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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 09:46 GMT
The Brits vs the NME Awards
By Damian Jones
Music reporter, Radio 1

Arctic Monkeys
Alex Turner is up for the best dressed award
This year's NME Award nominations are out with indie heavyweights Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons and My Chemical Romance dominating proceedings.

The shortlist follows this month's Brit Award nominations which saw pop acts like Leona Lewis, Take That and Mika regaining the upper hand following a two year spell of rock acts sweeping the board.

But which of the two award ceremonies have the most credibility? Which generates the most album sales? And what is the difference between the two?

Brits are mainstream

Chart expert Gennaro Castaldo believes the Brits do a lot more for bands in terms of album sales and exposure.

He said: "Album sales go up much more if an artist wins a Brit because a lot more people read about it in the papers and hear about it on TV.

"The Brits act as a platform for a more mainstream audience who don't buy music as much as NME readers. But, they will respond to key events during the year whether it's the Brits or the Mercury Awards."

Album sales go up much more if an artist wins a Brit because a lot more people read about it in the papers
Gennaro Castaldo, HMV
While major pop and rock acts tend to see an influx of album sales following the Brits, Mr Castaldo also argued that up and coming acts normally enjoy the biggest sales boost.

"The ones that do particularly well haven't quite had that full public exposure but they've been bubbling under," he explained.

"With an emerging artist sometimes their sales can go up by three, four maybe five times their typical sales level. In that sense the Brits does allow you to connect to that much wider audience."

'NME's for the fans'

Unlike the Brits, the NME Awards focus on "specific music fans" who are "very passionate about music" and the ceremony tends to focus "on the quality of the record or artist overall", according to Mr Castaldo.

The NME agrees that their Awards are not intended to boost record sales. They are more geared towards music fans.

Mercury prize winners Klaxons are up for four gongs
NME news editor Paul Stokes told Newsbeat: "The NME Awards are voted for by fans, rather than nominated by the music industry. It means the people are doing it out of their love of music and passion for their favourite bands, they don't have a vested interest in flogging records.

"If you want to know what's really going on in British music, I think the NME Awards paint a far more vivid picture."

He also argues that the NME tends to be a year ahead of the Brits in terms of which acts win an award.

"It's certainly happened recently for the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Muse, and with Blur and Oasis a generation before," he said.
If you want to know what's really going on in British music, I think the NME Awards paint a far more vivid picture
Paul Stokes, NME news editor

"One of the British music scene's strengths is that it constantly reinvents itself in many different and exciting ways. The fans who read the NME and vote for these awards are an important cog in the A&R machine because they're constantly searching for the best new music. It's not surprising that those bands go on to be very successful."

Matt Phillips from the British Phonographic Industry, who organise the Brit Awards, said that the ceremony has a “massive impact on the acts nominated.”

He added: “The Brits generate an enormous amount of interest in record sales and for a lot of artists it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time.

“In the case of Amy Winehouse, her album came out at the end of 2006. She had been already been talked about and there was lots of media coverage so it was perfect timing for her in terms of record sales.”

Mr Phillips also pointed out that the main difference between the two competitions is the Brits are voted for by the music industry compared with the NME Awards which are decided by a public vote.

He added: “The NME tends to deal with a more niche area of bands and they focus more on breaking talent and cutting edge stuff rather than artists or acts that have come through already.”

The 2008 Brit Awards are set to be held at Earls Court in London on 20 February while the NME Awards ceremony will follow at the capital's Indig02 in north Greenwich eight days later.

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