As reported last week, the Australian Music Prize had undergone changes to its entry guidelines – including scrapping the $95 entry fee – with further “tweaks” to the submission process to be added. Today, more of those plans have been announced with AMP officially opening for submisions. Organisers have made entry into the 2012 music competition easier still, with the introduction of allowing digital submissions of albums.

The Music reports that along with today’s opening of submissions also comes the official announcement of a partnership with D-Star Digital, which is using its online music delivery services to ensure artists can submit albums digitally. 

The traditional entry process to the AMP only allowed a minimum of ten physical CDs to be considered for submission, but the new sponsorship has been developed to simplify entry to the competition.

Director of D-Star Digital’s parent company Shooting Star Pictures, Peter Skillman, said in a statement today that “We are absolutely thrilled to have D-Star’s DMDS audio system as the delivery mechanism for The 8th AMP.” Adding that, “[We have] always been a great supporter of Australian music. Our exclusive arrangement with AIR and all the major Australian label distributors for the delivery of audio tracks via our DMDS audio system, is testament to our commitment,” says Skillman.

Mess And Noise praised AMP’s organisers for moving ‘into the 21st century’, including a statement from founder and prize director Scott Murphy saying, “we’re simplifying the process for artists and going digital.” They also pointed out that AMP’s partners will still accept physical copies for those without access to the DMDS service, and only require one copy now instead of the previous ten.

Originally formed in 2005, the AMP is considered the equivalent of the UK’s Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, in that recognises an Australian artist with a cash prize based on the decision of a judging panel charged with selecting the Australian Album of the Year.

The inaugural winner was The Drones, for Wait Long By The River And The Bodies of You Enemies Will Float By in 2005. Other previous prize recipients include Augie March (for Moo, You Bloody Choir in 2006), Lisa Mitchell (for Wonder in 2009) and The Jezabels, who took home $30,000 donated by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited (PPCA). A win that split public opinion so fiercely that The Jezabels felt it necessary to issue a statement with their acceptance of the 2010 priz for Prisoner.

Some  regard the new changes to the AMP as a direct response to the criticisms surrounding the quartet’s win. The new digital submission platform enables a further democratisation of the prize, following last week’s removal of the $95 entry fee in the hopes that it would encourage a larger number of entrants, with a wider pool of artists and genres, to consider entering into the prize.

The new D-Star Digital-enabled DMDS platform also means that artists and their label and management aren’t the only ones who can enter submissions, technically, any person can register to the service and enter their own Australian release they think is worthy for consideration.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and get your ‘Ricki-Lee Coulter – Freedom And Fear for AMP 2012′ campaign started today!*

(*don’t actually do this)

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