The Music Week Awards returned to Battersea Evolution for the first time since 2019 to celebrate the achievements of the music industry.
After the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic last year (although awards were still presented), the ceremony was back for its biggest ever edition.
BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, newly installed as the station’s Future Sounds presenter, hosted the awards in front of an audience of industry professionals including Warner Music UK CEO Tony Harlow, EMI president Rebecca Allen, RCA president David Dollimore, Ministry Of Sound president Dipesh Parmar, Warner Music EVP Darcus Beese, Warner Records president Joe Kentish, PRS For Music CEO Andrea C Martin and PPL CEO Peter Leathem.
The ceremony was also attended by artists, songwriters and broadcasters including Carla Marie Williams, Frank Turner, Baxter Dury, Camille Purcell, Trevor Nelson, Abbie McCarthy and Sophie K.
This year’s awards reflect achievements during 2020 - a hugely challenging year for the industry. The categories were judged by industry peers.
Polydor Records made it three straight wins in the coveted Record Company category.
"This is the only time of the year that Tom [March] actually lets me say anything," joked Polydor co-president Ben Mortimer in his acceptance speech. "It goes without saying that I've got to thank all of the artists we work with, all of the managers, all of the partners in the room, we know so many of you here who do such a brilliant job. Thank you David and his team for always backing us, supporting us, and thank you Music Week. But the people I really want to thank are the people on this stage and the other 50 or so that we couldn't afford to bring tonight! You were all incredible, my deepest thanks to all of you."
The Universal Music label faced tough competition, but came through following a stellar 2020 including a record-breaking run of No.1 albums.
In the A&R category, Warner Records triumphed in recognition of the label’s huge success with Dua Lipa as well as breakthrough artists Griff and Pa Salieu. Former A&R boss Joe Kentish is now the president of the label, which was headed up by Phil Christie until earlier this year.
Universal Music Publishing Group emerged triumphant following a five-way battle in the Publisher category. MD Mike McCormack collected the trophy.
"We're a publishing company that invests in people and invests in young - and sometimes old - talent, but always in talent," said McCormack. "It's so good to be back in a room with so many people I love."
The Strat, the special honour for an industry icon, was awarded to MOBO founder and CEO Kanya King in the 25th anniversary year of the MOBO awards. The audience at the ceremony gave King a standing ovation.
The Strat was presented to Kanya King by former MOBO winner Craig David, following a special film which documented King’s journey and featured tributes from artists and execs including Darcus Beese, Ray BLK, Jazzie B, Tinie, Max Lousada, Jason Iley and David Joseph.
"Tonight I am being recognised for my contribution to music, however my work is not over…" King told the audience. "The next chapter is about MOBOLISE, born out of the spirit of MOBO with jobs at its heart and the world of opportunities at its fingertips. We have begun the fight to fill the gaps in representation. Our purpose is to permanently change the racial imbalance in the workplace and business by accelerating and advancing black professionals and entrepreneurs and galvanising trailblazing organisations that are committed to systemic change as well as bringing like-minded people rising together with one goal; to unite, empower and uplift. This is a network of excellence and I hope that allies in this room will join us in the trenches as we prepare to make a difference."
Tap Music were double winners at the ceremony. Ben Mawson and Ed Millett retained their Manager Of The Year title, as well as winning the new category for Live Music Innovation (Event/Series) in recognition of their livestream success with Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and Dermot Kennedy. For their second award, Ben Mawson and Ed Millett brought their mothers out on stage to share the victory.
There were two other new categories on the night, including Talent Agency Of The Year (won by UTA) and Live Music Innovation (Platform), in which LiveNow triumphed following big livestream hits from Dua Lipa and Gorillaz.
Sony Music’s Black Butter triumphed in the Artist Marketing award for their impactful campaign for Young T & Bugsey, who cracked the US charts. Sony Music's 4th Floor Creative took the Sync Team title and the Music & Brand Partnership award (with Columbia) for Koffee & H&M.
Atlantic’s Damian Christian won back the Promotions Team trophy - a category the label has dominated over recent years, but not in 2020. Delighted to be winning again, Christian gave an expletive-laden acceptance speech.
Virgin Music Label & Artist services (previously Caroline International) won for Label/Artist Services Company. Colin Batsa, who works as a consultant on campaigns for acts including D-Block Europe, (read his Music Week feature here) collected the award along with MD Vanessa Higgins and GM Guillermo Ramos.
There were some key battles in the independent sector, which saw Partisan maintain their grip on the Independent Record Company category, while Concord Music Publishing took the Independent Publisher trophy - a new category introduced in 2020. PIAS’ distribution and services arm Integral won the Sales Team category.
TikTok retained the Music Consumer Innovation award for TikTok Music. Paul Hourican, head of UK music operations, acknowledged the live sector in the room as he collected the award. Earlier, Banquet's Jon Tolley enthused about TikTok as he collected the Independent Retailer trophy.
In the broadcast categories, BBC Radio 2 took the Station Of The Year title - a big result for head of station Helen Thomas, who was promoted last year. She was joined on stage by presenter Trevor Nelson.
Clara Amfo, our awards host, won for Radio Show.
Sponsors for this year's awards are: ERA, Music Venue Trust, Hentons, Official Charts Company, PPL, PRS For Music, Audoo, Wise Music Group, Radio Monitor, MQA, Kiss and Music Box. The BRIT Trust is this year’s charity partner.
The full list of winners for the 2021 Music Week Awards is below.
Accountancy Firm Of The Year
CC Young & Co
Artist Marketing Campaign
Young T & Bugsey, Black Butter
Catalogue Marketing Campaign
Bob Marley, UMC
Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Independent Publisher Of The Year
Concord Music Publishing
Independent Record Company
Banquet Records, Kingston
Label/Artist Services Company
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services (formerly Caroline International)
Law Firm Of The Year
Reed Smith LLP
Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Event/Series) - Special Award For 2021
Tap Music livestreams (Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Dermot Kennedy), Tap Music
Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Platform) - Special Award For 2021
Manager Of The Year
Ben Mawson & Ed Millett, Tap Music
Music & Brand Partnership
Koffee x H&M Holiday 2020 – Columbia Records UK / 4th Floor Creative / Levels
Music Consumer Innovation
TikTok, TikTok Music
Headie One, Outside
Promotions Team Of The Year
Publisher Of The Year
Universal Music Publishing Group
Clara Amfo, BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 2
Sync Of The Year
Celeste – A Little Love
Featured In: John Lewis Christmas Campaign
(Label: Polydor/Universal Music Globe / Publisher: Warner Chappell Music UK/Reservoir / Agency: Adam&Eve DDB / Music Supervisor: Leland Music)
Sync Team Of The Year
Sony Music 4th Floor Creative
Talent Agency Of The Year – Special Award For 2021
PHOTO: Paul Harries