Mercury Music Prize 2019

Looking at it, its £200 to submit, but further costs are if you’re shortlisted, but there’s precious little on the public record about what those exactly are.

This from 2013 has some pretty negative quotes by MJ from Hookworms (ugh, sorry), although this Vice piece from 2014 suggests it isn’t that bad

I do suspect the willingness by those on mid-sized labels is pretty variable, particularly when the winner is quite hard to pick and even that for some genres it may not guarantee you a decent sales boost, even if you do win (remember Speech DeBelle, lol)

Don’t think you need to spoiler the name of someone who turned out to be a terrible person to be honest

Though I work for a publisher I can never remember what the costs are for submitting a book for the Booker Prize or for being shortlisted etc. I wonder how it compares.

Hah, just felt a bit dirty typing that out tbh, was really hoping to find someone else on record…

Is there a pretty reliable sales bump from being shortlisted / winning the Booker? Wonder if people who take notice of that are more likely to take a punt on something than the equivalent Mercury viewer.

You have to pay for each person outside the band to sit at the table you’re on aswell. Like £100+ each or something daft. So forget your partners, close mates and record label buddies i you’re on an indie.

I remember hearing about Field Music hiring a function room in the pub over the road from the awards instead of spending money on a table, then popping back in just in time when the winner was announced. After that, they went back to the pub to hang out with their partners and mates.

Fair play.


There is a sales bump (we had our first shortlisted book in ages a few years ago and we did reprint it a few times, even though it was the least regarded on the shortlist), definitely more so than the Mercury gives, though of course it varies. I think the Booker is better regarded though than the Mercury.

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The Booker has a clear idea of what it is - it simply a prize for the best literary fiction of the year. You can argue about the validity of that and (of course) you can disagree about whether they pick the right books, but at least it is clear what they are trying to do. They don’t try to cover every single genre in the shortlist, or desperately try to stay hip by picking the hottest new debut books. If you buy a book that’s won or been nominated for the Booker you’ve got a pretty good idea what you are going to be getting - you couldn’t possibly say the same for the Mercury.


Think with the booker, each publisher submits two(?) books, all previous shortlisted authors within the last 5-10(?) years are automatically submitted, and the judges can also call-in books to form the submissions. Think there’s usually something like 80-100 books that then all have to be (ostensibly!) read by the judging panel. Not sure if there’s any cost to the publisher.

Not sure this model could really extend to the Mercury… But it’s a different beast – listening to music is so much quicker than reading a novel.

On Monday from 4-6pm on Soho Radio I’m going to be playing some of my predictions and pondering the past of the Prize with one of this year’s judges. Expect plenty of tracks from the above to be spun.


Think these are the qualifying albums in my collection (handily 12 for the shortlist although don’t think any will be on it).

Mogwai - Kin OST
Tirzah - Devotion
Klara Lewis & Simon Fisher Turner - Care
Teresa Winter - What the Night is For
Mica Levi & Eliza McCarthy - Slow Dark Green Murky Waterfall
Radiophonic Workshop - Possum OST
Pye Corner Audio - Hollow Earth
Thom Yorke - Suspiria OST
Little Simz - Grey Area
PJ Harvey - All About Eve OST
Cate Le Bon - Reward
Vanishing Twin - The Age of immunology

Of those I think Little Simz might make the shortlist and Cate Le Bon might (and ought to). Vanishing Twin ought to but don’t have a hope in hell.


From those seemingly in with a shout O would personally like to see Self Esteem get it. I’d also love to see Haiku Salut get nominated but I think that’s unlikely.

Reckon it will be Idles though, although a glance at latest odds (below for anyone interested) shows Dave as favourite.


Olly Murs?

I was about to make a joke but I realised it’s an incredibly obscure inside joke I have with my old housemates and not a DiSism

Here’s the Mercury Special I recorded today:

First hour featured some of my predictions as to who could feature on this year’s shortlist. And kicked off with last year’s winner.

  1. Wolf Alice - Sky Musings
  2. The 1975 - Love It If We Made It
  3. The Twilight Sad - The Arbor
  4. Gazelle Twin - Hobby Horse
  5. Slowthai - Doorman
  6. Little Simz - Selfish
  7. Soak - I Was Blue, Technicolour Too
  8. Villagers - Long Time Waiting
  9. Snapped Ankles - Rechargeable
  10. Anna Calvi - As A Man
  11. Erland Cooper - Creels
  12. Kathryn Joseph - IIII
  13. Idlewild - Almost Didn’t Notice
  14. Stealing Sheep - Show Love (Instrumental)
  15. Self Esteem - Rollout

In the second hour I was joined by Danielle Perry, who aside from her great shows for Absolute Radio was also a judge for the Mercury Prize last year. We discussed the award in years gone by, the best ever shortlist, the hardest year to have been a judge and more.

  1. Loyle Carner - Ain’t Nothing Changed
  2. PJ Harvey - Long Snake Moan
  3. Portishead - Roads
  4. Gemma Hayes - Tear In My Side
  5. Ed Harcourt - Beneath The Heart of Darkness
  6. Blur - No Distance Left to Run
  7. Death in Vegas - Dirge
  8. David Bowie - ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore

Still Mug Museum for me Clive

Villagers could be a good shout actually. Nominated before and the latest is pretty strong imo. Can’t remember how much UK press it got though

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The judges include Stormzy and Gaz Coombes this year

The debut’s still my favourite

Jamie Cullum can’t keep getting away with this

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The 1975
Black Midi
Fontaines DC
Anna Calvi
Cate Le Bon
Little Simz
Seed Ensemble


Yes good! None of them will win though. It’ll go to Idles or the 1975 or something shit like that won’t it?