BBC launches Music Awards to rival the Brits

Chris Evans and Fearne Cotton will present the first annual event this year

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The Independent Culture

The BBC is to launch its own annual Music Awards with a live, prime-time show which executives said was not intended to trump ITV’s Brit Awards.

The first BBC Music Awards, presented by Chris Evans and Fearne Cotton, will take place at Earls Court in December.

Awards for British Artist of the Year, International Artist of the Year and Song of the Year will be handed out at the show, which will be shown live on BBC1 and feature live performances from the “biggest and most iconic names in music” as well as special collaborations.

BBC executives said the event would be a musical equivalent of its Sports Personality of the Year show, staged three days later.

The public will vote for Song of the Year whilst the other prizes are decided by BBC broadcasters and producers.

The event will showcase new stars discovered through the BBC Introducing web portal, which gave Jake Bugg his first break, and attempt to re-create highlights from events such as Glastonbury. Rock and pop acts will be encouraged to collaborate with orchestras or choirs.

Radio 1, Radio 2 and The One Show will promote the awards, which the BBC said would not prove as expensive to stage as the Brit awards. Tickets will be sold to the public to help cover costs.

The music industry is supportive of the event, which should help boost pre-Christmas sales but there are concerns that it may overshadow the Brits, broadcast in February, which recorded a ratings slump this year.

Charlotte Moore, BBC1 Controller, said the BBC Music Awards would be a “unique celebration of music in the UK.”

BBC2 announced a landmark “many part” series, which will tell the “definitive” story of popular music across the last century.

With the working title The Soundtrack of the Twentieth Century, the series, to be broadcast in 2016, will tell the story of pop ranging from “Caruso to Taylor Swift via Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Eminem and many more”.