1993 World Music Awards.

Some of the biggest names of the music industry turned out for the May 12th taping of the 1993 World Music Awards in Monte Carlo. The awards show, in its first year on American television, was broadcast June 1st as a 90-minute prime-time special on ABC, making it the first European awards ceremony ever to air on U.S. network television.

Millions of music lovers all over the country tuned in to watch the star-studded TV spectacular, hosted by Michael Douglas. Michael Jackson dominated the proceedings, taking away the three most important awards: best selling American artist of the year, world’s best-selling recording artist of the year and world’s best-selling recording artist of the era. The latter award has never before been presented in the history of music award shows.

The World Music Awards show is still in the process of being broadcast to more than 70 other territories around the world, including all of North and South America, Japan and most of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, several countries in the Middle East, Africa and all of Europe. Whereas other American music-award shows with huge audiences don’t air in certain major territories like the U.K. and Italy – and tend to air on satellite and pay-per-view stations late at night in Europe, reaching only a few hundred thousand viewers – the World Music Awards air prime-time on the top-rated terrestrial networks in each territory, reaching millions of European homes.

The Independent Television network in Great Britain aired the complete two-hour show May 31st at 10:20 p.m., reaching an audience of over 4 million. The worldwide total audience of this awards event is estimated at 500 million.

The World Music Awards is the only truly international music ceremony in the world today, honoring the world’s best-selling artists in various categories and the best-selling national artists from the major record-buying countries around the world. The awards are supported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), whose national member associations provide the organization with the names of their overall best-selling artists and groups. In Germany, Italy and Spain, the results are supplied by the leading national music magazines Der Musikmarkt, Musica & Dichi and Showpress. These awards are unique in that the results are based on year-end record sales; hence it is the record-buying music fans who determined the winners.

The winners of the special awards presented to the world’s best-selling artists in the various categories are determined after thorough research conducted by the Media Research Information Bureau and the Music Industry Research organization on IFPI sales figures, platinum/gold record certifications for the past year and record company royalty statistics.

Garth Brooks, the world’s best-selling country artist of the year, thanked his music fans in a satellite link-up from the U.S. Eric Clapton was also honored, as the best-selling British recording artist of the year and the world’s best-selling rock artist of the year. Sir John Morgan, president of IFPI, presented a very special award to the world’s overall best-selling artists of the year, Michael Jackson, for having sold 17 million units of Bad worldwide. Morgan took the opportunity to make an appeal for continued support from the public to assist IFPI in its battle to destroy piracy, which is still the biggest problem in the music industry today.

The close link with record sales has meant that the World Music Awards have become a standard-bearer in the fight against record piracy. Pirate recordings stand at around 500 million units a year. This major erosion of the industry’s market is now costing in excess of $1.5 billion a year. Morgan defined piracy as “a global problem, from Latin America to Africa to Europe. What we need in these areas are tough copyright laws accompanied by strong enforcement practices in territories as wide-ranging as those from which the award winners are drawn.”

The countries from which the award winners come are certainly wide-ranging. Some of these artists are huge in their own territories but not necessarily famous internationally. The World Music Awards give these artists a chance to introduce themselves to other major record-buying territories. For example, Japanese superstars Chage & Aska sell nearly 5 million albums a year in Japan against the 350,000 units sold by U.S. superstars. Westernhagen is the biggest German solo act ever to come out of Germany, but the international record-buying public has yet to hear his music.

Laime, the Russian wonder who has just been signed to GRP, sold 1.8 million albums in the former Soviet Union during the past year. Other artists have managed to secure success internationally, such as Cuban-born Jon Secada, who stormed to the top of the charts in Every European country and has sold over 3 million albums in the past year – an incredible achievement for a Latin American artist. Dutch duo 2 Unlimited reached No.1 all over Europe and stayed five weeks at No.1 in the U.K. with the hit single No Limit. They have been consistently on the Billboard Hot Dance chart over the past year.

Belgian multi-platinum group Vaya Con Dios sold well over a million copies of their new album, Time Flies, all over Europe, and Nigerian-born Dr. Alban had the second-best-selling single of the year in Europe. Italian rock star Zucchero, a major pan-European success, has still not broken in English-speaking territories, but PolyGram is confident he will.

Apart from the world’s best-selling artists in the various categories and the national best-selling artist award-winners, five artists were honored with special panel awards. Country act Billy Ray Cyrus accepted his award by satellite as international new artist of the year. He is the best-selling international newcomer of the past year, having sold over 6 million albums worldwide. Multi-platinum act Boyz II Men took a bow as international new group of the year after performing their worldwide hit End Of The Road. Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Luciano Pavarotti were presented with “legend” awards for their lifelong contributions to the music industry.

