The Brit Awards have decided to increase the number of nominees for best artist to 10, following criticism for having an all-male lineup in 2023.

The organizers of the Brit Awards have announced that they will increase the number of nominees for gender-neutral categories in response to backlash regarding a lack of diversity.

The organizers of the yearly music awards announced that the categories for artist of the year and international artist of the year will now have 10 nominees starting next year, which is an increase from the previous five.

In January, there was backlash after it was announced that the best artist award, which had replaced separate categories for male and female artists two years prior, did not include any female nominees.

The BPI, organizers of the British Phonographic Industry Awards, have announced the implementation of extended shortlists for the 2023 ceremony. These shortlists were developed through extensive consultation and have the goal of promoting representation and inclusion.

The British will now include R&B in their list of music genres, which already includes alternative/rock, dance, pop, and hip-hop/grime/rap.

In the past, R&B musicians were required to participate in a merged pop/R&B group, which was controlled by popular celebrities. In reaction, singer Mahalia made an appearance at this year’s award show donning a Burberry jacket with the phrase “R&B Forever” written on the back.

The organizers have announced that the eligibility for the new genre award will now span 24 months instead of the usual 12 months. This change was made to ensure that artists who were not recognized last year will have a chance to qualify.

On Friday, Mahalia expressed to BBC News her thoughts on the significant transformation. She stated, “When the [merged] group was revealed a couple of years back, I was disheartened for the younger R&B musicians who would believe that a Brit nomination was out of reach.” She also added, “I was personally feeling that as well. Being included in a longlist with massive art pop artists, I was unsure of how I would stand out.”

The CEO of BPI, Jo Twist, stated: “Our organization is dedicated to ensuring that the show is as all-inclusive and diverse as possible. The modifications to this year’s categories are a continuous effort towards progress and we will keep assessing, listening, and improving.”

Twist expressed disappointment that there were no female nominees for the 2023 artist of the year award.

The recipient of last year’s top artist prize was Harry Styles, who used his speech to honor a group of talented female vocalists. He acknowledged his privilege and dedicated the award to Rina Sawayama, Charli XCX, Florence Welch, Mabel, and Becky Hill.

After singer Sam Smith publicly identified as non-binary and began using they/them pronouns, gender-neutral categories were implemented. The BPI responded to the situation by deciding to eliminate gender-specific categories, a decision that was widely applauded as being necessary and well-timed.

The choice did not promptly result in women being excluded: in 2022, Adele was awarded the best artist prize and expressed in her speech: “I comprehend the reason for the modification of this award’s name, but I am proud to be a woman and a female artist.”

This year, the nominees were Styles, Stormzy, Central Cee, Fred Again and George Ezra. In an interview, Smith criticised the list, saying: “There’s so much incredible talent in the UK – they should be on that list.”

Following the 2023 ceremony, the BPI declared its plans to evaluate the nomination procedure and assess whether any modifications were necessary to better support women.

On Friday, the organisers also announced that the British visual artist Rachel Jones would be the trophy designer for the 2024 awards, which will be held on 2 March at London’s O2 Arena.

Past recipients of the awards have included renowned artists such as Damien Hirst, Vivenne Westwood, Sir Peter Blake, and Zaha Hadid.