BPI to 'shine more light' on the Mercury Prize judging process

Mercury Prize

The BPI want to “shine more light” on the Hyundai Mercury Prize's judging process in future years.

Ahead of Thursday’s (September 20) ceremony, which will see the panel of musicians, media and broadcasters decide the 2018 winner on the night, those behind the award have told Music Week that they are looking at ways to reveal more of what goes on in the judging room.

“Something that I would like us to do, which we may not be able to do this year because it’s a journey with the judges, but I’d like to shine more of a light on that process,” the BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor explained.

“I think people would be very interested in the discussions that go on in that room. Clearly the judges want to be able to talk freely, so it’s not something we can stream live to the world, but I would like to find a way to bring a little bit of that to people who follow the prize because it’s an interesting process and what I know characterises those discussions is a mutual respect between the judges.” 

I think people would be very interested in the discussions that go on in that room

Geoff Taylor

Taylor added that he believed the prize’s judging process – which is more akin to the Booker Prize than any of the other music awards around – was key to the Mercury’s enduring appeal and credibility.

“I think one of the really exciting things about the Mercury Prize is genuinely no one knows who is going to win in advance,” he said. “The judges take their decision on the night. The BPI’s involvement is to make sure there’s a really balanced expert panel. I think the mix over the last couple of years of artists, broadcasters and journalists, spanning a wide range of different music interests, has added to the credibility of the prize and that’s really important to us. I think they’ve been doing a brilliant job.”

Get the current issue of Music Week for our statistical analysis of the impact a nomination has on act - or subscribers can click here.

Plus, read Red Light Management's Peter McGaughrin on the Mercury's impact on double nominees Everything Everything.

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