Prize comparison: Key contests to watch at the Music Week Awards 2021

Prize comparison: Key contests to watch at the Music Week Awards 2021

The music industry is hugely competitive, which is perhaps why everyone loves the Music Week Awards.

After a Covid-induced break last year, the awards are back tonight (September 14) at Battersea Evolution, hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo. There are 25 categories voted for by peers (including three new ones) and, of course, The Strat for an industry icon. And it’s our biggest ever edition.

The industry will be together again to see who emerges triumphant across the dozens of categories at the ceremony. Each of those contests will be hard-fought - getting on the shortlist was clearly an achievement.

The big award for the recorded music sector is, of course, the Record Company category. Polydor actually did the double last year with both the Record Company and A&R awards. 

This year, Polydor will be aiming for a third consecutive victory in the Record Company category, but they face challenges from Sony Music (Black Butter, Columbia, Ministry Of Sound, RCA), Warner Music (Atlantic, Warner Records) and fellow Universal Music labels (Decca, EMI, Island).

Warner Records made a big splash last year with Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, managed by Tap Music’s Ben Mawson & Ed Millett, who are battling to retain their Manager Of The Year title. Look out for challengers to the crown, including Peter Loraine at Fascination Management (currently in a chart battle for No.1 with Steps); Allison Main & Polly Bhowmik of A&P Artist Management (Kylie Minogue); Michael Adex, Northern Quarterz Limited (Aitch); David Furnish & Rachael Paley, Rocket Entertainment (Elton John), Jada Pollock, Starboy Entertainment (Wizkid) and Amy Morgan, September Management (Glass Animals).

Publisher Of The Year is a five-way battle between holders Sony Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, UMPG, Downtown and Kobalt. 

Independent Publisher Of The Year was a new category in 2020, when Reservoir were victorious. This year, they’ll be able to attend in person to defend their title against the likes of Concord, Peermusic, Sentric, Warp, Wise Music Group and Young Songs.

In the Independent Record Company category, Partisan Records - who had big records with Idles and Fontaines DC last year - are back to try and retain their title. Their independent rivals release a range of music, including rock (Earache), dance (Defected) and indie (Modern Sky).

Atlantic’s Damian Christian has been dominant in the Promotions Team category, although he lost out last year to EMI. Can he reclaim the award in 2021?

BBC Radio 6 Music has been another dominant presence at the awards over the years, including victory in 2020. New head of station Samantha Moy accepted the award last year. Tonight, she will be in competition with fellow BBC networks Radio 1 (2019 winners) and Radio 2, as well as commercial stations Absolute, Capital Xtra, Kerrang! Radio, Kiss FM and Planet Rock.

The 2021 ceremony includes three new categories - Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Event/Series), Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Platform) and Talent Agency Of The Year.

Also look out for the return of the coveted Strat award, which was not presented last year.

Click here to see last year’s winners.

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 finalists for the 2021 Music Week Awards is below.

Accountancy Firm Of The Year


CC Young & Co

Gelfand Rennert And Feldman

Harris & Trotter LLP


MSE Business Management LLP

Thomas St John


Columbia Records

Island Records

Ministry Of Sound

Partisan Records

Polydor Records

Transgressive Records

Universal Music Publishing Group

Virgin Music UK (formerly Caroline International)

