Artist News Awards Brands & Merch Business News

Hyundai signs on to sponsor Mercury Prize

By | Published on Tuesday 10 May 2016

Mercury Prize

The Mercury Prize has a new sponsor, having been without a brand partner last year, resulting in a stripped back awards show that felt much more like a BBC TV programme than a major awards event.

But Hyundai is now on board as sponsor for 2016, meaning there’ll be a bigger finale bash, which is due to take place at the Hammersmith Apollo in September. There’ll also be some new elements to the proceedings, in particular a public poll after the initial shortlist of twelve albums is announced in August, so that some of those music fans we keep hearing about these days have a say on what is deemed the greatest British/Irish album of the year.

Which sounds like a terrible idea to me, but don’t worry, a panel of so-called experts will still pick the overall winner. And this year’s judging panel will seemingly have far more music-makers involved than in the past, including Jarvis Cocker, Kate Tempest, Jamie Cullum, Naughty Boy and Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice.

A public vote and more celebs on the auspicious judging panel? It’s almost as if Team Mercury have been meddling with the methodology to make the whole thing more big-bucks-brand friendly. The former marketers of the late great Mercury Telecommunications would be well proud.

“2016 marks the start of a new era of innovation for the Mercury Prize, as we begin a dynamic new partnership with Hyundai”, says Mercury Award MD Dan Ford. “We are particularly excited about the evolution of the judging process, including the introduction of a diverse new panel and a fan poll. The changes will enable music fans to play a part in the process for the first time, whilst ensuring that the Prize maintains its reputation for celebrating the best British and Irish albums, based solely on artistic merit”.

Meanwhile the marketing man from Hyundai, David Pugh, said: “Hyundai Motor is proud to be part of the continuing history of the Mercury Prize as its new title sponsor. We love the fact that this strong and relevant partnership reflects the pioneering spirit of our brand by celebrating and promoting innovation in music, bringing the best of the UK and Irish scene to the world”.

Pioneering spirits all round, I say.