Awards Judging And Eligibility


  • The AIR Independent Music Awards are co-ordinated by AIR (The Australian Independent Record Labels Association), a non-profit, member-owned organisation representing Australia’s independent recording sector.
  • Nominees for the Awards must be released between the period January 1st - December 31st preceding the Awards.
  • All nominees must be Australian artists.
  • All nominees must be self released, or released on an Australian independent label.
  • All nominated master recordings must be entirely owned by an Australian artist or Australian Independent Label.
  • For the purposes of these awards, Australian Independent Labels are businesses that are not owned in part or whole by one of the three major labels.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, if an Australian Independent Label chooses to distribute it’s catalogue through a third-party major label, they will remain eligible for the awards.


  • AIR invites all of its Associate, Full and Distributor members to put forward releases from the eligibility period for a long-list
  • Releases which have charted in the AIR Independent Music Charts during the eligibility period are also eligible for the long-list
  • The long list is presented to a voting academy of approximately 400 judges. The judging pool includes broadcasters (community radio, commercial radio, ABC Radio, music television channels and ABC television), artists, online music media, newspapers, AIR Members and other independent music industry representatives.
  • Judges choose their three favourite releases across categories for Best Artist, Best Album, Best Single or EP, Breakthrough Artist Of The Year, Best Hip Hop Album, Best Country Album, Best Blues & Roots Album, Best Hard Rock, Heavy or Punk Album.
  • There are specialist voting academies for Dance/Electronica Awards as well as Best Jazz Album and Best Classical Album