Mercury Prize 2020

I think the other thing, if I was judging it, is that there’s £25k (I think) on the line for the winner…even if I truly thought The 1975 or Arctic Monkeys or Noel Gallagher deserved to win on merit, I couldn’t help but think I should plump for somebody who that money could make an actual difference to

They’re specifically told not to do this and just it on the quality of album alone, apparently. I would be tempted to do it as well but ultimately, as people have said about Nadine’s tweet, it’s not a musician’s charity.

I mean it’s not like they have a history of giving the award to the hugely commercially successful acts

Plus the costs of attending the ceremony if nominated (£500 a seat) and advertising campaigns, producing more stock, etc. It can add up to easily a few thousand pounds if not more, which is definitely enough to put smaller acts/labels off entering.

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Scanning the list of UK albums I’ve enjoyed this year: Georgia, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blossoms, Pet Shop Boys, La Roux, J Hus, Porridge Radio, Dua Lipa, Sorry, Mystery Jets, Humanist, EOB, The 1975, Westerman, The Cool Greenhouse, Sports Team, Jessie Ware, Nadine Shah.

I remember Mercury used to put out a compilation album of the nominees in 90s. Probably doesn’t happen now and not sure how much an artist’s profile/profits are raised by a nomination nowadays.

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Kiwanuka will be a shoe-in for a nomination I think, fine record that speaks to the times (more now than when it came out) and holds dual Radio 2/6Music appeal

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How on earth do acts like Seed Ensemble manage to be submitted then? Maybe all the token jazz nominees are on labels who save up specifically for Mercury submissions to get that token jazz slot.

Last year the increased sales stats for nominees was pretty varied:

https://www.musicweek.com/talent/read/mercury-prize-data-dump-which-nominees-have-seen-the-biggest-boost-so-far/077474

Also interestingly the article notes Island Records is the most nominated label with 24 since the Mercury’s began - hardly a small independent.

I’m guessing most jazz labels know it’s worth a punt because there’s generally always a spot reserved for a jazz act. If you’re one of the key jazz releases that year with decent Guardian-y coverage (eg Seed Ensemble, Sons of Kemet, Comet Is Coming) then you’ve got a higher chance of being selected than an electronic record on Hyperdub or whatever.

Yeah but about half of those shortlisted albums are PJ Harvey and Florence and the Machine