The royal patronage of the show has been a tradition since the World Music Awards started in 1989. Prince Albert is one of the patrons of the Princess Grace Foundation. Each year, 100 percent of the proceeds from the show’s ticket sales are donated to the Foundation. Since it was set up by Princess Grace of Monaco, the organization has raised millions of dollars in the U.S. and in Monaco. The American foundation helps aspiring young artists by providing scholarships and funds for their training. The Princess Grace Foundation in Monaco helps elderly people in need and underprivileged children.

1993 World Music Awards artist citations

* ABBA – Best-Selling Swedish Recording Artists Of The year: The best-selling Swedish act of all time, ABBA dominated the world charts from 1974 to 1982. Last year ABBA Gold was remastered and re-released; it features all nine of the group’s singles that topped the charts worldwide in the 1970s. The new package has sold over 3 million units in the past year. Though the story of ABBA the performing group is over, the popularity of their hits endures.

* A-HA – Best-Selling Norwegian Recording Artists Of The Year: A-HA really, put Norway on the map in a musical sense. Combined album sales are 15 million, and the band has racked up many hits and increasingly bigger tours – they were the only group to fill the 200,000-seat stadium at Rock In Rio. Last year A-HA released Headlines & Deadlines, collecting the hits of four different albums and six years of chart success.

* U2 – Best-Selling Irish Recording Artists Of The Year; World’s Best-Selling Concert Act Of The Year: U2 was formed in 1978, when its members were pupils at Dublin’s Mount Temple school. They’ve since stormed the international charts and won numerous awards. The Joshua Tree sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and was followed by the multi-platinum Rattle And Hum (1988) and Achtung Baby (late 1991). U2 is also the world’s leading ticket-seller, playing live to more than 2.5 million.

* Bryan Adams – Best-Selling Canadian Recording Artist Of The Year: Bryan Adams is one of the few Canadian artists to burst on to the international rock scene and stay there. Waking Up The Neighbours, with more than 10 million unit sales worldwide, has been the best-selling Canadian album for two successive years. The single Everything I Do, I Do It For You was the world’s best-selling single in 1991 and the biggest-selling single in A&M Records’ history.

* Tina Turner – Lifelong Contribution To The Music Industry: For the past decade, Tina Turner has generated more excitement onstage than has any other female rock star. An international phenomenon, she has electrified the great rock arenas of the world, drawing more than 3 million fans to her most recent European concerts – the most successful tour yet on the continent. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide in her solo career. Born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tenn., in 1939, she was discovered by musical guru Ike Turner in 1958 and became internationally famous in 1965 with River Deep, Mountain High. After her break with Ike, she made a dazzling comeback in the 1980s. She still holds the Guinness record for drawing the largest paying crowd for a solo artist: 182,0000 at Brazil’s Maracana Stadium in 1988.

* Michael Jackson – Best-Selling American Recording Artist Of The Year; World’s Best-Selling Recording Artist Of The Year & World’s Best-Selling Recording Artist Of The Era.
* Rod Stewart – Lifelong Contribution To The Rock Industry.
* Luciano Pavarotti – World’s Best-Selling Classical Artist Of The Year & Lifelong Contribution To Classical Music.
* Eric Clapton – Best-Selling British Recording Artist Of The Year & Best-Selling Rock Artist Of The Year.
* Guns n’ Roses – World’s Best-Selling Hard Rock Artists Of The Year & World’s Best-Selling Group Of The Year.
* Garth Brooks – World’s Best-Selling Country Artist Of The Year.
* Boyz II Men – Best International New Group Of The Year.
* Billy Ray Cyrus – Best International New Artist Of The Year.
* Dr. Alban – Best-Selling African Recording Artist Of The Year.
* INXS – Best-Selling Australian Recording Artists Of The Year.
* Vaya Con Dios – Best-Selling Belgian Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Hanne Boel – Best-Selling Danish Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Mylene Farmer – Best-Selling French Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Westernhagen – Best-Selling German Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Yanni – Best-Selling Greek Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Zucchero – Best-Selling Italian Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Chage & Aska – Best-Selling Japanese Recording Artists Of The Year.
* Jon Secada – Best-Selling Latin American Recording Artist Of The Year.
* 2 Unlimited – Best-Selling Dutch Recording Artists Of The Year.
* Jenny Morris – Best-Selling New Zealand Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Laima – Best-Selling Russian Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Julio Iglesias – Best-Selling Spanish Recording Artist Of The Year.
* Stephan Eicher – Best-Selling Swiss Artist Of The Year.Transcribed for ABBA World

Billboard (USA) · 5 June 1993 (Pages 63 & 64)


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