The Barclaycard Mercury Prize has switched things up for 2012.
The annual prize, awarded for the best album of the year, has in the past been won by luminaries such as Dizzee Rascal [above], Pulp and Portishead (and, erm, Speech Debelle) and traditionally cements an increased popularity and bank balance for its winner (unless you’re Speech Debelle).
It’s also, traditionally, been broadcast by the BBC in September, but as of this year, the Mercury will move to a November slot in the diary, will take place at larger Camden venue The Roundhouse, and be broadcast by Channel 4. The organisers have promised that “increased television coverage” will come with the move, as well as a series of “exclusive live gigs featuring the shortlisted artists” (all twelve nominees will be invited to perform at the ceremony). There’ll also be more in the way of online content, as you’d expect.
Music Week elaborate, explaining that “The change of venue will enable the event to accommodate more guests than ever before. Alongside the event’s usual table seating, there will now be greater access for music fans through additional ticket competitions and promotions.
“As part of an initial three-year arrangement with the Roundhouse, the Mercury Prize will also be launching a new programme of grassroots activity and workshops developed in association with the venue’s Youth Programme.”
A particularly interesting part of the increased coverage comes in the form of a promise that “all 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Prize events will be the subject of dedicated programmes on Channel 4”, with “up to sixteen individual Albums of the Year programmes broadcast on the network each year, in addition to the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Sessions shows that Channel 4 already airs.”