The Brit Awards organisers have announced a major overhaul of their voting system for the forthcoming 2017 ceremony.
Following criticism from artists including Stormzy on his song ‘One Take Freestyle’ and boycott threats from the likes of Laura Mvula, organisers of the event have pledged to ensure there is more diversity at next year’s event.
Voters from BAME backgrounds will make up 17% of the panel, up from 15% last year.
The gender balance has also been reviewed, with next year’s panel being made up of 52% male and 48% female representatives.
Organisers have invited 718 potential new pundits to shake up the voting system following a major review.
Ged Doherty, BPI Chairman, said: “I’m really proud that we’ve taken firm action to refresh the Academy to ensure that it keeps up with trends in music and society at large. I believe that as a result of these changes the BRITs will be better equipped to reflect the diverse nature of Britain and British music.
“There’s been a long-held myth that BRITs winners and nominees are decided by industry executives in a smoke-filled room, but the simple truth is that the awards are voted for each year by a 1000+ strong Voting Academy made up of experts drawn from all areas of music.”
The 2017 ceremony will be held on February 24 at the O2 arena and broadcast on ITV2. The late architect Zaha Hadid has designed this year’s trophies.
Singer Michael Buble is due to host the event. The last two years have seen the ceremony presented by Ant & Dec, while James Corden helmed the host role for four years prior to that.
Robbie Williams will receive the 2017’s BRITs Icon Award.
The ‘Rudebox’, ‘Rock DJ’, ‘Party Like A Russian’ star and former member of Take That has already won the Outstanding Contribution To Music award, and now will be honoured for earning “a special place” in UK fans’ hearts with his “enduring appeal and his exceptional track record of hit singles”.