Last year saw PJ Harvey scoop the Mercury Music Prize. The winners in 2010 were The xx with their self-titled debut, beating out the likes of Wild Beasts and Laura Marling. This year contenders include the likes of Alt-J, Richard Hawley and Django Django.
We’re taking a look at how past winners have done. A recent article by Billboard posted sales figures from the OCC on each act, which seems as good a barometer as any. 2009’s Speech Debelle comes in last, with sales of 13,000.
2008 saw Elbow take the prize. They’ve fared somewhat better, shifting 775,000 copies of ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’.
Klaxons won in 2007, the year they released debut album ‘Myths Of The Near Future’. That album had notched up sales of 335,000 by the time the Billboard piece was published.
Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ saw the biggest sales of any Mercury-nominated album. The 2006 winners flogged 1.35 million units of their debut.
Somewhat less successful commercially was the 2005 effort from Antony & The Johnsons, ‘I Am A Bird Now’. While he won that year, the second LP only sold 215,000 copies.
Franz Ferdinand released their eponymous debut in February 2004. It was already pretty popular before they scooped the Mercury later that year, but the accolade helped them shift 1.27 million units, second only to Arctic Monkeys in the Mercury league table.
Dizzee Rascal was only a teenage when he picked up a Mercury in 2003 for his debut ‘Boy In Da Corner’. It’s sold 250,000 copies, while his recent fourth album ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’ has shot past the 300,000 mark.
2002 saw Ms Dynamite receive the nod for ‘A Little Deeper’. The album has sold 490,000 copies to date.
PJ Harvey’s album ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’ was seen as a worthy winner back in 2001, but it’s only sold a relatively meagre 265,000 copies to date. She was unable to attend the ceremony due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Badly Drawn Boy’s ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ has sold 450,000 copies since his 2000 win. He saw off competition from Richard Ashcroft, Doves and most bizarrely Coldplay, who were nominated for ‘Parachutes’.
Talvin Singh’s ‘OK’ beat Blur’s ’13’ to the 1999 prize. Howevber, he only managed to flog 90,000 copies of the record, while Blur’s effort hit Number One in the charts.
1998 saw Pulp, The Verve, Robbie Williams and Gomez fight it out for the prize, with the latter coming out on top. ‘Bring It On’ subsequently sold 480,000 copies.
Roni Size saw off competition from The Spice Girls (yes, really) to pick up the prize in 1997. ‘New Forms’ has sold 325,000 albums to date, according to figures in a recent Billboard report charting the winners’ successes.
Pulp’s ‘Different Class’ is the third most successful Mercury Music Prize album, after Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys. It won the award in 1996 and has achieved sales of 1.24 million to date.
Portishead’s 1994 debut ‘Dummy’ picked up the 1995 award, which propelled it to Number Two in the charts and sales of 815,000.
Ah, the controversial one. Many people were astounded when M People won the 1994 Mercury Music Prize for ‘Elegant Slumming’ over Blur’s ‘Parklife’, The Prodigy’s ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’ and Pulp’s ‘His ‘n’ Hers’. Still went on to sell 835,000 copies though.
Suede’s eponymous 1993 was the fastest-selling British debut of all time at the time, topping the chart on its release six months before the Mercury win. The prize boosted their profile and the LP has shifted 340,000 units to date.
The inaugural Mercury Music Prize went to Primal Scream for their third album ‘Screamadelica’, and helped the band sell 650,000 copies of the record.