Ahead of the Hyundai Mercury Prize ceremony (September 20), Music Week has taken a look at the impact a place among the 12-strong shortlist has had on this year’s albums and the artists
Our research studied nominated artists’ performance in a variety of different areas since the shortlist was announced in July, up until the end of chart week 37 (September 14).
That revealed the sales bounce, so far, has been modest, although a nomination may have helped the just-eligible June releases of Florence + The Machine’s High As Hope (80,707 sales so far, according to the Official Charts Company) and Jorja Smith’s Lost & Found (41,983) extend their initial sales’ buzz. They clocked up growth of 43.7% and 38.3% respectively.
In keeping with the prize’s tradition of uncovering new talent, jazz nominees Sons Of Kemet have also enjoyed a spike. Their album Your Queen Is A Reptile has grown 45.6% since they got the nod – although total sales are a modest 3,302.
“It feels like the right time for Sons Of Kemet,” manager Rachel Millar, told Music Week. “There’s momentum for the entire UK jazz scene, it’s going to help raise everyone up. It feels like we’re on the brink of this scene really breaking in the same way as when Dizzee Rascal won. People are definitely going to pay more attention, it’s going to have a real impact.”
Significantly, all 12 nominees have seen the percentage of their sales made up by streaming grow over the period, suggesting increased sampling on the format this year. Spotify is the prize's new digital partner.
The Mercury has such a great following and it’s very highly esteemed
Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino saw a 8.7% increase in the proportion of streams (29.1% of total sales), while Wolf Alice’s Visions Of A Life saw its proportion of streams increase by 5% (21.4%). Florence + The Machine's streaming proportion has soared by 21% to 17.1% of the total. Lily Allen has also seen interest grow on DSPs, with a streaming proportion of 39.1% for No Shame (up 12.4%).
The Prize’s impact may also have been felt on social media. Most of the 12 acts have experienced a healthy increase in Instagram followers during the period they’ve been nominees. Arctic Monkeys lead the way with a 13.4% increase in followers (888k). From a lower base, Sons Of Kemet also had a substantial increase.
Jorja Smith has added 8%, to bring her following on the platform to an impressive 1.4m. On YouTube, Smith increased her subscriptions by 13% since July (she now has 350k subscribers), and the other 11 acts nominated all grew their figures too.
Having taken over the prize in 2015, the BPI insist the Mercury still retains its power to benefit acts over the long term.
“When you read about past nominees, the Prize is something that follows them around and adds to their credibility and the interest in their music,” said chief executive Geoff Taylor.
“The thing with the Mercury is that it has such a great following and it’s very highly esteemed, so there have been people getting in contact that just want to get involved,” said Kojo Kankam, who’s nomnated as Novelist. “They’ve heard the music because of this opportunity.”
Ros Earls, founder 140db Management, who represents nominated artist Nadine Shah, said: “We’ve had an uplift in sales and streaming and key pieces of press. The Mercury has done us a great service that has consolidated our position, a proper underlining of where we’re at.”
Pick up the latest issue for our Mercury Prize preview - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here.
The full breakdown of the Prize’s impact is below based on start date of July 26 up to September 10 (sales up to September 14).
Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Facebook likes: 7,249,658, down 0.18%
YouTube: 3,601,717 subscribers, up 2.4%
Twitter 1.71m, same
Instagram: 888,000, up 13.4%
Sales: 151,457, up 11.1%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 26.77% - 29.1%
Everything Everything - A Fever Dream
Facebook likes: 142,614, up 0.11%
YouTube: 49,411 subscribers, up 1.21%
Twitter: 74k, up 0.14%
Instagram: 29.2k, up 2%
Sales: 21,043, up 4.4%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 27.26% - 28.5%
Everything Is Recorded By Richard Russell
Twitter: 15.2k, up 0.66%
Instagram: 6,719, up 4.78%
Sales: 3,609, up 17.8%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 36.52% - 37.8%
Florence + The Machine - High As Hope
Facebook likes: 5,558,195, down 0.25%
YouTube: 1,517,083 subscribers, up 1.68%
Twitter: 1.07m, up 0.94%
Instagram: 1.6m, up 6.66%
Sales: 80,707, up 43.7%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 14.14% - 17.1%
Jorja Smith - Lost & Found
Facebook likes: 160,050, up 8.3%
YouTube: 350,670 subscribers, up 13%
Twitter: 218k, up 12.9%
Instagram: 1.4m, up 7.69%
Sales: 41,983, up 38.3%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 58.14% - 63.7%
King Krule - The Ooz
Facebook likes: 246,917, up 0.29%
YouTube: 121,141 subscribers, up 4.39%
Twitter: KingKruleST, 13.3k up 0.76%
Instagram: 25.9k, up 3.6%
Sales: 13,421, up 6.50%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 37.38% - 38.3%
Lily Allen - No Shame
Facebook likes: 3,696,737, down 0.35%
YouTube: 734,239 subscribers, up 1.63%
Twitter: 5.92m, up 6.09%
Instagram: 884k, up 2%
Sales: 17,862, up 22.5%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 34.79% - 39.1%
Nadine Shah - Holiday Destination
Facebook likes: 21,795, up 1.30%
YouTube: 3,062 subscribers, up 2.03%
Twitter: 11.2k, up 4.67%
Instagram: 7,169, up 7.8%
Sales: 6,915, up 10.6%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 8.99% - 9.5%
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon?
Facebook likes: 912,047, down 0.11%
YouTube: 197,341 subscribers, up 2.98%
Twitter 1.18m, up 0.85%
Instagram: 650k, up 0.93%
Sales: 264,315, up 2.4%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 9.36% - 10%
Novelist - Novelist Guy
Facebook likes: 22,231, up 0.18%
YouTube: 69 subscribers (channel auto generated) n/a
Twitter: 92.7k, up 530.6%
Instagram: 57.3k, down 0.86%
Sales: 1,031, up 16.4%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 68.28% - 69.8%
Sons Of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile
Facebook likes: 16,279, up 7.86%
YouTube: 3,966 subscribers, up 6.27%
Twitter 3,146, up 16.7%
Instagram: 5,206, up 32%
Sales: 3,302 45.6%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 9.93% - 10.3%
Wolf Alice - Visions Of A Life
Facebook likes: 227,864, up 0.44%
YouTube: 115,612 subscribers, up 2.14%
Twitter: 221k, up 0%
Instagram 176k, up 3.53%
Sales: 57,214, up 4.4%
Percentage of sales made up by Streaming: 20.66% - 21.7%