As expected for a ceremony that received a record-breaking number of entries, it celebrated the cream of the crop in the world of labels, publishing, live, retail, A&R, radio, marketing and PR.
Yes, a lot of booze was consumed, but even more talking points emerged. Here, we run down the six key talking points of the night…
1. MAX-IMUM IMPACT
As with last year – and every other Music Week Awards for that matter – the biggest accolade of the night came courtesy of The Strat: an award that recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution to the music business. And this year that honour fell to none other than Warner Music Group CEO of recorded music, Max Lousada. Introduced by special guest Dua Lipa, his big moment started with a video that spanned his rise from South London to becoming one of the most powerful people in the biz, including tributes from Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Chris Martin, Plan B, Jess Glynne and Royal Blood. In a speech that very much felt like a state of the union address, Lousada acknowledged the music industry’s collective responsibility to ensure that it becomes more diverse and inclusive.
“That’s the only way we’ll raise up a new crop of music lovers, risk takers and troublemakers,” said Lousada. “People who’ll take music in revolutionary directions we can’t even imagine.”
2. THE 6 SENSE
After triumphantly hosting the awards for the first time last year – something she recently told Music Week was “a baptism of fire” – Lauren Laverne returned to host the 2018 ceremony. And she did it in style. Funny and charmingly irreverent, she broke down the past year in the music biz and even gave Ed Sheeran some tips on the name of his next album. Our favourite pick: /. She may not have won the Best Radio Show Award – scooped by former Music Week cover star Annie Mac – but in every other sense of the word, Lauren Laverne was a winner.
3. LOST STARS
For all the deserved celebrating on the night, two awards culminated in poignant tributes. When Sony Music Commercial Group’s team took home the award for Catalogue Marketing Campaign, head of marketing Joanna Kalli saluted the late George Michael, saying, "This project turned into a celebration of an incredible artist. The biggest honour has to go to George, so thank you George." Later, Guy Moot from Sony/ATV Music Publishing dedicated their Publisher Of The Year award to the memory of Avicii, saying, "He was one of our great songwriters. A great loss." Perhaps the biggest rounds of applause on the night belonged to them.
Record company of the year is (drum roll please...) @AtlanticRcrdsUK! Ben Cook: “last year was a landmark year. I guess the charts will never be the same again” #MusicWeekAwards pic.twitter.com/PQs9vU5ig4— Music Week (@MusicWeek) April 26, 2018
4. AT-IT-AGAIN-LANTIC RECORDS
When it comes to competition, the fight for Record Company Of The Year is intense as it gets. Last year, it was Syco Music who emerged victorious, but this year – and with The Sheeran Factor in full force this awards' season – the accolade fell to Atlantic. Once the team stormed the stage, Atlantic UK president Ben Cook declared, "What makes us tick is what's next". Where the BRITs and the Grammys snubbed Sheeran, the world's biggest star was clearly at the heart of a host of Music Week Awards this year.
Best Agent is Coda’s Alex Hardee: “I’ve been doing this 20 years and last year someone said the stupidest thing I’d ever heard - how often does Music Week come out?” #MusicWeekAwards pic.twitter.com/qE9gBGlMaH— Music Week (@MusicWeek) April 26, 2018
5. HARDEE HA HA
When it came to speech of the night, there was only one winner: Coda’s Alex Hardee stoke the show. A worthy winner of Best Live Agent after a sterling year repping a roster that includes Liam Gallagher and Rag’N’Bone Man, Hardee did not waste a second of his time in the spotlight. His celebratory jig en route to the stage hinted that something special was in store and Hardee did not disappoint. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and the stupidest thing anyone’s said to me was about a year ago,” he began. “An agent came up to me and said, ‘How often does Music Week come out?’” Referencing Coda’s US owners, he added. “People ask me why I take an instant dislike to Americans,” he said. “I say, because it saves time’.” Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran’s agent Jon Ollier paid a heartfelt tribute to Stuart Camp (who is currently out of action while recovering from eye surgery) when accepting the Manager Of The Year award on this behalf. Who knew agents gave such great speeches?
6. THAT'S ALL FOLKS
Arguably, the night’s biggest surprise saw Warner Bros end stablemate Atlantic’s nine-year grip on the promotions team crown. “The only problem is no one’s been prepared for this apart from Damian,” said WB’s Jane Arthy, referring to Atlantic promotions director Damian Christian. Christian took the turn of events in good spirit, tweeting: “Congratulations to Jane, Tom, Patrick and all the team for winning our award! We are only lending it out! Congratulations and fair play.”
You can read the full list of Music Week Awards 2018 winnners here.