Six things to watch at the Music Week Awards 2018

Music Week Awards

As Leona Lewis once sang: One more sleep. Yes, it’s Music Week Awards Eve and the entire music business is abuzz with dreams of glory at the industry’s biggest and best night out on Thursday April 26.

Down at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the stage is set. The champagne is on ice at aftershow party venue Tape. Returning hostess-with-the-mostest Lauren Laverne is fine-tuning her bon mots and pithy one-liners. And this year’s crop of finalists – already pretty damn chuffed after making it through from a record-breaking crop of entries – are pondering their chances of ending the night as the toast of the entire industry.

Countless careers have been made off the back of a big MWAs win – and this year’s awards will also have a record-breaking, sell-out crowd listening to those victorious speeches. But what will people be debating at the bar afterwards? There are all sorts of points of intrigue and interest, including the winner of this year’s Strat Award and whether Atlantic Records can scoop the Promotions Team gong for an unprecedented 10th year in a row. But, here, Music Week selects the night’s potential big talking points…

LaLa’s stand

Lauren Laverne’s opening address last year was the stuff of Music Week Awards legend, as she regaled the crowd with tales of her life in the biz, as both artist and radio/TV presenter. What will she have up her sleeve this time? Make sure you’re seated for the start of the awards to find out…

Going back to our Grassroots

Last year’s inaugural Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene award was a smash hit, bringing a storming speech from winning venue The Brudenell Social Club’s GM Nathan Clark, and successfully shining the spotlight on the small venues that are the lifeblood of every local scene. The award returns this year, again in association with the Music Venue Trust, with another set of deserving candidates: London’s 100 Club, Guildford’s The Boileroom, Glasgow’s Broadcast, Cardiff’s Club Ifor Bach, Southampton’s The Joiners, Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms and Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club. But this is the only award of the night where who exactly picks up the gong is not the be-all and end-all: these guys are all winners.

Marketing watch

Pity the poor Music Week servers, groaning under the sheer weight of this year’s record number of applications. And none more so than in this always hotly-contested category: Artist Marketing Campaign. The music biz’s return to growth has clearly boosted the dark arts of marketing: a staggering volume of entries was equalled by an incredibly high-standard, with the judging day a whirlwind of impressive strategies, innovative ideas and massive results. With Ball & Boe, Big Shaq, Lana Del Rey, Paloma Faith, Gorillaz, J Hus, The Killers, Rag’N’Bone Man, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Stormzy and Wolf Alice all involved, this one is too close to call – and yet a call will have to be made…

Managing nicely

Another sector that is positively overflowing with talent, this year’s Manager Of The Year category is stuffed with heavyweight contenders. Last year, All On Red’s Jamie Oborne (The 1975) came out of leftfield to triumph; this time around, the 10-strong field includes management teams who work on the likes of J Hus, Ed Sheeran, Rag’N’Bone Man, Liam Gallagher, Skepta, Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Wolf Alice, Clean Bandit and Wiley. So whoever wins, the soundtrack should be pretty decent…

Radio stars

Streaming may think it killed the radio star, but the nominees for this year’s Radio Show award show that’s anything but the case. An intriguing mix of experienced jocks and fresh faces, all eight finalists – including our awards host – have earned respect with their old school willingness to champion artists, whatever the data might say. Who will be the winner? The nation’s radio listeners, ultimately…

Record breakers

Always one of the most hotly-contested awards of the night, this year’s Record Company Of The Year contest is off the charts. Which, ironically, is the one thing none of the six contenders have been lately: Atlantic, Columbia, Polydor, reigning champs Syco, Virgin EMI and Warner Bros all delivered blockbusting years. Who is the best? There’s only one way to settle this… With detailed applications and a specialist judging panel. Phew!

For everything else you need to know about this year’s Music Week Awards, click here. To read Lauren Laverne's Aftershow interview, see this week's print editiion of Music Week, or click here.

For the full list of this year's finalists, click here. And, if you can’t beg, steal or borrow a ticket for this landmark event, stay tuned to musicweek.com and our social media channels throughout the night for updates.

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