Submissions open for the SO.CO Image of Music Awards – The Independent

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The second annual SO.CO Image of Music Awards has opened to submissions from photographers of all abilities, with seven categories available to enter.

The Independent is the official news partner of this year’s event, which was born out of a desire to champion those often-unsung heroes behind the lens.

The inaugural awards in 2023 saw photographers from around the world sending in their work.

One of the top gongs, for Image of the Year, went to Belinda Enthoven. She snapped an incredible moment where McFly singer Tom Fletcher arched back and stretched out his hand to the audience, during a performance at the O2 Arena in London.

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Neil Lupin, who has photographed stars including Rihanna, Madonna and AC/DC, was announced as the first recipient of the Music Photographer of the Year.

Each was selected from a shortlist of 10 by an expert panel.

This year’s ceremony will feature seven categories, including the brand new Young Music Photographer of the Year.

Neil Lupin’s shot of Liam Gallagher performing with Oasis at Wembley Stadium, 2009

Winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony taking place at Amazing Grace in London on 26 March 2024.

The Independent’s partnership demonstrates the global news brand’s commitment to supporting and celebrating talent through the music ecosystem.

The three open-entry categories for this year are:

  • Image of Music “People’s Choice” Award 2024 
  • Music Photographer of the Year  
  • Young Music Photographer of the Year – a new category that shines a spotlight on emerging talent under the age of 23.  

The other four categories are:

  • Venue of the Year 
  • Innovation of the Year 
  • Must See Artist of the Year  
  • Legend Award 

Entries are now open, with submissions closing on 31 January 2024. Public voting will open in early February.

Guidelines and further information is available at

The Independent will be supporting the awards with editorial and news, with The Independent’s music editor Roisin O’Connor on the judging panel.

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The relationship follows recent Independent partnerships with Montreux Jazz Festival, The Great Escape, Forest Live and Black Deer, and demonstrates the news brand’s commitment to using its huge platform to support and celebrate talent, spaces and events throughout the arts ecosystem. More partnerships are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Vince Bannon, SO.CO CEO and co-founder, said: “I am thrilled to announce our music photography awards will return for its second year under the new title SO.CO Image of Music Awards!

“We were blown away by the entries, enthusiasm, and the interaction around the inaugural awards. At SO.CO, our aim is to celebrate the music photographers behind the lens and seeing a packed room in London with nominees and worthy winners telling their stories was the highlight of the year.

“We are delighted to bring the awards back bigger and better in 2024, it’s going to be a great night!”

The Independent’s music editor, Roisin O’Connor, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the SO.CO Image of Music Awards, which provides an important new platform for artists to showcase their talent and shine a light on everything we love about music.

“The Independent is committed to covering all aspects of the music industry, and we can’t wait to see the fantastic submissions for this year’s event.”

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