The Gramophone Awards – four decades of celebration … and change

Editor Martin Cullingford reflects on 40 years of the Gramophone Awards

This year the Gramophone Awards marks its 40th anniversary. Beginning as a new addition to a magazine of substantial vintage, the Awards have now been a crucial part of Gramophone for longer than many of you may have been readers (and, for that matter, longer – just – than its present day editor has been alive!). Founded at the tail end of the so-called ‘golden era’ of recording (and I add in the caveat not to bring into question the quality of that period’s music-making, but because so much from the decades since stands up worthily alongside it), we find ourselves today at a time when the very nature of recording, as an art, as an industry, as a way of listening, is undergoing immense change.

As our winning and shortlisted recordings show, today’s focus remains primarily on album-length releases, a format shaped by the capacity of a physical product. Yet even for those who access music in an entirely virtual way, this still – I’d argue – defines how people generally think of a recording. But for how long I wonder? Various labels have ......

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