The Australian music industry has been incredibly hard hit over the course of the pandemic, facing venue closures, postponed or cancelled tours and the inability to travel overseas to increase their exposure.
With vaccination rates rising and a roadmap in place for the country to make lockdowns a thing of the past, things will hopefully turn around for the industry very soon. In the meantime, they can mark November 24, 2021, in their diaries as a date to look forward to with the announcement of the ARIA Awards.
ARIA has announced that this year, the music awards have partnered with YouTube Music and will go ahead as a digital show, streamed live on YouTube.
ARIA chief executive, Annabelle Herd said, “Even though it has been another huge year for Australian music, unfortunately, we are still living through a pandemic. As much as we wish it were different, it is just not possible to come together for an in-person event.
“Having said that, COVID will not stop us from recognising the outstanding achievements of ARIA Award nominees in 2021 and spotlighting the strength and resilience of our amazing local music industry. Even after an extremely difficult year, nothing can keep this industry down, and we hope to capture and pay homage to that spirit through the premium digital show that we have planned for this unique year.”
That “unique year” is one that has seen 74 Australian releases landing in the top ten on the ARIA Albums Chart and 12 Aussie albums reaching the number one spot — definitely a cause for celebration.
Another cause for celebration is the significant change the award show has made to its categories, with the organisation also announcing that the ARIA Award for Best Artist will officially replace the categories of Best Female Artist and Best Male Artist.
The move has been made in order to ensure that the ARIA Awards “reflect and embrace equality and the true diversity of the music industry in 2021” while also making certain that all artists can be recognised for their work across an even playing field. The category will now include 10 nominees instead of five.
“The time for separating artists based on gendered categories that exclude non-binary artists altogether has passed,” said Herd. “The music industry is demanding a more equal, inclusive, safe and supportive space for everyone and ARIA is working hard to achieve that across the ARIA Awards and everything we do.
“While the removal of gender-based categories is a significant change we are proud of, I recognise it is just one step in the continuous journey of reassessment, progression and ultimately evolution that we are committed to undertake. We’re determined to make the future of the ARIA Awards and the future of Australian music as bright as it can be.”
The 2021 ARIA Awards Nominations will be presented as a YouTube Premiere in October, and the actual awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 24.