History and Criteria

The Music Victoria Awards

The Music Victoria Awards (previously known as The Age Music Victoria Awards) are an annual Awards program celebrating Victorian music.

Music Victoria acknowledges the rich contributions made by people from a variety of backgrounds to the Victorian contemporary music scene. These Awards are our chance to capture, celebrate and reward the great music that has been made here in the past year.
We aim to have a diverse group of people acknowledged as part of these awards and as such, we strongly encourage applications by First Nations people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Deaf and Disabled people, and people from the LGBTIQA+ community.

The Awards consist of:
– The Music Victoria Industry Awards (for Venues, Festivals, Producers and Outstanding Woman in Music categories)
– The Music Victoria Awards (all other categories – for music makers)

Submissions for the 2021 Music Victoria Awards open on 1 July 2021.

The Industry Awards categories are:
Outstanding Woman in Music Award (as voted by the Music Victoria Board)
Best Producer Award
Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (under 50 gigs per year)
Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (over 50 gigs per year)
Best Venue (under 500 capacity)
Best Venue (over 500 capacity)
Best Festival

Members can self-nominate for the Industry Awards categories. An industry panel decides the nominees and the winner.

 

The Music Victoria Awards categories are:

Industry voted categories
Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent (First Peoples nominees only)
Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award (Deaf and Disabled nominees only)
Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act
Best Blues Act
Best Country Act
Best Electronic Act
Best Experimental or Avant-Garde Act
Best Folk Act
Best Heavy Act
Best Hip Hop Act
Best Intercultural (previously Global) Act
Best Jazz Act
Best Pop Act
Best Reggae and Dancehall Act
Best Rock/Punk Act
Best Soul, Funk, R’n’B or Gospel Act

Members can self-nominate for these Industry voted categories. An industry panel decides the nominees and the winner.
Artists can only be nominated in 1 genre category (if they self-nominate – the category they have chosen takes precedence over a judge’s nomination of them in another genre)

 

Publicly voted categories
Best Album
Best Group
Best Song
Best Solo Artist
Best Musician
Best Breakthrough Act
Best Live Act

Members cannot self-nominate for the Publicly voted categories, an industry panel decides the nominees, but the public vote on the winners.

 

Music Victoria Hall of Fame
Inductions to the Hall of Fame are voted on by an experienced and diverse cross-section of key industry figures including former inductees and chairs for each of the genre panels for the Music Victoria Awards.

Members cannot self-nominate for the Hall of Fame category.

 

Eligibility Criteria

– At least 50% of the act has been living in Victoria for the last two years, or uses Melbourne as a home base. If you are performing under a solo artist name, you must reside in Victoria to be eligible (residency of backing band is not considered).
– Created or produced multiple recordings (ie: songs, works, pieces) released between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
– Ran a music festival or active music venue in Victoria between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
For the Music Victoria Awards 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Best Venue, Festival and Best Live Act categories include live streaming activity from Victorian venues, festivals and artists in the eligible time period.

More specific criteria per category can be found below.

 

How are the nominees decided?

Nominees for The Music Victoria Awards are chosen via an extensive selection process.

For the publicly voted categories:
An Awards committee from Music Victoria select a panel of 30+ industry judges from radio, music blogs, print media, record stores, festivals and more to submit a long list of up to 10 nominations in each category. These lists are then collated into a large voting survey and it is distributed again to judges to vote.

If a judge has a conflict of interest with one of the nominations they will raise this conflict with the Awards committee and the panel will use their discretion to make a decision.

The top five from these results are then selected as the nominees for public vote.  Of course, nominations will always be competitive and in the event of a tie, the Awards committee may do a countback, refer to the criteria and will ultimately have the final decision.

We do not accept self-nominations for the public-voted categories and you do not need to be a member to be nominated in these categories.

For the industry-voted categories:
Each year, we open submissions for the industry-voted categories (venue, festival, producer categories as well as all genre and community categories for artists and releases). Submissions are only open to Music Victoria members. Members can self-nominate or nominate their fave Victorian releases, acts, producers, venues and festivals of the year.
During the submissions open period, each judge can also add one other act, venue, festival or producer they think should be considered for their category. Once submissions close, the judges vote on the longlist.
They are then given a shortlist of the top 15 from the longlist voting to vote on in more detail before they have a listening and in-person final voting session to determine the winner and runners-up.

For the Hall of Fame inductions:
This award celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to Victorian music and the cultural fabric of the state, and is voted on by our Hall of Fame voting academy. The Hall of Fame voting academy is made up of an experienced and diverse cross-section of key industry figures including former inductees, and chairs for each of the genre panels for the Music Victoria Awards.

