Awards: Awarded by artists for artists - Polyton Music Prize

Everything should be a little different, the focus shouldn't just be on commerce: at least that's what the makers of the Academy for Popular Music have set as their goal for the Polyton Music Prize.

Awards: Awarded by artists for artists - Polyton Music Prize

Everything should be a little different, the focus shouldn't just be on commerce: at least that's what the makers of the Academy for Popular Music have set as their goal for the Polyton Music Prize.

Artists and collectives were honored in a total of eight categories in Berlin, but without long speeches or handshakes. Instead, dancers artistically interpreted the winning works in an hour-long show while the winning names walked past on a light display. The award winners themselves only came on stage for what felt like five minutes afterwards.

From music creators for music creators

There was also live singing at the music awards ceremony. Herbert Grönemeyer, for example, presented his new song “Kaltes Berlin”, a kind of nostalgic look into the now. Bosse, Paula Hartmann and Graf Fidi also performed.

The new Polyton Music Prize is an award from music creators for music creators. The prizes are awarded by the Academy for Popular Music, whose members include Shirin David, Herbert Grönemeyer, Johannes Oerding and Judith Holofernes. A total of 50 artists from different music genres are part of the academy.

It wasn't just the big guys who won

Although artists of various levels of fame were nominated for the eight awards, it was not just the well-known faces who were honored. Well-known nominees included Peter Fox, Helene Fischer and Casper or their team members. The organizers placed great value on diversity from the start.

One of the most famous winners was Peter Fox, who received a prize in the “Performance” category. Fans were able to apply in advance to become dancers for this year's tour, thereby turning "every concert into a participatory party," the reason given was the reason. In the “Stage” category, the brains behind the “Deichkind Live 2022” concerts won: Henning Besser translated “the Deichkind madness into an innovative stage concept,” judged the award winners.

For the composition of the mini-album "promise, everything will be fine!" The pop duo Blumengarten received an award; in the “Text” category, actress and singer Paula Hartmann and the rapper Céline impressed with the song “3 Seconds,” which deals with sexualized violence. The winners of the “Digital” category were also about sexual assault - the winners are the association

"Ceasefire!"

The prize in the “Production” category went to the composer, producer and singer Sofia Kourtesis for the single “Madres”. In the “Teamwork” category, “A Song For You” was chosen, a choir-like platform for BIPoC, i.e. people who experience racist discrimination.

During their performance, the singers energetically shouted “Ceasefire!” several times. They received loud applause from the audience. With the call for “ceasefire,” many people are currently demanding an end to the fighting in Gaza between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas. The “Wildcard” – a category without a clear category description – was awarded to the Femme Bass Mafia initiative for its DJ educational work for all people who are not cis-male.

Long planned, finally here

The former Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU) announced plans for a new music prize in July 2021, as well as the founding of the academy. In 2018, the “Echo” - at the time one of the most famous music awards in Germany - was canceled. This was preceded by a controversy over the rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang. They had received a response, even though lines of text had been criticized as anti-Semitic.

For a long time, sales figures were crucial in order to get a response. This should be different with the new price, Grütters announced at the time. It's time for an award that "exclusively honors artistic achievement, free from commercial aspects," she said.

"Quality, not quantity"

This idea is now the basis of Polyton, as Grütter's successor in office, Claudia Roth (Greens), said at the opening. "Polyton is focused on quality, not quantity." Furthermore, Polyton is not an audience award or an industry award. On the other hand, the award creates a platform in which “traditional and hierarchical barriers” are broken down.

With the controversy of five years ago in mind, Roth found clear words for the first issue of Polyton. "There is no place for contempt for humanity here, there is no place for exclusion or discrimination." Anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia or sexism are also not welcome. She received a lot of applause for these words. "This academy, this prize stand for empowerment, for cohesion and for social discourse - even outside the music industry."

Furthermore, Polyton is not just an awards ceremony in one evening, but rather a music industry event lasting several days. Lectures or readings were and are being held between Wednesday and Saturday.

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