Warner Chappell Music UK

Warner Records


Artist Marketing Campaign 

AC/DC, Columbia Records

Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, Decca Records

Dua Lipa, Warner Records

Headie One, Relentless Records

Gorillaz, Parlophone

Joel Corry, Atlantic

Kylie Minogue, BMG

Little Mix, RCA

Rina Sawayama, Dirty Hit

Shygirl, Because Music

Yungblud, Polydor

Young T & Bugsey, Black Butter


Catalogue Marketing Campaign 

Bob Marley, UMC

Donna Summer, Demon Music Group

George Michael, Sony Music Commercial Group

Mariah Carey, Sony Music Commercial Group

Neil Diamond, EMI

Oasis, Big Brother/Ignition

Prince, Rhino

The Rolling Stones, Polydor Records

Shakin’ Stevens, BMG


Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene

Broadcast, Glasgow

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Clapham Grand, London

The Globe, Newcastle

The Mill, Bradford

The Sugarmill, Stoke

Trinity Centre, Bristol

Windmill Brixton, London


Independent Publisher Of The Year

Concord Music Publishing



Sentric Music Group

Warp Publishing

Wise Music Group

Young Songs


Independent Record Company

Because Music

Chess Club Records

Dead Oceans

Defected Records

Dirty Hit

Earache Records

Modern Sky UK

Partisan Records

Stones Throw Records

Transgressive Records


Independent Retailer

Banquet Records, Kingston

Crash Records, Leeds

Drift, Totnes

Eel Pie Records, Twickenham

Resident Music, Brighton

Wax And Beans, Bury


Label/Artist Services Company

Absolute Label Services



Cooking Vinyl


Ingrooves Music Group

Integral UK

The Orchard

Virgin Music Label & Artist Services (formerly Caroline International)


Law Firm Of The Year

Hamlins LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Irwin Mitchell LLP

Reed Smith LLP

Simons Muirhead & Burton

Van Straten Solicitors


Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Event/Series) - Special Award For 2021

1Xtra Live 2020, BBC Radio 1Xtra

Back To Mine, Sony Music – 4th Floor Creative Group

Defected Virtual Festival, Defected Records

Independent Venue Love Series, Frank Turner/Xtra Mile Recordings

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival

Homegrown, DHP Family

Prime Day Live, Amazon

Radio 2 Live At Home, BBC Radio 2

Tap Music livestreams (Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Dermot Kennedy), Tap Music

The Legacy Series: Fashion x Music, YouTube Music

The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Live Alive, Island Records/Mercury Studios/Magus Entertainment

United We Stream, Live Nation


Live Music Innovation Of The Year (Platform) - Special Award For 2021

Barclaycard Share The Stage





Liverpool Sound City

Music Glue


Manager Of The Year 

Moe Bah & Kilo Jalloh, 2K Management

Allison Main & Polly Bhowmik, A&P Artist Management

Peter Loraine, Fascination Management

Michael Adex, Northern Quarterz Limited

David Furnish & Rachael Paley, Rocket Entertainment

Jada Pollock, Starboy Entertainment

Amy Morgan, September Management

Ben Mawson & Ed Millett, Tap Music


Music & Brand Partnership

Ashnikko x Beats By Dre – Parlophone / WMX / Various Artist Management / Beats By Dre 

Koffee x H&M Holiday 2020 – Columbia Records UK / 4th Floor Creative / Levels

Leigh-Anne Pinnock/ASOS – RCA / 4th Floor Creative / Modest! Management

Lewis Capaldi x Samsung Galaxy S20 – Paradigm Agency / Universal Music / BMG / Samsung / Taylor Herring

Loyle Carner x Eric Cantona x FIFA 21 – Universal Music Globe / Spindle/ 160Over90 / EA Sports

Mabel x Kangol & H&M – Universal Music Globe / Metallic Management

Samm Henshaw x Samsung – BMG / Leland Music / Mother London / Kobalt / Warner Chappell / Jackie Davidson Management / AWAL

Take That x Compare The Market – YM&U Group / / IE Management / Compare The Market / Attachment London / VCCP / Exposure / Nordoff Robbins / Wavemaker


Music Consumer Innovation 

Amazon Music, x The 1975

Deezer, Country Selector

PIAS, Love Record Stores

Spotify, Notting Hill Carnival Sounds

TikTok, TikTok Music

Vampr Inc., Vampr


PR Campaign

Arlo Parks, All Stripes

Biffy Clyro, Warner Records UK (now APPR & MoKho PR)

Bring Me The Horizon, We Care A Lot PR

Dua Lipa, Satellite414

Gary Barlow, DawBell

Haim, Polydor

Hayley Williams, Atlantic Records

Headie One, Outside

KSI, Carver PR

Kylie Minogue, Murray Chalmers PR (MCPR)

Pa Salieu, August

Unknown T, Imran Malik Publicity


Promotions Team Of The Year

Atlantic Records

Columbia Records

Decca Records

EMI Records

Island Records

Listen Up

Plugged In PR

Polydor Records

RCA Records

Virgin Music UK (formerly Caroline International)