Gender and Diversity Quotas for long lists 

Music Victoria is committed to supporting, promoting and celebrating diversity in music.

Panel judges must endeavor to create a longlist of nominees including:
– at least 40% women
– First Nations artists
– Artists from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
– Deaf and disabled artists
– Trans and gender diverse artists

 

The History and Evolution of the Awards

Patrick Donovan started the Awards in 2005 to celebrate The Age Entertainment Guide’s 21st anniversary at the Prince Bandroom. He ran them for six years as The Age EG Music Awards before leaving The Age.

Mary Mihelakos ran them for two years, moving them to Billboard in the city, and in 2013, the Age and Music Victoria entered a joint venture partnership to form The Age Music Victoria Awards. In 2014 Belinda Collins from The Social Crew came on board as the event producer.

In 2015 – its tenth year, The Age Music Victoria awards celebrated the milestone with two big events.
In 2018, the awards event moved to Melbourne Recital Centre, with Laura Imbruglia becoming producer of the event, and a range of new changes introduced. This was the final year of the partnership with The Age.
In 2019 and beyond, the awards continue as The Music Victoria Awards.

 

Industry Voted Awards

In 2013 The Age and Music Victoria launched the Industry Voted Awards (Previously known as the Genre Awards).

These awards celebrate music from specific genres, sectors and communities that may get overlooked in the public voted awards.

Categories represented are:
Blues, Country, Soul, Funk, R’n’B, Gospel, Jazz, Hip Hop, Electronic, Heavy, Pop, Rock/Punk, Best Intercultural (previously Global) Act, Reggae and Dancehall, Folk, Experimental and Avant Garde, Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent (First Peoples nominees only), Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award (Deaf and Disabled nominees only), Producer, Outstanding Woman in Music, plus the Regional, Venue and Festival categories.

For a list of previous winners and nominees please click here.

 

The Music Victoria Industry Awards

In 2020, we introduced the Music Victoria Industry Awards to award seven of the 21 industry-voted awards (the non-musician categories), reveal our Hall of Fame inductees, and announce all remaining nominees for both the industry-voted and publicly-voted categories.

The seven Industry Awards handed out at this event are the Outstanding Woman in Music Award (as voted by the Music Victoria Board), Best Producer Award, as well as Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (under 50 gigs per year), Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (over 50 gigs per year), Best Venue (under 500 capacity), Best Venue (over 500 capacity) and Best Festival.

The Industry Awards event will continue in 2021 and beyond, providing members and industry a chance to tune in live as we announce all nominees for the remaining awards and officially open up the online voting for the seven public-voted awards for Best Album, Best Band, Best Song, Best Solo Artist, Best Musician, Best Breakthrough Act, and Best Live Act.

Eligible time period

The Music Victoria Awards 2021 is awarding:
– musical works/recordings released between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
– Victorian venues hosting contemporary live music between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021
– Victorian music festivals staged between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021

For the Music Victoria Awards 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Best Venue, Festival and Best Live Act categories include live streaming activity from Victorian venues, festivals and artists in the eligible time period.

What are the Prizes?

A Music Victoria Award nomination results in increased promotion, recognition and attention on your music, career, venue or festival. This recognition can translate to audience growth and increased record or ticket sales.
All winners of the Music Victoria Awards and Music Victoria Industry Awards receive a trophy, and some categories also come with a prize for the winner.

2021 prizes include:
Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act – $3,000 cash (Sponsor: Bendigo Bank)
Best Regional/Outer Suburban Venue (under 50 gigs/yr) – $3,000 cash (Sponsor: Bendigo Bank)
Best Regional/Outer Suburban Venue (over 50 gigs/yr) – $3,000 cash  (Sponsor: Bendigo Bank)
Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent – $3,000 cash (Sponsor: Archie Roach Foundation) and a rehearsal package (Sponsor: Bakehouse)
Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award – $3,000 cash (Sponsor: Arts Access Victoria) and a rehearsal package (Sponsor: Bakehouse)
Outstanding Woman in Music – $3,500 cash (Sponsor: City Of Melbourne)
Best Venue (over 500 cap) –  free tinnies (Sponsor: Brick Lane Brewing)
Best Venue (under 500 cap) –  free tinnies (Sponsor: Brick Lane Brewing)
Best Producer – $2,000 cash + a Music Market co-work package (Sponsor: VMDO) + $1,000 voucher to spend on Yamaha gear (Sponsor: Yamaha)
Best Festival – free festival mgmt software (Sponsor: loadin.com)
Best Breakthrough Act –  $1,000 value of custom-made merch (Sponsor: Sound Merch) and a rehearsal package (Sponsor: Bakehouse)
Best Musician- $1,000 voucher to spend on Yamaha gear (Sponsor: Yamaha)
Best Band – $2,000 voucher to spend on Yamaha gear (Sponsor: Yamaha)
Best Solo Artist – $1,000 voucher to spend on Yamaha gear (Sponsor: Yamaha)

Keep an eye on this list as it may grow over the coming months.

