Quite right that the Brits should have a gloat

Tonight's awards will celebrate bands' overseas success

There's a new award at this year's Brits, and it points at just how successful a year it's been for British music. The inaugural Global Success award recognises a UK act's worldwide success after a year in which its three nominees – Mumford & Sons, Adele and One Direction – all stormed the American chart.

Those three acts held four of the top five-selling albums in the American Billboard charts last year – Adele's 21, Mumford & Sons' Babel and One Direction's two releases, Up All Night and Take Me Home. Only 10 days ago the Mumfords won the most coveted Grammy, for Best Album with Babel, rocketing them straight back into the No 1 spot in the Billboard chart, maintaining Britain's stronghold.

The Brit Awards are unlikely to throw up any major surprises or recognise alternative talent – they reflect what's currently popular and successful commercially rather than what's challenging and getting the critics fired up. Even the Brits Critics Choice award, now in its sixth year, recognises a rising artist who is set for stardom as opposed to the critical favourite, which is why it has become such a reliable indicator of the next big star. The first ever male winner, Tom Odell, whose melodic, piano-led, sensitive singer-songwriter ballads channel Coldplay, will no doubt follow in the footsteps of 2012's choice and this year's four times-nominated-artist Emeli Sande, Jessie J, Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine and Adele before him, after he collects his gong tonight.

At a time when record shops are closing in their droves, reducing the outlets for recorded music, this year's Brits show another side to the bleak picture – that British music is going strong. And as with any music awards, from the Mercury Prize to the Grammys, one goal is to further boost the sales of those winners and nominees – not that the inevitable chosen winners are the ones that most need that bump.

Among a generally limp list of solo male nominees – the mass-pleasing folk guitar-strumming Ben Howard, the disco star Calvin Harris, and the pop star Olly Murs, who rose up through The X-Factor – there are two outstandingly worthy winners who continue to push the boundaries. Richard Hawley deserves the prize for sheer contribution to and influence on British guitar music, and for his stunning album Standing on the Sky's Edge, a sunburst of psychedelic rock. If that album is considered by some to be too retrospective, then Plan B holds the album that best captures the times, with his visceral soundtrack Ill Manors, depicting the harsh, gritty underbelly of London life. Although I suspect it will be the risk-averse choice of Olly Murs for the accolade.

The nominees for best Live Act show that it's not just recorded music that's enjoying wide-reaching success. The return of The Rolling Stones was a highlight of 2012, while their closest rivals are the UK's best contemporary live act Muse, who take their enormous prog-rock set on their biggest stadium tour this May. On the night itself, while Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift are set to perform, it is British acts who will be stealing the stage. Two of the three Atlantic-crossing giants Mumford & Sons and One Direction will take the stage, as well as Muse, Emeli Sande, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs and Ben Howard.

The Global Success award is a sign of UK acts' burgeoning international appeal, but whether or not the award will be included in future years depends on whether British music continues to make such an impact. It would be a tough year to repeat.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz