The Australian Music Prizes has one of the most rigorous judging processes of any music prize in the world. 37 judges across media, retail and the artist community work together to identify outstanding albums, judged solely on artistic merit with no reference to commercial success. Each judge chooses albums they believe should be nominated, with agreement between multiple judges leading to a nomination being granted.
In January, a select pool of judges are flown to Sydney for an intensive two days of discussion, dissection and occasionally argument, to create the Australian Music Prize shortlist of nine titles. The unique in-person discussion allows the debating or artistic points, the consideration of other views and on occasion the changing of minds, creating a unique and robust process of judging which reflects and respects the artistry of the album format.
The judges then have a further two months to listen intently to the nine shortlisted albums before coming together again in Melbourne where they deliberate in an intense four-hour session to select the winner of the Australian Music Prize. The winner is then announced on the same day at a gala industry event which honours the shortlisted artists, the artistry of the previous year in Australian music, the album as an important artistic expression and of course, the Australian Music Prize winner.
Judges can only be established artists, music media or music retailers and must be recommended to The AMP by one or more Australian music industry executives who can vouch for their ‘great ears’. The judges agree to only judge on what they hear and to advise The AMP of any possible commercial and/or personal connections to artists who have made the albums they judge.