UK: The winners of three new categories at this year's Music Week Awards are to become the first in the event's history to be decided by online voters. Visitors to Musicweek.com have the chance to determine who will walk off with the prizes at the awards ceremony on 15 April for the newly-introduced categories of App of the Year, Festival of the Year and Studio of the Year.
Although site visitors are given a long list of suggested winners, they also have the chance to add their own alternative choice for each category. A banner on the website homepage guides visitors to the voting area.
In the App category, prospective voters are asked to decide what they think is the best user-installed mobile software for smart and cellphones as well as hand-held computers that deliver music to consumers.
The Festival category aims to recognise excellence among festival organisers who deliver not only popular booking policies and sound quality but also the elements that ensure consumer confidence in this area - from general amenities and accommodation to all-round value for money.
The Studio category is for recording facilities of all sizes that were behind 2009 music releases. Voters should consider the variety and quality of projects undertaken, as well as the services and support provided. These include mastering and overall production to artists, session musicians, management, record companies, and third-parties such as visiting producers and engineers/technical staff.
Contenders in the Studio category include Abbey Road, Air, British Grove, Metropolis and - in a strong showing for studio management group Miloco - Assault & Battery 2, Chairworks and Pool.
Music Week editor Paul Williams put the online voting in a wider context of change at the Music Week Awards. "We have already announced a number of new categories for the 2010 event, with a particular emphasis on increasing the focus on digital, live, production, retail and the independent sector," he says. "As part of these changes, we also wanted to come up with new ways of how some of the winners are chosen, so it seemed appropriate to make that move with three of the newly-introduced categories."
Voting is now under way for the three online categories, with a resulting shortlist to be unveiled at the same time as those for the fields overseen by judging panels.
Tables and tickets for the event, which is being held at the London Hilton on Park Lane, are now available via the dedicated site (link below).