The Process

Once all eligible albums have been collated, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, broadcast and radio, music retail and live music venues, will consider the titles from The SAY Award’s Eligible Albums list, nominating their five favourite albums and ranking them in order of preference. ‘Nominators’ include specialists in a variety of genres, such as jazz, classical, electronic and traditional folk, as well as key influencers from elsewhere in the arts, and cannot have a commercial interest in any of the albums being discussed. The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5, before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist for 2018.

The Longlist is then whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which will be chosen by music fans via an online public vote and the others decided by The SAY Award judging panel. Previous judges have included the composer Craig Armstrong, Turner Prize winning artists Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz, Music Editor of The Skinny Tallah Brash, Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan, Sub Club Partner/Director Barry Price and Scottish Ballet’s Sophie Laplane.

The SAY Award ceremony will take place on Thursday 6 September, returning to Paisley Town Hall for the third consecutive year. The winning artist will pick up a £20,000 cash prize, with the 9 runners up each being awarded £1,000. Each Shortlisted artist will also receive an exclusively designed piece of artwork from the SAY Award Design Commission.

Eligibility Criteria

Qualifying Period
Albums must have been released between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018.

Album Definition
Albums must consist of previously unreleased material. Re-issues, multi-artist compilations, ‘Best Of’ collections and live albums (largely featuring previously released material) are ineligible. Albums must contain 6 or more tracks and/or be over 30 minutes in length. All genres of music are eligible for the SAY Award.

Release Definition
An album (as defined above) must have been made available for purchase in Scotland by the general public for the first time during the qualifying period through any of the following outlets: any high street music retailer; digital retailer, record label or artist website (including Bandcamp, social media etc.). Free downloads (with the artist’s express consent) will also be eligible.

Scottish Artist Definition
For the purposes of this award, albums will be deemed to have been recorded by a ‘Scottish Artist’ when: the artist was born in Scotland; at least 50% of the band’s core members were born in Scotland (session musicians will not be considered); an artist or band, irrespective of nationality, has made their creative base in Scotland for the past 3 years. NB. In some cases e.g. classical albums, composers as wells as performers may satisfy the conditions for eligibility.