1. The Australian Music Prize (the AMP) is considered by some to be a prestigious award: one that, by its very charter, judges music on aesthetic terms, not commercial. As such, it cannot afford to be perceived as following any of the other Australian music awards on offer --  not least because if the winner of the AMP coincided with the winner of an Aria or J Award, it would make the whole process of giving the award meaningless.Such an occurrence isn’t that uncommon: a few years back, British music paper NME invented the Brat Award as direct riposte to the music industry establishments’ Brit Awards. Imagine their embarrassment when they woke up a few years later to discover the exact same artists had been nominated for both.
  2. It is a bun-fest for those involved (a select panel of -- Jesus -- 27 people made up of music critics, musicians, retailers and broadcasters, all firmly placed within the mainstream of the Australian music industry). To take their place as judges, they are sent a load of CDs, flown around the country, put up in swank hotels and generally made to feel very important. Some of these folk -- possibly most -- are nice folk indeed, and pride themselves on their personal integrity, rightly so.And some of them are Dom Alessio.

    The award sponsors (drinks companies, PPCA, Channel V, various music magazines and websites) gives $30,000 to the eventual winner. One wonders quite how much more they could award to the winner if a) they didn’t have such a large panel of judges and b) they didn’t put them all up in swank hotels.

    Or am I missing something here? Is the award meant to benefit judges and judged?

  3. In her article on Crikey, judge and music critic Clem Bastow argues that the one and only motivating factor behind giving the award this year to Lisa Mitchell was the music. Not so fast, Clem.The AMP is inspired by the UK Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize (nothing like a spot of cultural cringe to help get the critical juices flowing in Australia). One year, the UK panel notoriously awarded the prize to flimflam pop outfit The M People because they were terrified of being called out for only supporting one style of music (indie rock).

    The AMP judges are equally terrified -- and rightly so, looking at the similarities between the artists they’ve awarded the prize to in previous years. The judges knew that, in previous years, they hadn’t recognised either the pop element in Australian music or the female element. A few of them decided, in advance, to do something about it. So the AMP is having its M People year. It’s understandable, for sure -- but hardly conducive to awarding a prestigious industry prize based on "merit".