News 15 September 2021

The show must go on - The 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music!

Honouring Australian music’s excellence and resilience with a revolutionary digital show on YouTube and removal of gender-based awards.

The show must go on - The 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music!

The show must go on! In celebration of the success of Australian music in the face of extreme adversity this year, ARIA today announced that the 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music will proceed on Wednesday 24th November as an innovative digital show, streamed live on YouTube.

After Australian lives have been reshaped by another round of ongoing border closures and lockdowns, rendering live music and national touring all but impossible in 2021, ARIA is determined to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the talented artists and industry professionals who released music this year. The 2021 ARIA Awards promise a premium digital show proudly supported by YouTube Music.The ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music will continue to call Sydney, New South Wales, home, and are proudly supported by the NSW Government through Destination NSW.

This year has seen incredible success for local music with 74 Australian releases landing in the Top Ten on the ARIA Albums Chart and a huge 12 homegrown albums reaching #1. In 2021 several of our artists have also achieved stratospheric success internationally.

Annabelle Herd, ARIA Chief Executive, 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.”

Natalie Waller, ARIA Chair, said: “Taking into account the uncertainty around restrictions and overall public safety, the 35th annual ARIA Awards is taking a new digital show turn this year. It is vital for us that the event goes ahead in some form or another, to celebrate the determination, resilience and achievements within the music community during this very challenging period. The Australian music industry has been a beacon of light for many of us for almost two years now, we are delighted to be bringing this year's event to people in a different format. We look forward to returning to an in-person next year, but for now, the choice to go digitalwas obvious.”

Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube, said: "YouTube is proud to be part of the ARIA Awards for a third year and to help stream the celebration around the world and for the very first time, into Australian homes. Since March 2020 it has been really tough for the music industry. It has made creating shared moments even more important – and last year's Awards did just that as people from around the world, including me, watched incredible Australian talent like Lime Cordiale and Sampa the Great perform and be recognised. Australia has an outsized weight in the global music scene, and we will continue to empower and help local artists grow their audiences, connect with fans in meaningful ways and break songs around the world. I'm excited to see what will come out of Australia this year!" 

NSW Minister for Jobs,Investment,Tourism and Western SydneyStuart Ayres, said: “We have all had to be agile and innovative in recent times, and the NSW Government  joins  ARIA  in celebrating our amazing Australian artists  who  continue to  bring  life and light to Sydney and NSW  however they can.  Although we will be  acknowledging  the work of our creative industries  via a digital show this year, we look forward to welcoming the ARIA Award ceremony  and Australia’s music industry and fans  back to  the  Harbour City  for an unforgettable live show  in  2022.” 

ARIA is thrilled to announce that the 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music will include the ARIA Award for Best Artist. This award replaces the categories of Best Female Artist and Best Male Artist. This change is designed to ensure that the ARIA Awards reflect and embrace equality and the true diversity of the music industry in 2021. It will guarantee that all artists have the opportunity to achieve the recognition they deserve for their work on an equal platform.

In making this change ARIA does not want to decrease the number of artists recognised overall each year so the number of nominees for Best Artist has been expanded from five to ten

Annabelle Herd, ARIA Chief Executive, said: “The time for separating artists based on gendered categories that exclude non-binary artists altogether has passed. 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.”

Natalie Waller, ARIA Chair, said: “A key principle of ARIA and the Australian music community is that peers are given equal opportunity and treated to the unity they deserve. Therefore, we are incredibly proud to enter the next chapter of ARIA’s ever-evolving journey by removing the gender-based award categories, reconstructing the way in which the event has been traditionally held. Removing the gender titles and celebrating all artists together within their respective genre groups feels like an organic step for the future of ARIA.”

In addition to the removal of the gender-based categories from the ARIA Awards, the categories of Engineer and Producer Of The Year Award has been amended to allow engineers and producers to be nominated for a body of work.

The 2021 ARIA Awards Nominations will be presented as a YouTube Premiere in October, allowing even more music fans across Australia and around the world to share in the excitement of the year’s top artists as the 2021 ARIA nominees are revealed. More details to follow. 

The Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award is returning in 2021. The award, which was first launched in partnership with The Song Room and award partner Telstra five years ago, celebrates the incredible contribution of music education and the teachers that make life changing impacts on students and the wider community every day. The shortlist of nominees will be announced on Wednesday 6th October in advance of the 2021 ARIA Awards Nominations.

Each shortlisted teacher will partner with an artist ambassador to tell the story of the school and its very special nominated teacher. Previous Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award ambassadors include Emma Watkins of The Wiggles, Missy Higgins, Guy Sebastian, Thelma Plum andThe Veronicas.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about the 2021 ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music in the coming weeks.

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We acknowledge First Nations people as the Traditional Owners and sovereign custodians of the lands on which we work and live. We recognise their continuing connection to Country and their respective nations across this continent and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. We also celebrate the unique and inspiring creativity and songlines of the world’s oldest living culture and give thanks for the immeasurable influence First Nations people continue to have over the music and art we all enjoy.