Universal Music U.K. CEO/chairman and BRIT Awards committee chairman David Joseph has made some big changes to the awards ceremony.

The move to London's O2 Arena, which was confirmed in September, signaled that the ceremony organized by trade body the BPI would be going in a new direction. There have been comparisons to the more serious approach of the Grammys, although the BRITs will only have 12 award categories.

There is a cosmetic change to the trophy itself - a new bespoke BRIT statue styled by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and redesigned by Manchester design collective, Music - as well as a new focus on the best British album for the ceremony.

The big award at the end of the ceremony on Feb. 15, 2011 - screened live on ITV1 - will be the MasterCard British Album Of The Year Award. On the night, each of the five nominated albums will be showcased via short films. The award for the single of the year is supported by listeners of Capital Radio and users of iTunes.

The outstanding contribution award, which involved British music legends performing at the close of the show, has been dropped although it could return at future BRIT Awards.

In a statement, the BRIT Awards Committee said it has been "closely reviewing every aspect of the show" and that the changes "will make it like no other in the award show's history, ensuring that it remains the ultimate celebration of creative and diverse musical talent."

In another change, the 2011 BRITs Voting Academy will include artists for the first time alongside the regular voters (music critics, radio producers, music publishers, promoters, record companies, retailers and student representatives). All of 2010's winners and nominees will get to vote.

"Considering that artists are the single most valuable part of our industry, inviting them to join the Voting Academy is an obvious step to make," said Joseph in a statement. "For an artist to know that their work is also appreciated and respected by other artists will add another unique dimension to winning a BRIT Award."

The nominations for the BRIT Awards 2011 with MasterCard will be unveiled Jan. 13. The 2010 broadcast was sold to more than 40 international territories; the 30th anniversary edition featured performances from Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Dizzee Rascal with Florence & The Machine, Lily Allen, Alicia Keys, Kasabian, Cheryl Cole, JLS and Robbie Williams.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print