The “Booker Prize” Of Music?

The Mercury Prize was “conceived in the early 1990s by Jon Webster, then MD of Virgin Records, who envisaged it as ‘the Booker Prize of the music industry’. It would be independent of both the record companies and the music retailers, but endorsed by both. Its serious image would encourage ageing music fans to explore new albums as well as buying CD copies of their old vinyl favourites. And it would promote modern music as ‘art’. But it’s the sheer unpredictability of the Mercury that makes it so charming. Don’t ever believe anyone who says they know who is or isn’t going to win. And has it achieved its original objectives?”