What is ‘Victorian’?

The majority of the band (at least 50%) producing the music must be current permanent residents of Victoria (and have lived in Victoria for at least the last two years). The band’s / artist’s music must be available for sale in Victoria and the band / artist must perform in Victoria regularly.
If the act is performing under a solo artist name, the 50% rule does not apply to members of their backing band. The lead performer must reside in Victoria (and have done so for at least two years) to be eligible.
If an artist or producer has moved away recently, they are eligible as long as they were living in Victoria for 2 years immediately prior to and during the making of their submitted music/live activity.

What is ‘Best’?

Depending on the category and in the opinion of the judges, the nominee who shows the most excellence in contemporary music in the eligible time period. Factors considered include but are not limited to – connection with audience; volume and quality of shows; live appeal; innovation and Victorian spirit.

What’s an ‘Album’?

As a guide but not a definition – an album would be generally accepted to have at least nine tracks, or 33 minutes in length, and a minimum requirement that a track includes at least 20 seconds of music. We understand that artists define whether their release is an album or ep, and some genres are more likely to have short songs and therefore; albums that fall short of 33 minutes in length.
Live albums and cover albums are also eligible. 

What's an 'Act'?

An act may include a solo artist that performs under their own name or a pseudonym, or it may be a band. A band is comprised of two or more people – a group of musicians who play music together both on stage and in the studio and are known as a collective.

What’s a ‘Song’?

A song is a short musical composition of words and music. Instrumental songs are also eligible to be nominated.

What’s a ‘Group’?

A group is comprised of two or more people – a group of musicians who play music together both on stage and in the studio as a collective under a band, group or collective name.

Best Musician

‘Best Musician’ may include an artist that performs as part of a band or as a solo artist, and who makes an extraordinary and significant contribution to that act. Nominees will show outstanding skill, creativity and musiciality evidenced in recorded material and/or live performance.

Best Solo Artist

‘Best Solo Artist’ may include an artist that performs under their own name or a pseudonym. This category does not include lead singers of bands unless they’re being nominated for a separate and current solo career (i.e. they release music and play shows under their own name or solo pseudonym). If you are performing under a solo artist name, you must reside in Victoria to be eligible (residency of backing band is not considered).

Best Breakthrough Act

‘Best Breakthrough Act’ (previously known as Best Emerging Act) may include an artist who has released multiple singles, an EP or debut album, but cannot include an artist who has released more than one album. Artists cannot be nominated twice for ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ (or Best Emerging Act as it was previously known). Factors considered include but are not limited to –  connection with audience and live appeal; quality and size of shows; quality of releases; current buzz; innovation; and Victorian spirit. 

Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent

On behalf of the Foundation, I am proud to sponsor this Award. This Award is intended to provide public recognition and financial support for outstanding First Nations artists who are in the early stages of their musical journey.” – Archie Roach.


What is ‘Emerging’?

Emerging’ describes an act, (solo or group) in the early stages of their musical career, who have demonstrated – professionalism, outstanding quality & talent and achieved a breakthrough in public recognition & critical acclaim, as evidenced by their body of work.

Factors considered include but are not limited to –

* Outstanding song writing/storytelling & musicality, and performance reflected in music provided with submission
* Evidence of public and industry success of releases (eg: physical sales, radio plays incl. community radio, digital downloads/streams eg. Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube
* Current Buzz – broadcast, print, digital and social media activity
* Audience development and live appeal (quality, number and size of shows)

Eligibility Notes

  • Act must have been active in the past 12 months (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021) – this can include rehearsing, performing (live or online), writing, collaborating and/or releasing music.
  • Acts must provide audio of at least 1 song – it can be a home recording, demo, live performance or previously released single.
  • Solo musicians must reside in Victoria (residency of backing band is not considered). At least 50% of the group/band must have been living in Victoria for the last two years or use Victoria as a home base. Solo musicians must identify as a First Nations person. Groups/bands must be First Nations-led (with creative control).
  • You must be a paid Music Victoria Member – First Nations musicians can become a paid Essentials member for free with the code “friends” here).
  • Acts can be nominated multiple times over the years for this award, but cannot be renominated if they have previously won.
  • Recipients of the former Indigenous award are ineligible to win this award.
  • Employees of Music Victoria and, by association, VMDO are not eligible.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Contact details
  • Social media handles (optional)
  • Submit 1-2 songs as example of your work. We accept any format including a URL or website link, video, mp3 file or wav file.
  • Submit a biography, CV or resume which includes info about you and your music practice. We accept any format including word, pdf or video.
  • Submit an image or photo of you or your work. We accept any format including hard copy, JPEG or URL.

