David Joseph, chairman of Brit Awards 2013, says singer’s speech should never have been cut and hints of planned surprise during his last ceremony at helm

Adele at Brit awards 2012

Adele gave the finger to organisers at the 2012 Brit awards ceremony when her album-of-the-year acceptance speech was cut short. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

When Adele gave her spine-tingling performance of her ballad Someone Like You at the Brits in 2011 a small miracle happened – the boisterous music industry for once fell silent, and listened. Last year, the singer again provided the most talked about moment of the evening by giving a frustrated one-fingered gesture to presenter James Corden after he cut off her acceptance speech for best album to make way for the final performers, Blur.

But at the Brits on Wednesday, the singer, who has dominated the UK and US charts since 2011 despite releasing only the single Skyfall last year, may finally get her moment to thank her fans.

Joseph, who is standing down as chairman after this year’s Brits, promised to go out with a bang. The show, broadcast live on ITV, will feature performances from stadium rockers Muse, Mumford & Sons, who have been nominated for three awards, Justin Timberlake, and Emeli Sandé, who leads the nominations and is up for four awards.

One Direction – who had two of the bestselling albums in the US last year – are nominated for best British group, and will perform One Way Or Another on the night. Robbie Williams, Ben Howard and Taylor Swift will also feature. “I would like to bow out saying we have made a bit of a difference,” said Joseph. “I want it to be great for the artists this year.”

During his three-year tenure, Joseph has overseen some of the biggest changes in Brits’ history: the venue changed to the O2, artists were included in the voting academy, a greater emphasis was given to album of the year, and the Brits statue was designed by well-known artists, this year featuring Damien Hirst‘s trademark spots.

“It think we’ve achieved everything we set out to do, we started off saying it was a bit chaotic and we wanted to make it more about music than about a TV show,” he said. “I think we did manage to make it more like the Grammys, with more gravitas.”

He denied suggestions the awards were too safe. “If people are looking for explosive controversy, we still don’t know what’s going to happen on the night. I’m not encouraging stage invasions, but they are magical moments that happen; no one has control over that.

“The lineup goes from pop to discovery to indie. It’s not dull; it’s a brilliant showcase for music.” The Brits remain important as a showcase for a certain moment in music, he said. “Shop windows and curation are massively needed when there is so much media fragmentation. Plus fans, viewers and, most importantly, artists love awards.”

This year’s Brits will also celebrate a year that saw four of the five best-selling albums in the US come from British artists, and will feature an international success award for the first time. “It’s amazing what is happening with British music overseas. We are thrilled about it, four of the top five is exceptional. It shows good taste,” he said. “When as an industry you realise you have four of the five top-selling acts in America, the only thing you want to do next is have five of the five.”

The UK recorded music industry, one of the first to be hit by the digital revolution and piracy, was turning a corner, but still had some way to go, said Joseph. The record trade association, BPI, revealed that last year digital album sales rose 14.8% to 30.5m, although CD album sales declined 19.5% year on year to 69.4m. Combined sales fell by 11.2% to 100.5m in 2012. “A few years ago we knew were going to go through a rough patch, mainly to do with piracy and the way people were discovering music,” said Joseph. “We have taken massive leaps in the last few years, going from nearly zero to 1 million people paying for subscription music services in the past three years.” Read more about Brit Awards 2013 here: Read more here: http://bit.ly/WQ0dUD

 

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