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Mercury Prize to return to the BBC

By | Published on Thursday 9 July 2015

Mercury Music Prize

The Mercury Prize is heading back to the BBC after a three year stint with Channel 4. Mercury bosses decided that Team C4 smell funny, wear unpleasant trousers and are a little bit racist. Possibly.

Under the new deal the annual album of the year award will be covered via the BBC’s radio, TV and digital platforms, so, full marks for multi-media nonsense. Though there’ll be no big awards show it seems. Presumably after winning the Beef Of The Week accolade last year, there was nowhere left for the Mercury awards bash to go.

This year the shortlist announcement will be made on BBC Radio 6 Music on 16 Oct, with the overall winner revealed on both the radio station and the BBC Four TV channel on 20 Nov. There will also be a series of studio sessions from shortlisted artists. Oh, and the BPI is getting more involved. And Lauren Laverne is still doing stuff. Did we say that already?

Now, a lot of quotes accompanied this announcement. Here are all five of them. The overall winning quote will be announced at a ceremony next month. To book your table, please send £4000 to CMU and we’ll tell you all the details later. We’re not backing away from big over-priced award shows. Promise.

Dan Ford, Mercury Prize Managing Director: “The announcement of this extensive BBC partnership and support from the BPI and the wider music community is an exciting first step in the development of a new long-term vision for the Mercury Prize that will help to ensure and extend its relevance to a new generation of music fans for years to come. As the Prize approaches its landmark 25th anniversary, it is increasingly important that we work with broadcast partners and music organisations that share our passion for the award’s values in order to help us achieve the broadest possible reach and profile”.

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Music: “From burgeoning new talent to global superstars, BBC Music celebrates and supports British music on every scale and form, so a partnership with the esteemed Mercury Prize is a natural and exciting fit. Our programming will reflect the diversity of the Prize and will feature performances and interviews from the twelve shortlisted acts”.

Lauren Laverne: “I have a long history with the Mercury Prize and couldn’t be happier to be involved with it in 2015 as it returns to the BBC as a part of BBC Music. It’s a fantastic celebration of Britain’s vibrant, diverse music scene”.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive: “The Mercury Prize is an important part of our cultural landscape, recognising and celebrating the finest British and Irish albums released every year, regardless of genre, fashion or commercial success – it’s the Man Booker or Turner Prize for music. The BPI is passionate about supporting new British music, and having helped to establish the Prize in 1992, we’re delighted to be working with the Mercury Prize team alongside BBC Music and the wider music community to help develop its long-term future”.

David Wilkinson, Mercury Prize Chairman: “We welcome this opportunity to work with the BBC to broaden engagement with the Prize whilst ensuring that its editorial independence and integrity remains at the heart of its ethos. The eclecticism and excellence the Prize has come to represent is key to its future development as an important platform for British and Irish new music talent”.

It’s going to be a tough choice for our ‘best quotage’ judges, I think you’ll agree. Though no tougher than the challenge facing the actual Mercury judging panel, who will have to choose from twelve contenders. Speaking of which, today is the day that submissions start being accepted from artists and labels who reckon they have a record that should contend. So if you’ve got an album you think might be in with a chance, probably enter it, I’d say.