The Mercury Prize logo
Awarded for Best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland Presented by Barclaycard Location United Kingdom First awarded 1992 Official website http://www.mercuryprize.com/
The Mercury Prize, formerly called the Mercury Music Prize and currently known as the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for sponsorship reasons, is an annual music prize awarded for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was established by the British Phonographic Industry and British Association of Record Dealers in 1992 as an alternative to the Brit Awards. The prize was originally sponsored by Mercury Communications, a brand owned by Cable & Wireless, from which the prize gets its name. It was later sponsored by Technics, from 1998 to 2001, Panasonic, in 2002 and 2003, and the Nationwide Building Society, from 2004 to 2008. Barclaycard became the Prize's current sponsor in March 2009.
Nominations are chosen by a selected panel of musicians, music executives, journalists and other figures in the music industry in the UK and Ireland. Presentation of the award usually takes place in September after the nominations are announced in July. It is often observed that bands whose albums are nominated, or win the prize, experience a large increase in album sales, particularly for lesser known nominees. However, despite being regarded by many as highly prestigious, it has been suggested that having an album nominated for or winning the Mercury Prize could be a curse on a career in music.
The Mercury Prize has a reputation for being awarded to outside chances rather than the favourites. The 1994 award winner was Elegant Slumming by the pop act M People, a controversial decision considering the shortlist included popular albums from Britpop figureheads Paul Weller, Blur and Pulp, and electronica band The Prodigy. Other music journalists critical of the awards stated that the 2005 award should not have been given to Antony and the Johnsons for their album I Am a Bird Now as, while they were British-born, they were based in the United States. In 2006, Isobel Campbell's collaboration with Mark Lanegan, Ballad of the Broken Seas, was included in the shortlist, despite Lanegan being American while Guillemots, whose album was also nominated in 2006, contained band members from Brazil and Canada. The presence of classical, folk and jazz recordings has been cited by some as anomalous, arguing that comparisons with the other nominees can be invidious. Classical acts to have an album nominated have included Sir John Tavener, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Gavin Bryars and Nicholas Maw. None has ever won, and there has not been a shortlisted classical album since 2002.
To date, PJ Harvey is the only artist to have won the award on more than one occasion (in 2001 and 2011). She was also the first female solo artist to receive the award and ties with Radiohead as the most nominated artist, though Radiohead have never won the prize.
Winners and shortlisted nominees
- Choice Music Prize (Ireland)
- Polaris Music Prize (Canada)
- Prix Constantin (France)
- Shortlist Music Prize (United States)
- Australian Music Prize (Australia)
- ^ a b Dann, Trevor (9 September 2003). "'By the time the list is agreed you wonder whether you like music at all'". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/sep/09/marketingandpr.mercuryprize2003. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "Manics lead Mercury shortlist". BBC News. 27 July 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/404980.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "Barclaycard Mercury Prize sponsorship announced". European Sponsorship Association. 30 March 2009. http://www.sponsorship.org/esa2009/membPressDetail.asp?id=551. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- ^ "Mercury Prize 2008". BBC Music. http://www.bbc.co.uk/musicevents/mercuryprize2008/prize/. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- ^ Beech, Mark (9 September 2008). "U.K. Band Elbow Wins Mercury Prize as Judges Surprise Again". Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=aJVsB6IoXBH8. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- ^ Innes, John (15 September 2004). "Band's debut album soars back into charts after Mercury success". The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=940&id=1080702004. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Burrell, Ian (21 July 2004). "Shortlist of 'eccentrics' for Mercury music prize". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/shortlist-of-eccentrics-for-mercury-music-prize-553897.html. Retrieved 23 June 2009. "...the most prestigious prize in the music calendar..."
- ^ Poole, Oliver (8 September 2004). "Scots rockers Ferdinand win Mercury Prize". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3623546/Scots-rockers-Ferdinand-win-Mercury-Prize.html. Retrieved 23 June 2009. "The Mercury Prize, now in its 13th year, is considered the most prestigious in British music..."
- ^ a b "PJ Harvey wins Mercury prize". BBC News. 11 September 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1538877.stm. "...Britain's most prestigious music prize..."
