For those South African rock fans who surf the Net, the MK Awards will be streamed live this Saturday from 8pm. The music channel, which switched from satellite television to the internet last year, will still run the show as if it is broadcast on a bigger screen than a laptop. Again, it will be held at the Pretoria Theatre and artists will be welcomed on the black carpet.
And once again, Van Coke Kartel lead the way with the most nominations – three. They are joined by the industrial rap dance of Bittereinde (pictured), who also have three, as do The Plastics. In the all important Best Music Video category, the eight nominations include these three groups as well as Bicycle Thief, Haezer, PH Fat, Wrestlerish and Shortstraw.
This year MK has introduced a new category, Best Music Video Under 15K. This shows that the internet channel understands its market on the Net and also gives baby artists a chance. The nominees are Al Bairre, Bye Beneco, Moving House, The Plastics and Desmond & The Tutus.
Having noted this change, it is safe to say MK has always under- stood its market and ensured that its awards do the same.
MK has constantly taken an interest in the live side of the music industry, from broadcasting live at festivals like Oppikoppi to hosting its own live shows in clubs and its studios. To this end, the Best Live Act category has six nominees: Bittereinder, Van Coke Kartel, Zebra & Giraffe, Desmond & The Tutus, Jeremy Loops and PH Fat.
The category for Best Festival is a bit unnecessary because there are only so many festivals that cater for the MK audience. The nominees are Up the Creek, Ramfest, Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies and Synergy.
The Album of the Year nominees are Gangs of Ballet, Shortstraw, Bittereinder, The Plastics and Taxi Violence.
MK was originally an Afrikaans channel which attracted English viewers when it extended its airplay to (mostly) English alternative music. However, sticking to its roots, it has a prize for Best Afrikaans Group. Obvious nominees are Van Coke Kartel, Jack Parow, Die Heuwels Fantasties and Dans Dans Lisa. The other two nominees are Die Skynmaagde and Spoegwolf.
In all, there are seven categories and fans were invited to vote on the MK website. Voting closed on January 20. My theory is that Bittereinder might just usurp Van Coke Kartel as the kings of South African rock.
But then again, public voting is such a fickle and unpredictable way of deciding a winner. It all depends on the band’s marketing team and not necessarily the band’s popularity.
What will also be interesting to see is the public and media interest after the awards have been streamed. Will they still have the same significance to artists as when they were on television? Will they have more relevance because they have a new and more direct audience? Or will they be relegated to somewhere on the back burner of maybe, okay, who cares?
And finally, yet again, understanding the short attention span of its audience, the MK Awards will only run for an hour. Go to www.mktv.co.za.