2021 ARIA Awards to remove gender-based categories
15.09.2021

2021 ARIA Awards to remove gender-based categories

2021 ARIA Awards
Words by Lucas Radbourne

The 2021 ARIA Awards will look different than ever before, as the ceremony scraps gendered awards and shifts again to livestreaming on YouTube.

The ARIA Awards have confirmed that they will take place this year in a collaboration with YouTube, on November 24.

The ceremony, which will still take place in Sydney, will include the removal of all gender-based award categories.

The 2021 ARIA Awards will replace the categories of Best Female Artist and Best Male Artist with the ARIA Award for Best Artist. The number of nominees for Best Artist has been expanded from five to ten.

What you need to know

  • The 2021 ARIA Awards will be held in November on YouTube
  • Best Male and Female Artist Awards will be replaced by a single Best Artist award
  • The awards will be a celebration of Australian music’s resilience

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

The change is designed to ensure that the ARIA Awards “reflect and embrace equality and the true diversity of the music industry in 2021”.

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

“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.”

ARIA organisers say the ceremony will be “a celebration of the success of Australian music in the face of extreme adversity this year…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.”

This year has seen notable success for local music with 74 Australian releases landing in the top ten on the ARIA Albums Chart and 12 homegrown albums reaching number one. In 2021, several Australian artists have also achieved stratospheric success internationally.

“Even though it has been another huge year for Australian music, unfortunately we are still living through a pandemic,” Herd continued. “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: 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.

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 digital was obvious.”

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

For all the latest ARIA Award news, head to their website.