Warner Records

Your Army


Publisher Of The Year

Downtown Music UK

Kobalt Music Publishing

Sony Music Publishing

Universal Music Publishing Group

Warner Chappell Music


Radio Show

Capital Xtra Breakfast with Yinka and Shayna Marie, Capital Xtra

Capital Xtra - Homegrown with Robert Bruce, Capital Xtra

Clara Amfo, BBC Radio 1

Danny Howard, BBC Radio 1

Future Sounds With Annie Mac, BBC Radio 1

Introducing In Kent With Abbie McCarthy, BBC Radio Kent

Kerrang! Radio Breakfast Sophie K, Kerrang! Radio

Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio 6 Music

Steve Lamacq Show, BBC 6 Music

The Matt Wilkinson Show, Apple Music Radio

The Skin Show, Absolute Radio


Radio Station

Absolute Radio

BBC Radio 1

BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 6 Music

Capital Xtra

Kerrang! Radio


Planet Rock


Record Company

Atlantic Records

Black Butter

Columbia Records

Decca Records

EMI Records

Island Records

Ministry Of Sound

Polydor Records

RCA Records

Warner Records


Sales Team

[Integral] UK

Lasgo Chrysalis Ltd

Proper Music Group

Republic Of Music

Sony Music UK

The Orchard

Virgin Music UK (formerly Caroline International)

Warner Music UK


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)


Dreya Mac – Singin' In The Rain

Featured In: Burberry Festive

(Label: Dreya Mac / Twenty Below Music Ltd / Publisher: Sony Music Publishing / Agency: Burberry / Music Supervisor: Twenty Below Music)


Griff – Love Is A Compass

Featured In: Disney Christmas Advert 2020

(Label: Warner Music Group / Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group / Agency: Disney)


Kojey Radical – Time For A New Season

Featured In: Time For A New Season/BT Sport

(Label: Warner Music Group / Publisher: BMG / Agency: BT Sport / Music Supervisor: Pete Kelly)


Michael Kiwanuka – Light

Featured In: O2, You're Our Headline Act

(Label: Polydor/Universal Music Globe / Publisher: Kobalt Publishing/Warner Chappell Music UK / Agency: VCCP / Music Supervisor: Mr Pape)


Ray BLK – Warrior

Featured In: Rocks

(Label: Island/Universal Music Globe / Publisher: BMG / Director: Sarah Gavron / Music Supervisor: Thinksync)


Roots Manuva – Witness (1 Hope)

Featured In: Ikea, The Hare

(Label: Ninja Tune / Publisher: BMG / Agency: Mother / Music Supervisor: Theodore Music)


Ry X – Berlin

Featured In: Normal People

(Label: Magnus Bohman Holding AB under exclusive license to Infectious Music Ltd / Publisher: BMG / Agency: Silverstream)


Stevie Nicks – Edge Of Seventeen

Featured In: The Crown

(Label: Warner Records/ Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing / Agency: Netflix / Music Supervisor: Sarah Bridge)


Stormzy – Rainfall

Featured In: Ubisoft Partnership - Watch Dogs: Legion, Official Music Video

(Label: Atlantic Records / Publisher: Warner Chappell Music UK / Agency: Ubisoft )


The Who – Baba O’Riley

Featured In: PlayStation The Edge

(Label: Universal / Publisher: Fabulous Music Ltd / Agency: Adam&Eve DDB / Music Supervisor: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe)


Tom Odell – Another Love

Featured In: Marie Curie

(Label: Sony Music/Columbia / Publisher: Warner Chappell Music UK / Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi)


Sync Team Of The Year

Beggars Group Media


BT Sport Music

Kobalt Music Publishing

Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Music Publishing

Universal Music Publishing Group

Universal Music Records (Globe)

Warner Chappell Music UK

Warner Music UK


Talent Agency Of The Year – Special Award For 2021


MBA Live

Primary Talent International, an ICM Partners Company




The Strat

The Strat is bestowed upon a deserving winner by the Music Week team.


author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

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