The fact that times are changing will soon also be palpable at the MIAs: during the next edition, the categories ‘best man’ and ‘best woman’ will be combined. Yet from now on, not fewer but more artists will have a chance to win a Flemish music prize.
On January 24, 2024, the Music Industry Awards, or the MIAs, will be presented for the sixteenth time. New at the upcoming edition is the gender-neutral prize for ‘best solo artist’. This means that one less MIA is distributed. However, more artists will soon have a chance to win a statuette: from now on there will be five nominees across all categories instead of four.
“Every year we assess whether we will maintain our existing categories or make adjustments. We have already done this in the past by changing the ‘urban’ category to ‘hip hop’, says VRT music coordinator Gerrit Kerremans. “This year we thought the time was right to bring all solo artists together in one category. A future-oriented choice in which we focus on the music and no longer the gender of the artist in question.”
The Flemish music awards are thus following the example of the Brit Awards, among others. During the last two editions there was only one prize for best solo artist. These changes were partly due to a protest from singer Sam Smith. He felt excluded as a non-binary artist and called for unity. This has been the case at the American Grammy Awards for more than ten years: all separate categories were combined in 2012. The result: Harry Styles won the main prize this year, while Adele took it away the year before.
The Ensors, the prizes for Flemish film and TV that are awarded in Ostend, also no longer apply separate prizes for actors and actresses since 2022. There is an Ensor for ‘best supporting role’ and ‘best leading role’. This resulted in last edition that no actress received the main prize. To avoid such a scenario, the Oscars will stick to separate categories for the time being.
The media jury, consisting of journalists and experts, can now help determine which artists are nominated for an MIA. From November 30, the public and the music sector can vote for their favorites in 17 categories. The prizes will finally be handed out on January 24, during a major live show in the Sportpaleis.