The SAY Award campaign launches with an open call for artists, industry professionals and music fans to submit eligible albums – for free – to sayaward.com. Throughout the submission period, albums are checked daily by the SMIA team, with those that meet the eligibility criteria being added to the Eligible Albums list.
Following the submission period drawing to a close, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’ – chosen from sectors including journalism, broadcast and radio, music retail and live music venues – are invited to consider the titles from the Eligible Albums list and nominate their five favourite albums in order of preference. ‘Nominators’ cannot have a commercial interest in any eligible album and include specialists in a variety of genres, such as jazz, classical, hip-hop, electronic and traditional folk, as well as key influencers from elsewhere in the arts. Largely Scotland-based, Nominators represent diversity across a number of protected characteristics.
The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5 (#1 - 10 points, #2 - 8 points, #3 - 6 points etc.), before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist. The Longlist is then whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which is chosen by music fans via a 72-hour online public vote, with the other 9 decided by The SAY Award judging panel.
Previous SAY Award judges have included Edith Bowman (Broadcaster), Craig Armstrong (Composer), Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz (Turner Prize winning artists), Lynne Ramsey (Film-maker), Tallah Brash (Music Editor, The Skinny), Sarra Wild (DJ and Promoter), Fergus Linehan (Director, Edinburgh International Festival), Barry Price (Partner/Director, Sub Club) and Sophie Laplane (Scottish Ballet).
Following the promotion of the Shortlist, The SAY Award Judging Panel reconvenes to decide which album should be awarded the £20,000 prize as well as the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year. All Shortlisted albums are celebrated at The SAY Award Ceremony, where the winner is announced and each artist receives an exclusively designed prize from The SAY Award Design Commission.