History of this Award
This award was voted on and/or presented by Songlines from 2013-2017 under the title Best Indigenous Act and then Best Aboriginal Act. Songlines would elect a representative to chair the panel and to select the judges for the panel. The chair would also vote.

In 2018, Archie Roach Foundation came on board as the new partner for this award, committing a $2000 prize for the winner. Music Victoria and VMDO can also assist the winner with custom business advice or mentorship. Archie Roach does not vote on or chair the award, but he is the namesake and patron, and the renamed award has a new focus on emerging artists at his request.

In 2018, Songlines stepped away and Chris O’Neill (board member of Music Victoria) chaired the voting panel, approaching five First People’s representatives from the music industry to vote on the award.

In 2019, Donna Woods (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Representative, APRA AMCOS) was the chair and enlisted four additional First Peoples’ representatives from the music industry to vote on the award.

In 2020, Kiernan Ironfield from Songlines came on board to chair the award, enlisting 5 First People’s representatives from the music industry to vote on the award. He continues in this role in 2021.

As part of their Partnership contribution, Archie Roach Foundation pay each judge an honorarium for their role on this panel.

Recipients of the former Indigenous award are ineligible to win this award.

Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award

“The Amplify Award has emerged out of recent engagement between the disabled music community and Music Victoria and responds directly to an identified need. We are delighted to back Music Victoria’s leadership in this space, and to come on board as a financial sponsor. We can’t wait to be bowled over with submissions.”

– Caroline Bowditch, CEO, Arts Access Victoria

“I simply don’t have the knowledge of who is active out there, and this is something that I am desperately wanting to change. I look forward to not just finding and rewarding a winner but seeing who this process uncovers and encourages. The Amplify Award by no way excludes Deaf and Disabled musicians from applying in all our other Award categories, but it does recognise the significant and very real barriers that they face in our industry.”

– Simone Schinkel, CEO, Music Victoria


What is this Award?
Established to shine a light on and recognise the contributions made by Deaf and Disabled musicians in the past 12 months, this award is long overdue and rewards the winner with $3000 cash from Arts Access Victoria.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must consider yourself a musician.
  • Solo musicians must identify as a Deaf and/or Disabled person. Groups/bands must be Deaf and/or disability-led (with creative control).
  • You must have been active in the past 12 months (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021) – this can include rehearsing, performing (live or online), writing, collaborating and/or releasing music.
  • Solo musicians must reside in Victoria (residency of backing band is not considered). At least 50% of the group/band must have been living in Victoria for the last two years or use Victoria as a home base.
  • You must be a paid Music Victoria Member – Deaf and Disabled musicians can become a paid Essentials member for free with the code “friends” here: https://www.musicvictoria.com.au/membership-account/membership-checkout/?level=1).
  • Current Music Victoria and Arts Access Victoria employees are ineligible for this award.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Contact details
  • Social media handles (optional)
  • Submit 1-2 songs as example of your work. We accept any format including a URL or website link, video, mp3 file or wav file.
  • Submit a biography, CV or resume which includes info about you and your music practice. We accept any format including word, pdf or video.
  • Submit an image or photo of you or your work. We accept any format including hard copy, JPEG or URL.

    Submissions can be made via:

Other information

  • The award will be assessed by a peer panel of judges, who will each be paid an honorarium for their role in the process.
  • If your access requirements haven’t been met whilst applying or you need any support in putting together your application please contact Simone Schinkel, CEO at Music Victoria on 0421 967 349 or simone@musicvictoria.com.au
  • We use the term ‘Deaf and Disabled people/musicians’ in line with the Social Model of Disability.
Best Intercultural Act (previously Best Global Act)

We define Intercultural music as music that is the result of mutually respectful cultural dialogue and expression communicated in musical forms, such as instrumentation, arrangement, participation, and/or language.

This category recognises the prevailing diversity of Victoria’s music scene and the interplay between cultures that takes place within it.

