Tag Archives: The Mercury Music Prize

Yesterday I compared the announcement of the nominations for the Mercury Music Award with the England vs Pakistan Test Match. It may have been a day premature; had the Mercury nominations turned out the same way, the 12th nomination following eleven soundtracks for middle-class dinner parties would have Napalm Death’s Apex Predator: Easy Meat. But it wasn’t.

Posted on by Tim Hall | Comments Off

What is the purpose of music awards?

The announcement of the nominations for the Mercury Music prize along with the press coverage for the Prog Awards begs the question; exactly what is the point of these awards and their associated ceremonies? Are they really about celebrating the best music in all its diversity, or is the whole thing just a PR exercise to sell records? Or just an excuse for a party?

I am more and more of the opinion that it’s the latter. The Mercury, voted on by secretive panel of expects, does seem to have as its prime purpose selling records to the people who buy two or three records a year but like to think they’re far edgier than they really are. Even when I find that for once I actually own one of the nominations. Perhaps that explains why their gig was so full of hipsters?

As for the Prog awards, with half the awards chosen by a committee, and the other half voted by readers who were forced to choose from a seemingly arbitrary shortlist chosen in an opaque manner by the same committee, does winning an award actually mean anything?

But given the way the awards ceremony has gained a lot of favourable press coverage including being reported by the BBC, is quibbling over who did or didn’t get nominated simply is missing the point? Does it matter who the awards went to if it gets progressive music in the press?

Posted in Music Opinion | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The British music scene is made up of multiple overlapping subcultures. The largest of those subcultures is represented by the likes of Later with Jools Holland, the main stage at Glastonbury or the Mercury Music Prize. It thinks of itself as “the mainstream”, but it’s really no less an subculture as the underground prog scene. It doesn’t really represent anything but a tiny fraction of the diversity of music that real people listen to across the country.

Posted on by Tim Hall | 1 Comment

The Mercury Music Prize is not about celebrating the best of British music in all it’s diversity. It’s about selling records to people who know nothing about music but want to appear cool and sophisticated.

Posted on by Tim Hall | Comments Off