Hyundai Mercury Prize nominees The Comet Is Coming have attacked the prize’s new public voting system, saying it skews the award in favour of mainstream artists.
For the first time, the Prize was reduced from its original shortlist of 12 albums to six on the night. Five of the final six were chosen by the judging panel, with the other one being decided by a public vote.
The six albums to go through were judges’ choices Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’, Laura Mvula’s ‘The Drawing Room’, Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘Love And Hate’ and eventual winner ‘Konnichiwa’ by Skepta. The winner of the public vote was ‘I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ by The 1975.
The vote meant that Kano, Anohni, Bat For Lashes, Jamie Woon, Savages and The Comet Is Coming missed out.
Speaking before the public vote was announced, The Comet Is Coming saxophonist King Shabaka told NME: “I don’t like the public vote. Some of the acts obviously have big capital behind them from major labels, which gives them bigger fanbases to have more people to vote for them. For the little guys like us, who only have 2,000 Facebook followers, we’re obviously going to get less votes. So the vote skews the prize towards the acts who have a good set-up from the beginning.”
The other two members of the band, Betamax Killer and Danalogue The Conqueror, release new album ‘As Above So Below’ with their other band Soccer 96 next week (September 23).