The outfits are hanging in the dressing rooms, final rehearsals taking place and awards receiving their final polishing. The 2016 BRIT Awards have arrived. Tonight, tens of thousands of people will join the likes of Adele, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Coldplay, at Britain’s most anticipated music event.
As anticipation rises around who will win Album of the Year, it’s not only the music industry out for celebration. The 2016 BRIT Awards have embraced digital technology in a brand new way. For the first time in the event’s history, all major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine will be present, to share the highlights among the glitz and glam.
This isn’t new, but it’s still worth a mention. After all, YouTube is the most popular video viewing platform in the world. They have live streamed the entire event globally for the past two years, and will do the same tonight. Grab the popcorn. The link to the live stream is available here.
Presenters Lilah Parsons and George Shelley will present a Red Carpet Live show, streamed exclusively to the BRITs Facebook page. Nominees and guests will be featured on the show as they arrive on the red carpet. It doesn’t stop there; viewers will be able to experience the red carpet walk for themselves, through the use of a 360-degree video. Imagine that. You could find yourself walking right next to Rihanna! Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.
Facebook has gone one step further to give users the ultimate BRITs experience. For the first time ever, the winners’ press room will be open to questions from worldwide fans, after the awards. Fans will be able to post their questions through the Facebook page, later to be read to the winners by the presenters.
We all love a Snapchat story. For the first time, the BRITs will have its own story. Nominees, artists, guests and members of the audience will be able to contribute to the story with both photo and video snaps. “Are there special BRITs filters available?” I hear you ask. Yes. There will be BRITs filters available to add the finishing touches to the evening’s snaps.
There is no doubt #BRITs will be trending within a few minutes of the awards commencing, but that isn’t the entirety of Twitter’s involvement in the awards. For the third year running, the winner for British Video will be decided solely on votes cast by Twitter fans. For something new in 2016, Twitter fans have also been given the opportunity to decide the winner of British Breakthrough Act.
Another first for Twitter – special emojis are being released exclusively in the lead-up to the event. Fans will be able to see their favourite artists transformed into emojis, by using their performer hashtags e.g. #LittleMixBRITs. Hosts Ant and Dec have their very own emoji too – something I’ll definitely be trying. Love them or hate them, emojis have become an integral part of social media culture. I mean, who wouldn’t love an emoji-fied version of Ant and Dec?
One in four of the most popular Instagram accounts are musicians. It makes sense that Instagram wants to its part in sharing the event with the public. Anais Gallagher is taking over the BRITs Instagram account, and will report from the event live, via a series of images and videos. Instagram will also launch a dedicated BRITs video channel, available to all 14 million UK Instagram users for 24 hours. The channel will be accessible via a notification at the top of the app. It will also be available to the 100 million users in the USA. Caroline Drucker, Instagram Head of Strategic Partnerships at EMEA, thinks it’s definitely the right time for Instagram to embrace the BRITs in this way:
“Our global community of over 400m is incredibly passionate about music, which is one of the most followed interests on Instagram…the BRITs nominees have a highly engaged community of fans.”
The BRITs will have its own Vine channel for the evening; where Vines from artists, fans and audiences at home will be showcased. Vine users anywhere in the world will be able to enjoy the exclusive content, by tapping a special tab within the app. Top UK Viners @LeslieWai and @AntoSharp are set to be involved in the Vine action.
Why digital loves the BRITs
It’s exciting to see the newer social media channels embracing the BRITs and finding new ways to interact with the huge following it’s accumulated over the years. Emmy Lovell, chair of the BRITs digital committee said:
“This year is shaping up to be an incredible year for the BRITs in the digital world and I’m excited to be introducing new platforms and initiatives to bring the show to an even bigger audience.”
2016 is the year the BRITs fell madly in love with digital. The BRIT Awards bring people from all over the world together to celebrate the best of British musical talent. It isn’t just celebrated by people in the UK. A worldwide event needs worldwide reach – reach that can only achieved by using social media platforms for what they were created for – getting people to interact and share special moments. Music is such an important part of culture. It can build bridges while breaking records and evokes emotion like no other form of media. It’s a part of our world that should be protected and celebrated, by both young and old.
So, while we wait to see how long it takes Ant or Dec to make reference to Madonna’s cape, let’s sit back and celebrate the incredible success of British music. Who knows, maybe Adele will be saying hello, from the other side of a shiny new award.