- ^ Gill, Andy (14 July 2006). "Curse of the Mercury". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/curse-of-the-mercury-407786.html. Retrieved 18 June 2009. "...the Mercury Prize has acquired a well-established reputation for destroying its winners' futures..."
- ^ Williamson, Nigel (13 July 2003). "Uneasy listening". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2003/jul/23/artsfeatures.mercuryprize2003. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- ^ Adams, Stephen (5 September 2007). "Amy Winehouse performs at Mercury prize". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1562214/Amy-Winehouse-performs-at-Mercury-prize.html. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- ^ "Ms Dynamite wins Mercury prize". BBC News. 17 September 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2262195.stm. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- ^ Waters, Darren (2 September 2005). "Judging music the Mercury way". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4197994.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Millar, Anna (13 August 2006). "Why Mercury makes Isobel's blood boil at pop industry". The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=940&id=1177592006. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Youngs, Ian (4 December 2003). "Does the Mercury Prize get it right?". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3077975.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Barlow, Karen (26 September 2005). "Inaugural Australian music prize announced". Australian Broadcasting Company. http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1468509.htm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ a b "Antony and Johnsons win Mercury". BBC News. 7 September 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4217140.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Sutherland, Mark. "Who can beat the Arctic Monkeys to win the Mercury Prize?". BBC 6 Music. http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/shows/music_week/debate_mercuryarctics.shtml. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Petridis, Alexis (20 September 2002). "Back to basics". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/mercury2002/story/0,,795354,00.html. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "PJ Harvey wins Mercury Music Prize for second time". BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14815129. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- ^ Gill, Andy (10 September 1992). "The 1992 Mercury Music Prize: Andy Gill looks at the winner of the inaugural Mercury Music Prize". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/rock--the-1992-mercury-music-prize-andy-gill-looks-at-the-winner-of-the-inaugural-mercury-music-prize-1550461.html. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "The London Suede". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/london_suede/artist.jhtml. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Hughes, Jack (18 September 1994). "Cries & Whispers". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/cries--whispers-1449544.html. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ a b c "Mercury winners: where are they now?". Channel 4. 18 July 2007. http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/arts_entertainment/music/mercury+winners+where+are+they+now/605557. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ MacDonald, Marianne (11 September 1996). "Pulp create a different class of award". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/pulp-create-a-different-class-of-award-1362749.html. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "Talvin Singh: Closing the divide". BBC News. 8 September 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/441762.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Youngs, Ian (30 July 2002). "Mercury Prize's guessing game". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2159934.stm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "PJ Harvey wins Mercury prize – after witnessing Pentagon attack". The Guardian. 12 September 2001. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/12/september11.usa5. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (18 September 2002). "Ms Dynamite's victory blasts Mercury norms". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/sep/18/arts.mercuryprize2002. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- ^ Imagee, Matthew (7 September 2004). "Still going strong after Dizzee rise to Mercury's peak". The Scotsman. http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/mercurymusicprize/Still-going-strong-after-Dizzee.2562092.jp. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Barkham, Patrick (8 September 2004). "Mercury rises for art pop of Franz Ferdinand". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/sep/08/arts.mercuryprize2004. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "Arctic Monkeys win 2006 Mercury Music Prize". NME. 5 September 2006. http://www.nme.com/news/nme/24216. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Pidd, Helen (5 September 2007). "Klaxons are the big noise on Mercury awards night". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/sep/05/pop.musicnews. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Paphides, Pete (10 September 2008). "Pete Paphides salutes Elbow's Mercury Prize victory". The Times. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article4720677.ece. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ Swash, Rosie (21 July 2009). "Mercury Prize 2009 Nominations Announced". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jul/21/mercury-prize-2009-nominations-announced. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
- ^ "Mercury Prize 2010 Nominations Announced". NME. 20 July 2010. http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/52132. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- ^ Topping, Alexandra (19 July 2011). "Adele leads Mercury prize 2011 shortlist". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jul/19/adele-leads-mercury-prize-shortlist. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Highs and Lows of the Mercury Prize". BBC News. 20 June 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456975/html/nn1page1.stm. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
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