A new Grammy rival - the Nordic Music Awards

The Nordics are in for a new major music prize that is set to rival the countries’ existing Grammy-equivalents. The Nordic Music Awards aim at a more commercial and spectacular show with major international acts and vital Nordic artists.

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“Nordic Music Awards” is the title given to the new pan-Nordic music prize that is poised to be a more spectacular and commercial alternative to the existing Grammy-equivalents that have a long standing position on national TV-networks.

In contrast to the existing music prizes, the Nordic Music Awards winners will not be selected by a jury. The nominations to the Nordic Music Awards will be based on performances on sales charts, and the winners will be selected by the audience through SMS and phone votes. Votes from Norway, Denmark and Sweden will have equal status despite the varying population figures in the Nordic countries. The companies that have launched the initiative are Norway’s TV2, Sweden’s TV4 and Danish TV2. The idea was conceived some two years ago, but the plans were not unveiled until Monday this week when the parties signed the contracts at the Cannes MIPTV festival.

The aim of the show is to create the biggest entertainment show of the Nordics with guests from the top shelf of the international music industry. Artists that have signalled interest in the show include P Diddy and Christina Aguilera as well as Norwegian artists Bertine Zetlitz and Kurt Nilsen.

The pan-Nordic show will be broadcast from Oslo’s Spectrum on October 23. The final show will be the culmination of a series of seven programmes that profile the nominated artists. Through these programmes, the Nordic Music Award’s aim is to promote Nordic artists to a new wider audience outside their native countries.

Says Norwegian TV2’s Nils Ketil Andresen on the Nordic Music Awards: “A Nordic co-operation will make the show more attractive for a wider audience – that leaves us with a realistic hope of securing appearances of some of the biggest stars on the international stage. A number of Norwegian artists will get international exposure at a time when their standings on the domestic market are strong. The timing is just right for a grand Nordic TV-show at the moment.”

This autumn’s show will be a test – it has not been decided whether if this will be an annual event. “We have discussed arranging the show on an annual basis, but there’s a consensus to wait and see whether if this year’s event is successful before making any future plans” says TV2’s Andresen.

The show will be divided into two parts with the major international and pan-Nordic acts performing in two half-hour segments while domestic artists have one half-hour slot. The producers promise a more spectacular show than the existing TV-programmes; pyrotechnics and glamour are key words for the Oslo event. The show will also take on a more commercial character with fewer awards that are based on sales figures, thus excluding less mainstream genres.

With a combined TV-audience of more than 15 million, the Nordic countries represent a considerable market, and the Nordic Music Awards could represent an important promotion channel for artists. Says Norwegian artist Bertine Zetlitz to Norwegian daily Aftenposten on the planned show: “An event like this is important for Norwegian artists. Norway has been in the backwaters of the Nordics for some time, as an example one can mention the fact that it is nearly impossible to get airtime on MTV Nordic. That we’re now being taken on the show as equal artists is very important.”

The Nordic Music Awards has been developed by media companies AIP and Monster in co-operation with the three Nordic TV networks: Norway’s TV2, Sweden’s TV4 and Danish TV2. The Oslo TV-show in October will be produced by Norway’s Monster.

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