07 April 2024

Refreshed judging process results in largest AMA judging group ever

Judging for the 2024 Aotearoa Music Awards has closed, and we’re looking forward to sharing the finalists with you later this month. We are deeply grateful to the Aotearoa music community for supporting and assisting us as we reviewed the Aotearoa Music Awards across 2022/23.

Today we’re very pleased to recap the changes we’ve made to improve the judging process in direct response to the feedback we received and to highlight the composition of the AMA 24 judging group – it’s the largest group of judges we’ve ever had and the first time we’ve collected demographic data.

A reminder of what AMA is awarding and how the winners are chosen

The Aotearoa Music Awards recognises artists and recordings that have demonstrated excellence, audience reach, commercial success and cultural impact. Tūī are not critics’ choice or art awards (although genre and specialist awards may have different considerations applied).

Album and Single of the Year, Best Group and Best Solo Artist are judged by the AMA Judging Academy – a wide-ranging group of professionals from across the Aotearoa music industry. Smaller specialist Schools vote on genre, Artisan, and the Best Māori and Mana Reo categories; Breakthrough and other winners are selected by an in-person panel (more will be shared on this closer to the 2024 AMA event); and the Radio Airplay and Highest Selling awards are determined by data.

Find out more about how AMA judging works, including how judges are selected here
Review our judging criteria here

More about our refreshed judging group and demographic results

Through our AMA review we heard calls to refresh our judging processes, and to communicate them more clearly and transparently. We have taken the time to do this work, and have taken steps to more actively promote diversity and inclusion across the judging process. In preparation for AMA 2024, we reviewed and refreshed the judging Academy and specialist Schools with a commitment to representation for Māori, diversity and inclusion, and appropriate representation across music industry roles and sectors.

Now that judging has been completed, we have published a breakdown of anonymised demographic data here. We will also be sharing key information across the AMA socials.

While there is always more work to be done we are pleased to report:

  • A bigger Judging Academy than ever before – 379 people completed judging, compared to 205 in 2022
  • Gender representation – nearly 45% of the judging group identify as female, non-binary or gender diverse
  • Māori representation – nearly one quarter of judges whakapapa Māori
  • Nearly one third of the judges are under the age of 35
  • Nearly 40% of the judges are artists

A recap of other changes to the judging process

In response to feedback received through the 2022-23 review, we:

  • Issued updated judging criteria, which guides judges to consider commercial success, cultural impact and audience reach as well as excellence when casting their votes. The updated guidelines also emphasise the importance of objectivity and diversity when considering nominees in each category. Judges are required to commit to this as part of their responsibilities to help ensure a rigorous and fair judging process
  • Removed the ‘sales weighting’ mechanic that was previously applied to votes after Academy judging – this year we are relying on the expertise of the Academy to select winners
  • Introduced a new in-person panel process for Breakthrough and new discretionary awards
  • Implemented a new, more user-friendly voting portal and have collected feedback from judges as to what further improvements can be made to the process in future
  • Collected anonymised demographic data from judges on registration and have published these breakdowns

We are pleased to share this work with you and can’t wait to celebrate a wide range of artists and music from Aotearoa at AMA 2024. Look out for more announcements in the weeks ahead.

View the full judging demographics breakdown