róisín Murphy – Incapable
  • The 1975 – People
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

Q Best Album

Nominees:

  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
  • Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • Fat White Family – Serfs Up
  • Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1)
  • Little Simz – Grey Area
  • The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
  • Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive
  • Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
  • Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Winner: Foals

Q Best Live Performance Presented by The Cavern Club

Nominees:

  • The Courteeners – Heaton Park
  • Doves – TCT at Royal Albert Hall
  • Florence & The Machine – BST Hyde Park
  • Ariana Grande – The O2
  • Michael Kiwanuka – End of the Road
  • The 1975 – Reading Festival
  • Stormzy – Glastonbury
  • The Streets – Brixton Academy
  • The Strokes – All Points East
  • Neil Young & Bob Dylan – BST Hyde Park

Winner: Michael Kiwanuka

Q Best Solo Act

Nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Loyle Carner
  • Dave
  • Billie Eilish
  • Liam Gallagher
  • Aldous Harding
  • Kano
  • Stormzy
  • Kate Tempest
  • Florence Welch

Winner: Stormzy

Q Best Act In The World Today Presented by Rocksteady Music School

Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Florence And The Machine
  • Liam Gallagher
  • The 1975
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Stormzy

Winner: The 1975

Q Best Festival/Event

Nominees:

  • All Points East
  • British Summer Time
  • Glastonbury
  • Isle of Wight Festival
  • Latitude
  • Reading and Leeds Festival

Winner: All Points East

Q Innovation In Sound

Winner: Dizzie Rascal

Q Classic Album

Winner: Tricky, for Maxinquaye

Q Maverick Presented by The Roundhouse

Winner: Edwyn Collins

Fender Play Award

Winner: Anna Calvi

Q Outstanding Contribution To Music

Winner: Kano

Q Classic Songwriter

Winner: Kevin Rowland

Q Inspiration

Winner: Madness

Q Icon Presented by Raymond Weil

Winner: Christine and the Queens

Q Hero

Winner: Kim Gordon

Q Song Of The Decade

Winner: Lana Del Rey, for Video Games

Q Best Vocal Performance

Winner: Little Simz

BRIT Awards 2020

The 2020 BRIT Awards were hosted by Jack Whitehall, sadly without his dad in tow, and took place at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday night (February 18th). Here are the winners of those new-fangled award categories.

British Album of the Year

Presented by Billie Eilish and Finneas. The nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line
  • Stormzy – Heavy is the Head

Winner: Dave

Song of the Year

The award formerly known as Best British Single was presented by the rubbery Tom Jones. Nominated were:

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location
  • Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Giant
  • Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
  • Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
  • Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
  • Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing with a Stranger
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Tom Walker – Just You and I

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by the also-rubbery Ronnie Wood. The nominees:

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Stormzy
  • Harry Styles

Winner: Stormzy

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Ellie Goulding and Jorja Smith. The nominees were:

  • Charli XCX
  • FKA Twigs
  • Mabel
  • Mahalia
  • Freya Ridings

Winner: Mabel

British Group

Presented by an unnecessary large group consisting of Anne-Marie, Courtney Love, and Hailee Steinfeld. Nominees:

  • Bastille
  • Bring Me the Horizon
  • Coldplay
  • D-Block Europe
  • Foals

Winner: Foals

Best New Artist

The now-elderly Best British Newcomer and subsequently Best British Breakthrough Act award was presented by Clara Amfo and Niall Horan. Nominees:

  • Aitch
  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Sam Fender
  • Mabel

Winner: Lewis Capaldi

International Male Solo Artist

Improbably presented by Kiefer Sutherland and Paloma Faith, with the following nominees:

  • Burna Boy
  • Dermot Kennedy
  • Post Malone
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tyler, the Creator

Winner: Tyler, the Creator

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Melanie C. Nominated were:

  • Camila Cabello
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lizzo

Winner: Billie Eilish

Rising Star Award

This one used to be the Critics’ Choice Award. Nominated were:

  • Beabadoobee
  • Celeste
  • Joy Crookes

Winner: Celeste

British Producer of the Year

Winner: Fred Again

So that’s it for another year!

BRIT Awards 2020 – Nominations

Well, someone has been meddling with the categories this year, but the BRIT Awards nominations are finally among us!

British Album of the Year

  • Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
  • Dave – Psychodrama
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
  • Harry Styles – Fine Line
  • Stormzy – Heavy is the Head

Song of the Year

That’s the award formerly known as Best British Single.

  • Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
  • Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location
  • Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Giant
  • Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
  • Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like a Heart
  • Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
  • Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing with a Stranger
  • Stormzy – Vossi Bop
  • AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
  • Tom Walker – Just You and I

British Male Solo Artist

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Stormzy
  • Harry Styles

British Female Solo Artist

  • Charli XCX
  • FKA Twigs
  • Mabel
  • Mahalia
  • Freya Ridings

British Group

  • Bastille
  • Bring Me the Horizon
  • Coldplay
  • D-Block Europe
  • Foals

Best New Artist

This one used to be called Best British Newcomer, and then became Best British Breakthrough Act.

  • Aitch
  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Dave
  • Sam Fender
  • Mabel

International Male Solo Artist

  • Burna Boy
  • Dermot Kennedy
  • Post Malone
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tyler, the Creator

International Female Solo Artist

  • Camila Cabello
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Billie Eilish
  • Ariana Grande
  • Lizzo

Rising Star Award

This one used to be the Critics’ Choice Award. The new name makes sense, to some degree. The fact that they tell us who’s going to win ahead of time does not.

  • Beabadoobee
  • Celeste
  • Joy Crookes

Winner: Celeste, which I’m sure will upset Daphne. Ooh, stick you.

History of the UK Charts – The Digital Age

Younger readers may not fully realise the pain that the global music industry went through at the turn of the millennium. The physical format – for singles, at least – died within a couple of years, and after some initial misguided action, legalising the now-ubiquitous download was essential. By 2004, physical sales were already outstripped by downloads, and so the chart needed to reflect this.

Downloads

An initial test download chart was finally compiled in July 2004, combining  legal sales of downloads from various online stores. This was first published as an official chart on 1st September 2004, with Westlife stealing the top spot with a rush-released live version of Flying Without Wings.

A few months later, on April 2005, downloads were incorporated into the main singles chart, although they had to also be available physically in order to make the charts. From March 2006, they were allowed to chart the week before their physical release, famously enabling Gnarls Barkley‘s Crazy to hit the top spot based on downloads alone. Similar rules caused the same track and also Nelly Furtado‘s Maneater to hang around the lower reaches of the chart for months, clocking up nearly a year on the charts between them.

Finally from January 2007, the physical requirement was removed altogether, enabling both tracks to re-enter the chart. Various unexpected reissues followed over the coming months, including live appearance, adverts, and online campaigns such as Rage Against the Machine‘s 2009 victory over TV series The X Factor, which saw Killing in the Name become Christmas number one, with more than half a million tracks sold.

Adding downloads to the album chart took a little longer, with the Official Album Downloads chart launching and downloads counting to the main chart simultaneously on 15th April 2006. For a few years, legal downloads ruled the roost on the official UK charts.

But this period was short-lived – UK download sales peaked in 2013 at 32 million, dropping to a fraction of that number within just a few years. In its place instead came something much simpler, and more lightweight, bringing with it significantly reduced revenues for artists.

Streaming

The Official Charts Company’s first experiments with charting streaming started with the Subscription Plays Chart, launched in September 2008, which was joined by the Streaming Chart – later replaced by the Audio Streaming Chart – in July 2014.

The same week in 2014 saw the introduction of streaming on the main singles chart, and things changed forever. A hugely successful artist could suddenly dominate the entire chart with the release of one album, as Ed Sheeran demonstrated in March 2017 when he claimed nine of the top ten singles (and sixteen of the top twenty) the week that his third album Divide was released. Rules were subsequently added to limit the number of tracks by a single artist to three.

Streams were added to the album chart in March 2015, with some slightly confusing rules to prevent albums from suddenly jumping up the charts based solely on the plays from one or two popular tracks. The impact of streaming on the album chart seems to have been less noticeable than the singles so far, which can perhaps be attributed to the additional rules.

Most recently, June 2018 saw a separation of paid streaming and free streaming, whereby subscribers of streaming services count as six times as many plays as free users. As part of this change, the UK charts also added plays from streaming video services such as YouTube, in recognition that many listeners are now getting their music from other places.

The Scottish Digital Age

Curiously, downloads were added much later to the Scottish charts, and at the time of writing, streaming still hasn’t made it on, so the Scottish charts are much more similar to the UK Sales charts than they are to the main UK charts. Downloads finally joined physical sales on the charts north of the border in October 2009, not long after The Stone Roses had managed a string of top three hits with reissued physical early singles.

For the UK as a whole, the Physical Singles and Physical Albums charts remain, with shockingly low sales figures. Lewis Capaldi hit the top spot on the singles in February this year with Grace, despite selling fewer than 200 copies. Two weeks later, Westlife got to number ten with just 19 copies sold. Some weeks, just 10 copies can get you a Top 40 placing. The Singles Sales and Albums Sales charts also continue, largely mirroring the Scottish charts.

Ultimately, whether or not you see the inclusion of streaming on the charts as a good thing is really up to you – it does enable you to see what the most popular songs are at any given time, but there does seem to be a schism between music buyers and music streamers, and you have to wonder whether the former might be more representative of music lovers than the latter?

Either way, the charts move slowly these days, and various draconian rules have been added to try to speed them up – which is ironic, given how quickly the charts have had to adapt to keep up in the last couple of decades.

Next time: in the final post in this series, we’ll sweep up all the remaining pieces, and speculate on what might happen next.

This post owes a lot to the following sources which weren’t directly credited above:

BRIT Awards 2019

Well, after a particularly dull set of nominees, the 2019 BRITs turned out to be somewhat interesting after all. The 39th edition of the ceremony took place last week on 20th February at the O2 Arena in London, where they were hosted again by Jack Whitehall.

Mastercard British Album of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
  • George Ezra – Staying at Tamara’s
  • Florence + The Machine – High as Hope
  • The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
  • Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

Winner: The 1975

Famously, UKTV Play accidentally played an advert for “double award winners” The 1975 before the event had actually started, replacing it later with the correct “nominees” advert – as BBC News said:

It’s not clear whether the band had been made aware of what their marketing department knew – but it shone an awkward spotlight on every tearful “this is so unexpected” speech we’ve seen this awards season.

BBC News

Which is about as exciting as things got, so, as is sometimes the case, the biggest drama of the night didn’t actually take place on stage.

Oh, and let’s all agree to overlook the fact that the same article also rather stupidly takes the opportunity to wonder why so little overseas talent made it to this event which is supposed to celebrate the strength of British music (err… what are the awards called, again?)

British Single of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – 2002
  • Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – Solo
  • Dua Lipa – IDGAF
  • George Ezra – Shotgun
  • Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
  • Ramz – Barking
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days
  • Sigala and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
  • Tom Walker – Leave a Light On

Winner: Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa

British Video of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – 2002
  • Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – Solo
  • Dua Lipa – IDGAF
  • Jax Jones feat. Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
  • Jonas Blue feat. Jack & Jack – Rise
  • Liam Payne and Rita Ora – For You
  • Little Mix feat. Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
  • Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days

Winner: Little Mix feat. Nicki Minaj

British Male Solo Artist in association with YouTube Music

  • Aphex Twin
  • Craig David
  • George Ezra
  • Giggs
  • Sam Smith

Winner: George Ezra

British Female Solo Artist in association with YouTube Music

  • Lily Allen
  • Anne-Marie
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jess Glynne
  • Jorja Smith

Winner: Jorja Smith

British Group

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Gorillaz
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Years and Years

Winner: The 1975

British Breakthrough Act

  • Idles
  • Mabel
  • Ella Mai
  • Jorja Smith
  • Tom Walker

Winner: Tom Walker

International Male Solo Artist

  • Drake
  • Eminem
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Travis Scott
  • Kamasi Washington

Winner: Drake

International Female Solo Artist

  • Camila Cabello
  • Cardi B
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Ariana Grande
  • Janelle Monáe

Winner: Ariana Grande

International Group

  • Brockhampton
  • The Carters
  • Chic
  • First Aid Kit
  • Twenty One Pilots

Winner: The Carters

Critics’ Choice Award

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Sam Fender
  • Mahalia

Winner: Sam Fender

British Producer of the Year

Winner: Calvin Harris

Global Success Award

Winner: Ed Sheeran

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Winner: Pink

Great to see this award back at last, but Pink, of all people? Really?

Performances

This year’s performances were as follows:

  • Hugh Jackman – The Greatest Show
  • George Ezra & Hot 8 Brass Band – Shotgun
  • Little Mix & Ms Banks – Woman Like Me
  • Jorja Smith – Don’t Watch Me Cry
  • Calvin Harris, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Sam Smith & Dua Lipa – Giant, Promises & One Kiss
  • Jess Glynne & H.E.R. – Thursday
  • The 1975 – Sincerity is Scary
  • Pink & Dan Smith – Walk Me Home, Just Like Fire, Just Give Me a Reason, Try, and What About Us

Further Reading

BRIT Awards 2019 – Nominations

Here are the not-remotely-dull nominees for the 2019 BRITs:

Mastercard British Album of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
  • George Ezra – Staying at Tamara’s
  • Florence + The Machine – High as Hope
  • The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
  • Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

British Single of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – 2002
  • Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – Solo
  • Dua Lipa – IDGAF
  • George Ezra – Shotgun
  • Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
  • Ramz – Barking
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days
  • Sigala and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
  • Tom Walker – Leave a Light On

British Video of the Year

  • Anne-Marie – 2002
  • Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – Solo
  • Dua Lipa – IDGAF
  • Jax Jones feat. Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
  • Jonas Blue feat. Jack & Jack – Rise
  • Liam Payne and Rita Ora – For You
  • Little Mix feat. Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
  • Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days

British Male Solo Artist in association with YouTube Music

  • Aphex Twin
  • Craig David
  • George Ezra
  • Giggs
  • Sam Smith

Nice to see Aphex Twin on that list. Craig David is, as always, completely inexplicable.

British Female Solo Artist in association with YouTube Music

  • Lily Allen
  • Anne-Marie
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jess Glynne
  • Jorja Smith

British Group

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Gorillaz
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Years and Years

British Breakthrough Act

  • Idles
  • Mabel
  • Ella Mai
  • Jorja Smith
  • Tom Walker

International Male Solo Artist

  • Drake
  • Eminem
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Travis Scott
  • Kamasi Washington

International Female Solo Artist

  • Camila Cabello
  • Cardi B
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Ariana Grande
  • Janelle Monáe

International Group

  • Brockhampton
  • The Carters
  • Chic
  • First Aid Kit
  • Twenty One Pilots

Critics’ Choice Award

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Sam Fender
  • Mahalia

Thanks to the BRIT Awards’ completely inexplicable policy of announcing that award a couple of months early every year, we already know that Sam Fender will be the winner of that category.

The rest of the winners will be announced on 20th February.