Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mercury Music Prize 2015

It's interesting to note that the Mercury has reached a point where it's not got a sponsor as such, any more, and is "in association with BBC Music". It's a fair enough way to spend a small slice of licence fee (probably a better return on investment than the BBC Music Awards) but must be strange that the second highest profile music award in the UK can't attract an above the line sponsor.

Anyway, this year's winner is Benjamin Clementine's At Least For Now. It might be coincidence, but a lot of the BBC Four coverage found space to celebrate the 'curse of the Mercury' winners - Speech Debelle, Roni Size, Ms Dynamite - and in a way that challenged the 'last seen leaving the ceremony with a cheque for £20k, and disappeared' narrative. Perhaps a partnership with a cultural organisation like the BBC rather than the marketing department of a bank is allowing the Mercury to at last be comfortable about not caring about sales, and focus on the value of the recordings.

Benjamin was so warm in his victory, too - first inviting all the other shortlisted artists on stage; then dedicating his win to the victims of the Paris Attacks, before being overcome with emotion. Genuinely, you feel that the prize couldn't have gone to a nicer man.


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