Award categories included: Africa, Asia/Pacific, Americas, Europe, Mid East and North Africa, Newcomer, Culture Crossing, Club Global, Album of the Year, and Audience Award. Initial lists of nominees in each category were selected annually by a panel of several thousand industry experts. Shortlisted nominees were voted on by a twelve-member jury, which selected the winners in every category except for the Audience Award category. These jury members were appointed and presided over by the BBC.
The annual awards ceremony was held at various venues including the Ocean in Hackney, Sage in Gateshead, the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Brixton Academy and finally at the BBC Proms.
In March 2009, the BBC made a decision to axe the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music.
The WOMEX Award was first introduced in 1999 to honour the high points of world music on an international level and to acknowledge musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact and lifetime achievement.
Every October at the WOMEX event, the award figurine - an ancient mother goddess statue dating back about 6000 years to the Neolithic age - is presented in an award ceremony to a worthy member of the world music community.
The World Music Awards is an international awards show founded in 1989 that annually honors recording artists based on worldwide sales figures provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).