The nominees for the 2010 Mercury Prize were announced today, including Dizzee Rascal, Wild Beasts, Foals, Mumford and Sons, veteran Paul Weller and hotly-tipped indie trio the XX. This annual music prize for the best album released in the last year traditionally boosts sales of all nominees, and the eventual winner, by massive margins. The nominations are also used by critics and commentators to judge the current state and ‘health’ of the British music industry, as only artists from the UK and Ireland are eligible for the prize. The winner will receive £20,000 and will be announced at a ceremony on 7th September in London.
In an article published in Area in 2008, Allan Watson examines the role London plays in the global music industry. Drawing on debates from economic geography, Watson highlights the “characteristics of knowledge transfer in London’s recorded music industry through an examination of organisational connections on local and global scales”. Watson argues that “knowledge transfer within the industry occurs simultaneously across multiple geographical scales, with certain organisational connections facilitating the transfer of tacit knowledge across organisational boundaries”. The Mercury Prize is one small example of the ways in which London’s recorded music industry facilitates and promotes particular artists and labels, but is intimately tied to global markets and functions across multiple geographical sites and scales.