The Brit Awards have joined the growing trend to dispense with separate categories for male and female artists.
When the 42nd Brit Awards are presented on Feb. 8, 2022, they will present artist of the year with YouTube Music, whereas this year they had separate female (Dua Lipa) and male (J Hus) winners. They will also present international artist of the year, whereas this year they had separate female (Billie Eilish) and male (The Weeknd) winners.
Tom March, the Brits’ new chair and co-president of Polydor Records, said in a statement: “It is important that the Brits continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible. It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender.”
The Grammys dispensed with separate male and female categories as part of a sweeping overhaul of the awards in 2011. The ARIA Awards in Australia followed suit this year.
The Brits also announced four new genre categories, all of which will go to public vote to determine the winner. These new awards are alternative/rock act, hip-hop/grime/rap act, dance act and pop/R’n’B act.
About this change, March said, “I’m really excited to launch four new genre awards, which create even more opportunities for artists to be acknowledged for the brilliant music they create and produce, and give music fans the chance to get involved and vote to support their artists and help them to win a Brit.”
In another change, the Brits will include featured artists in song of the year with Mastercard as nominees; previously only the lead artists or named collaborators have been counted.
Mo Gilligan will host the 2022 Brits, which are formally called the Brit Awards with Mastercard. He succeeds Jack Whitehall, who hosted the last four years.
Clara Amfo and Maya Jama will assume presenting duties on The Brits Are Coming nominations show in December. They will also handle celebrity arrivals as part of the 2022 Brits red carpet show on ITV2 and ITV Hub on the night of the awards.
The annual Brits rising star award is open to British artists who, as of Oct. 31, have not yet cracked the top 20 on the Official U.K. Album Chart or achieved more than one top 20 hit in the Official U.K. Singles Chart. Voting is open now until Nov. 26 to an invited panel of music editors and critics from the national press, online music editors, heads of music at major radio and music TV stations plus songwriters, producers and live bookers.
The eligibility window for all categories (except rising star) runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 9, 2021. The Brits voting academy is made up of approximately 1,200 music industry pros across media, artists, labels, publishers, promoters, retailers and more.
The Brits will also celebrate producer of the year and songwriter of the year, honorary awards that are decided upon by the Brits committee.
The Brits will maintain long-standing partnerships with Mastercard, ITV and AEG (The O2 arena). This is the 24th year Mastercard has sponsored the Brits, the 29th year the Brits will be exclusively broadcast on ITV and the 12th year the show will be held at The O2 Arena.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI and Brit Awards, said in a statement: “The Brit Awards are not just a celebration of British music, they are a reflection of British culture. The changes we are making for the 2022 show should mean more new fans, more engagement and a bigger global platform than ever for our amazing artists.”
Here is the full list of categories for the 2022 Brit Awards. Consolidated categories are marked with an asterisk. New genre categories are marked with a double asterisk.
Artist of the year with YouTube Music *
Group of the year
BRITs rising star supported by BBC Radio 1
Best new artist
Song of the year with Mastercard
Mastercard album of the year
International artist of the year *
International group of the year
Alternative/rock act **
Pop/R&B Act **
Dance Act **
Hip hop/rap/grime act **