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Mercury Prize announces major new partnership with BBC Music

The Mercury Prize today revealed details of the 2015 award and announced exciting plans for its future development that will see the iconic Prize place greater emphasis on multi-platform content as part of an extensive new partnership with BBC Music for 2015.  As well as broadcasting exclusive coverage of the shortlist and winner announcements, the BBC will also showcase the Mercury Prize 2015 Albums of the Year through a series of studio sessions featuring this year’s shortlisted artists.

In what the Mercury Prize believes will herald the start of an exciting new era ahead of next year’s 25th anniversary landmark, 2015 will see the Prize move away from its traditional Awards Show event to work with the BBC to deliver even greater reach and more premium quality music content across its platforms.

Record labels are invited to submit their entries to this year’s 2015 Mercury Prize from Thursday 9 July, with the shortlist of twelve Albums of the Year to be unveiled exclusively on BBC Radio 6 Music on Friday 16 October as part of the BBC coverage dedicated to the Mercury Prize. An eclectic series of broadcasts are scheduled to follow, with sessions featuring the shortlisted artists to be aired across the BBC’s radio and digital platforms.

This year’s 2015 Mercury Prize in association with BBC Music will culminate in the announcement of the overall winner on Friday 20 November 2015 on both BBC Four and BBC Radio 6 Music.

The partnership with BBC Music forms part of a new long-term strategy the Mercury Prize is developing with the support of its longstanding partner, music body the BPI, to expand its reach, profile and digital engagement across the UK and internationally.
BBC Music is the corporation’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years – comprising an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives led by Director Bob Shennan. Initiatives since last year’s launch include the recreation of God Only Knows, regular musical performances on BBC One’s The One Show; BBC Music Awards; the classical music initiative for schools ‘Ten Pieces’; BBC Music Day and a raft of exclusive BBC iPlayer commissions.

The Mercury Prize organisers will also look to work more closely with other groups that represent the wider music community, such as artists, management and independent music labels, with the ultimate aim of encouraging and supporting exciting new talent and recorded music in all its diverse forms and across all artistic styles.

Dan Ford, Mercury Prize Managing Director, said:
“The announcement of this extensive BBC partnership and support from the BPI and the wider music community is an exciting first step in the development of a new long-term vision for the Mercury Prize that will help to ensure and extend its relevance to a new generation of music fans for years to come.

“As the Prize approaches its landmark 25th anniversary, it is increasingly important that we work with broadcast partners and music organisations that share our passion for the award’s values in order to help us achieve the broadest possible reach and profile.”

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Music, said:
“From burgeoning new talent to global superstars, BBC Music celebrates and supports British music on every scale and form, so a partnership with the esteemed Mercury Prize is a natural and exciting fit. Our programming will reflect the diversity of the Prize and will feature performances and interviews from the 12 shortlisted acts.”

Lauren Laverne, Broadcaster and BBC Radio 6 Music Presenter, said:
“I have a long history with the Mercury Prize and couldn’t be happier to be involved with it in 2015 as it returns to the BBC as a part of BBC Music. It’s a fantastic celebration of Britain’s vibrant, diverse music scene.”

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said:
“The Mercury Prize is an important part of our cultural landscape, recognising and celebrating the finest British and Irish albums released every year, regardless of genre, fashion or commercial success – it’s the Man Booker or Turner Prize for music.
“The BPI is passionate about supporting new British music, and having helped to establish the Prize in 1992, we’re delighted to be working with the Mercury Prize team alongside BBC Music and the wider music community to help develop its long-term future.”

David Wilkinson, Mercury Prize Chairman, said:
“We welcome this opportunity to work with the BBC to broaden engagement with the Prize whilst ensuring that its editorial independence and integrity remains at the heart of its ethos.
“The eclecticism and excellence the Prize has come to represent is key to its future development as an important platform for British and Irish new music talent.”

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