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Featured: A Message from Randall Abrahams MTN SAMA18 CEO

The process of updating and refining the SAMA has been an ongoing activity since the inception of the awards.

It’s an evolutionary process, as the awards have to reflect the state of the South African recording industry and the changing tastes of consumers. As the owner of the awards, RiSA are committed to delivering an exciting awards platform that ultimately rewards artists and those directly involved in the production of music.

One of the many challenges that any awards show faces is that of relevance – for both the general public and the competitors. In a digital age where a plethora of content is available at the press of a button, the delivery of an attractive television show becomes an ever-greater challenge. By the same token, as media and those involved in the recording industry are invited to an increasing number of events, the MTN SAMA weekend has to supply entertainment and hospitality at the highest level. To this end, the idea of downsizing the list of awards has been considered for some time. Hallowed international awards shows - including the prestigious Grammy Awards - have recently reduced their number of categories for entry.

The effect of fewer categories will mean that each award is held in the same esteem but that artists and those involved in the creation of music will have to work harder and compete more effectively if they are to achieve this ultimate accolade. At the same time, the awards weekend will be more focused and the television broadcast can provide audiences with an exciting exposition of the finest musical talent our country has to offer.

This year, just as the process has unfolded in previous years, we held a townhall meeting followed by steering and supervisory committee meetings. At these meetings, RiSA members participated in lengthy discussion about the revision of categories. I’m sure you will appreciate that their task wasn’t easy as they sought to refine the category list.

When reviewing the category list for the MTN SAMA, RiSA have always strived to reach a consensus approach – often this doesn’t prove to be simple as we have to consider a wide range of member interests and ensure that we create a platform that will draw strong public interest. The level of media and public debate regarding the category list also reflects a healthy interest in local music - something that we should all appreciate.

As regards the category list for MTN SAMA 18, RiSA has taken a decision to merge and refine certain genre categories. These changes are clearly outlined in the rules and a spider-diagram appears on our entry site.

In terms of indigenous music genres where the argument is that they can be deemed uniquely South African in spirit, categories have been retained. These categories are best Kwaito album, best Sokkie Dans album and Best Maskandi album.  A total of 32 categories are now open for entry.

Once entries have closed at the end of November, we move directly to the judging process. In terms of the MTN SAMA weekend, we are in advanced discussions with Sun City about the possibility of returning the event to this venue in 2012.

We look forward to a sensational MTN SAMA 18 weekend that rewards our top artists for their musical craft.

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