About The Prize
WHAT IS THE MERCURY PRIZE?
The Mercury Prize for Album of the Year is the music equivalent to the Booker Prize for literature and the Turner Prize for art.
The main objectives of the Mercury Prize are to provide a snapshot of the year in music, to encourage debate and discussion about music, and to help introduce new albums from a variety of musical genres to a wider audience.
HOW MANY CATEGORIES ARE THERE?
2016 sees the introduction of a new finalists phase on the night of the Awards Show. The first finalist will be selected by online poll, which will enable music fans to select the first of six 2016 finalists from the 12 shortlisted albums. The five remaining finalists will be chosen by the Mercury Prize Judging Panel, which bases its decisions solely on artistic merit.
WHEN DID THE MERCURY PRIZE START?
WHAT DO THE ARTISTS WIN?
More significantly the Prize can ignite public awareness of the winning album, and dramatically increase the profiles of all the shortlisted artists.
WHO CHOOSES THE SHORTLIST?
The judges’ decisions are based solely on the quality of the music on the albums. They do not take into account commercial sales, chart success, record label, live performances etc.
HOW ARE THE SIX FINALISTS AND THE OVERALL WINNER SELECTED?
The same judging panel meets again at the winner's announcement to choose the overall ‘Album of the Year’. This can be a long process and, as always, the judges base their decision solely on the quality of the music on the album.
WHO ARE THE JUDGES?
The full 2016 judging panel is:
Clara Amfo – Broadcaster
Jarvis Cocker - Musician and Songwriter
Jamie Cullum - Musician and Broadcaster
Harriet Gibsone - Music News Editor; The Guardian/TheGuardian.com
Will Hodgkinson - Chief Rock & Pop Critic The Times
Shahid Khan aka Naughty Boy - Musician, Songwriter and Producer
Annie Mac - DJ and Broadcaster
Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice - Musician and Songwriter
Kate Tempest - Musician, Poet and Author
Jessie Ware - Musician and Songwriter
Jeff Smith - Head of Music, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2
The judging facilitator is Simon Frith - Professor of Music, Edinburgh University.
HOW IS THE INTEGRITY OF THE JUDGING PROCESS PROTECTED?
The results of any voting by the judges are not published. This is to ensure that all albums are always viewed as being equal and that no ranking system is employed at any stage of the process. All of the shortlisted artists are treated as having produced an ‘Album of the Year’.
None of the organisers are members of the judging panel or cast any votes. It is the discussions and votes of the judging panel that determine which albums progress within the judging process.
Since the Prize began no other organisation, including sponsors or broadcasters has exerted any influence over the judging process or shortlist / winner decisions.
One of the founding principles of the Mercury Prize is that all music be treated equally regardless of genre. This principle is followed at every stage of the entry and judging process.
WHY DON’T I HEAR MORE ABOUT THE ORGANISATION BEHIND THE PRIZE?
In order to ensure that as much media coverage as possible is concentrated on the artists and their music, it has been a policy since the Prize began that the production company behind the Prize does not engage in any publicity or PR activity other than that which directly benefits the artists that it’s promoting. The focus of the Mercury Prize is always on the music and the artists and their albums.
WHERE DO THE ENTRIES COME FROM?
Every year the UK music industry enters around 250 albums for the Prize ranging from well-established artists to new and emerging ones
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ENTRY CRITERIA?
Albums by British and Irish artists with a UK digital release date between Saturday 26 September 2015 and Friday 29 July 2016 (inclusive) are eligible for the ‘2016 Albums of the Year’ competition. Albums need to be available to buy as a digital download throughout the UK from at least one of the following retailers - 7Digital, Amazon MP3, Google Play or iTunes.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ENTER?
The fee to enter an album for the Prize is £190 + VAT. The fee helps cover the administrative costs associated with the process.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER FEES?
There are no additional fees or requests made for any other contributions or payments.