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
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks