Brit Awards 2023: No women was nominated for best artist

There are no female artists on the Brit Awards shortlist for best artist this year. What does the absence of women in the music industry tell us about women in general?

There is still a month until the Brit Awards, but we already know who will take home the best artist prize: a male.

Last year, the British decided to replace its best male and best female awards with gender-neutral ones. But there was criticism of the best musician list that was exclusively composed of men when the nominations for this year’s gala were announced on Thursday.

Only 12 of the 70 stars eligible to be nominated for the award were women.

When record labels nominate artists for the award, the longlist is produced. Then, roughly 1,200 voters rank their top five choices, and the results are tallied to create the shortlist.

  • Harry Styles dominated the charts with his song As It Was and album Harry’s House, and is tipped to win
  • Stormzy – his third album This Is What I Mean was a commercial and critical hit and included hits like Hide & Seek and Firebabe
  • George Ezra – the singer-songwriter made a successful comeback with the single Green Green Grass and had a number one album
  • Central Cee – the London rapper had a number one album and two top 10 singles in 2022
  • Fred Again – the fast-rising house producer went to number four with his third album Actual Life 3

Among the women who qualified but were missed out are

  • Florence + the Machine – Florence Welch went to number one with her fifth album Dance Fever in May
  • Charli XCX (pictured) – Crash also topped the charts and was ranked the fourth best album of 2022 by The Guardian
  • Mabel – the 2020 best British female winner’s album About Last Night reached number two, although it didn’t produce any big hit singles
  • Rina Sawayama – her second album Hold The Girl went to number three and included BBC music correspondent Mark Savage’s song of the year
  • Ella Henderson – she had a top 10 album, appeared on two top 10 singles and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in 2022

An artist must have at least two top 20 singles or one top 40 album that were published between December 10, 2021, and December 9, 2022 in order to be included.

According to a spokeswoman, the Brits, like some other entertainment awards, include gender-neutral categories to be “even more inclusive, celebrating excellent work rather than how artists identify.”

Two women were nominated for best artist in 2022—Adeline and Little Simz—and female-fronted acts took home 10 of the 15 prizes, allaying worries that the decision may marginalize female talents.

But Adele made the following points in her victory speech: “I can see why the name of the award was changed, but I genuinely enjoy being a female artist and a woman. I’m really pleased with us.”

The final score of the nominees in that category for the past two years is 8-2 in favor of the males.

Singer Tim Burgess of the Charlatans is among those who have commented on the list this year.

The fact that significant female performers like Adele and Dua Lipa released less new music in the previous 12 months is one factor in this year’s performance.

Only Florence and the Machine, at number 89, was a British female solo artist with a new album among the top 100 best-selling albums of 2022. In contrast, just seven men made the top 100.

In addition, there are more women in various Brit Awards categories than males. For example, Wet Leg, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Lizzo have more nominations than men on the shortlist for best international act.

While it’s disheartening that there are no candidates in the artist of the year category, the spokeswoman for the Brits said: “We also have to acknowledge that 2022 had less high profile women musicians in cycle with large releases, as was the case in 2021.

“These tendencies based on the release schedule are a characteristic of the music business, but if over time a pattern appears, then the business has a responsibility to address this significant issue.”

The BPI, a group representing the music industry, was cited as saying that it is “already conducting a large research to identify hurdles that may prevent more women from succeeding in music, in order to provide answers that result in genuine change.”

Longer-term disparities between the success of male and female artists in the charts, radio airplay, festival lineups, and even the artists being signed by record labels are in fact well-documented.