Detroit Music Awards adopts new streaming site for third virtual show


When the Detroit Music Awards rolls around this weekend, the show will mark its third straight year as an online-only program. And it’s possible that will become the permanent status of the long-running event.

The 31st edition of the DMAs will take place at 8 p.m. on Sunday, this time on the Mandolin streaming service, which launched two years ago and has quickly become an industry leader.

The 75-minute pre-recorded program will include performances from Greta Van Fleet, classically trained crossover pianist BLKBOK, rising rock band Mac Saturn and country songwriting phenom JT Harding. Also featured will be the inaugural performance of Johnny Bee & the Murder Hornets, a gospel tribute to Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” album, and a clip from the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud,” the hitting Temptations musical. Fisher Theater this August.

Detroit classical-pop-hip-hop pianist BLKBOK, born Charles Wilson III.

The award presenters are secret, but if the past two years are any indication, the lineup could include names from across Detroit’s music, culture and sports worlds.

Access to the streaming program is $5, with part of the proceeds going to Music Saves UA, a humanitarian project launched by the All-Ukrainian Association of Music Events. Ticket buyers have the option to increase their donation upon purchase.

Going virtual in 2020 — a hastily curated stream during the early pandemic shutdown — DMAs stuck to the format last spring as its longtime home of Fillmore Detroit stayed away.

The success of these digital shows has caused organizers to “discuss” staying online only in the future, said entertainment attorney Howard Hertz, president of the Detroit Music Awards Foundation. While the DMAs would continue to hold regular artist showcases and other events on the calendar throughout the year, this would mean the end of the annual spring ceremony at the Fillmore.

“The benefit of going virtual is that we’re spreading the word and literally connecting people from all over the world,” Hertz says. “It’s a benefit for the artists and for the city by exposing Detroit’s music to more and more people.”

This year brings another notable change in DMAs, in line with the Grammys’ actions: the number of award categories has been reduced to 50, from over 70 in recent years, with some areas now combined. And the number of nominees in many categories has increased dramatically – now up to a dozen in some cases.

“We’re not eliminating anyone,” Hertz says. “We just changed the way it’s arranged. This is another opportunity for young artists, increasing the number of those who can qualify for the final round.

Several nominees this year include Jill Jack (six), Tino Gross (four) and Laith Al-Saadi (three). In the national categories, contenders include a host of heavyweight names including Eminem, Jack White, Stevie Wonder and Big Sean.

The Detroit Music Awards nominated live singer-songwriter Jill Jack in 2018.

The winners are the culmination of a three-phase process that includes two rounds of voting by music professionals who are active members of the DMA organization.

The switch to the mandolin, meanwhile, promises to be a boon for the virtual show. The service, which debuted at the right time at the start of the pandemic, has grown into a bustling, genre-spanning live music hub. It won Best Streaming Platform at last year’s Pollstar Awards.

DMAs made the jump after mixed results on social media: Although the organization secured all of its song licensing rights before they aired, that didn’t stop copyright bots from Facebook and YouTube sometimes cut the show.

“That’s one of the reasons we went to Mandolin – it’s a private service that won’t be policed ​​by YouTube or Facebook looking for (ostensible) copyright infringement,” says Hertz. “We had to look for a cleaner and safer way. This will address those concerns. »

Contact Detroit Free Press Music Writer Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or [email protected]

31st Detroit Music Awards

8 p.m. Sun.


Detroit Music Awards Online Party

9:15 p.m. Sun.



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