Musicians who apply in this category approach music-making as an exploration of work that brings together different forms and approaches. Notwithstanding, they create music with authenticity and respect for the traditional cultural forms from which they may be quoting. This, of course, doesn’t exclude musicians from one background becoming fluent in a different culture. It just asks that they are able to articulate their genuine approach.

This category wasn’t created to clump together artists of diverse cultural heritage. Even though you might be from a culturally and linguistically diverse community or a person of colour, if the music you create is more suitable to one of our genre categories, we encourage you to nominate in it.

Best Festival

A music festival is an organized event, lasting one or more days, featuring performances by various musicians, singers, and groups. Factors considered when nominating include but are not limited to – commitment to live music & the Victorian music community, volume and quality of live music element; quality of sound system; quality of overall experience; quality of treatment of musicians, booking that fosters diversity and inclusivity, efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the event, festival offers fair guarantees (ie artist can make a profit), venue has secured the required OneMusic license/s; and efforts by the promoter to provide a safe and inclusive environment for musicians, patrons and staff. Any festival may be nominated in a long list by a judge, however only one festival per site can ultimately be in the top 5 for each promoter/site.
For the Music Victoria Awards 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Best Festival category includes Victorian created/based live-streamed music festivals in the eligible time period.

Best Live Act

Best Live Act can be a band or solo artist. Said act must be known for their exceptional live show and must have performed multiple live shows in Victoria between 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021 to be eligible.
For the Music Victoria Awards 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Best Live Act category includes live streaming activity from Victorian artists in this time period.

Best Producer

We define a producer as someone who oversees, engineers and manages the sound recording and production of a solo artist’s or band’s music. This can include an artist or band member who produces their own work or a sound engineer who plays a guiding role in recording.

Eligibility Criteria
A producer may be nominated for their work across multiple recordings/releases released in the eligible time period.
While the producer must reside in Victoria, they are still eligible in this category for producing work by a non-Victorian artist. For a co-production at least 50% of the producer team has to have been living in Victoria for the last two years, or uses Melbourne as a home base.

Outstanding Woman In Music

The Outstanding Woman in Music Award recognises the achievements of not only musicians but also women behind the scenes, such as industry professionals, management and crew, as voted by the Music Victoria Board.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates are eligible if they:
– Identify as a woman
– Reside in Victoria
– Currently work in the Victorian contemporary music industry
– Have made an outstanding contribution to Victorian music in the eligible time period

Best Venue Categories

Any venue that hosts contemporary live music may be nominated in a long list by a judge. Factors considered when nominating include but are not limited to – commitment to live music & the local music community, volume and quality of shows; quality of sound system; quality of overall experience; quality of treatment of musicians, booking that fosters diversity and inclusivity, efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the venue, venue offers fair splits and/or guarantees (ie artist can make a profit), venue has secured the required OneMusic license/s; and efforts by the venue to provide a safe and inclusive environment for musicians, patrons and staff.
For the Music Victoria Awards 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Best Venue categories include live streaming activity from Victorian venues in the eligible time period.

There are four Best Venue awards:

  1. Best Venue (under 500 cap)
  2. Best Venue (over 500 cap)
  3. Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (under 50 gigs per year)
  4. Best Regional and Outer Suburban Venue (over 50 gigs per year)
What is ‘Regional and Outer Suburban’?

We class ‘Regional and Outer Suburban’ as an act residing or venue located outside of the Melbourne metro area (including outer suburbs based more than 15 kilometres from Melbourne GPO) that by reason of geographical location may face barriers in their music pursuits which have been overcome. At least half of the group will live outside the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Best Regional and Outer Suburban Act

‘‘Best Regional and Outer Suburban Act’ may include a solo artist or band that has at least 50% of its members residing outside of the Melbourne metro area (including outer suburbs) that by reason of geographical location may face barriers in their music pursuits which have been overcome.

Hall of Fame Inductions

Induction Criteria:
Each year as part of the Music Victoria Awards, Music Victoria inducts Victorian residents into its Hall of Fame that made a significant contribution to Victorian music and the cultural fabric of the state. Nominees can include not only musicians, but broadcasters, producers, journalists, festivals, music managers, labels and more – any person or business that has contributed greatly to Victorian music over 25+ years.
An inductee could have been born elsewhere, but are eligible if they lived in Victoria at a vital stage in their career and made a significant contribution to our culture. In 2015, to celebrate its tenth anniversary, it added ten inductees. For more information on this event please click here.
Members cannot self-nominate for this Award.

Voting
The current Hall of Fame voting academy is made up an experienced and diverse cross-section of key industry figures including former inductees and chairs for each of the genre panels for the Music Victoria Awards.

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