10 Years of the BRITs Critics' Choice: Tom March on the impact of an 'iconic' award

10 Years of the BRITs Critics' Choice: Tom March on the impact of an 'iconic' award

Today’s the day – the BRIT Awards 2018 ceremony is upon us.

As the industry dons its glad rags and prepares to descend on the o2 Arena, why not pause for a moment to reflect on BRITs gone by? 

All this week, Music Week is running exclusive content around the show. We’re also celebrating the 10th birthday of the Critics’ Choice Award, with a feature in the new edition of the magazine telling its story with contributions from past winners and executives. Already, Ellie Goulding has told the story of what it really feels like to win from an artist’s perspective, while Capitol co-president Nick Raphael revealed the meticulous planning behind Sam Smith’s 2013 win.

Here, Polydor co-president Tom March (pictured above, right) – a veteran with three wins under his belt, whose acts Mabel and Stefflon Don were Critics' Choice nominees this year – opens up about what the award means to the industry and analyses how it has changed since 2008.

How do you reflect on your BRITs Critics’ Choice experience?

It’s massively helpful for everyone internationally. If you win it, or are nominated it’s a great thing to send out around the world, it really carries weight globally. The crucial thing with the acts I’ve won it with is that they were all ready. They were the big tip going into the year, we had our music ready, they were already on the ascent. We had such great momentum, we knew we had the singles and the records; it’s part of the snowball of the campaign. It was like an acknowledgement of an artist that was definitely going to do well; it wasn’t picking someone out of the blue. It was, ‘This artist is already doing well and is going to break’. It’s not left to guesswork or opinion, it’s because the people voting for it are really feeling it.

So, it’s something the business should be proud of?

We can break artists that couldn’t come from any other country, when you look back at those winners and nominees, no other country creates artists like these, they are very distinctly British artists, which is definitely something we can be proud of. The stamp of the BRITs is so iconic, it’s up there with a Grammy in terms of what it means internationally. All our big international acts want to win the BRITS. For us to give our talent a platform to break around the world should be cherished and is something we’ve got to continue to do.

How has the Award changed in 10 years?

In the past, you really needed media to help tell the public which acts are going to break, whereas now the public are telling us. They’re telling us which artists they’re excited by, this year they were telling us they were really excited by Jorja Smith, Mabel and Stefflon Don. They’re selling tickets and having hit records already, we know they’re going to be successful. They’re already breaking. Maybe it’s slightly easier to tell nowadays who’s going to break, because the public are already more engaged with them than they were. We [the industry] are going to anoint them and give them a leg up.

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