Billboard Hot 100 Fest

U.S. Launching New Album Prize

The U.S. is launching an award for the best albums of the year, the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music, modeled after the U.K.'s Technics Mercury Music Prize, Billboard reports in its A

The U.S. is launching an award for the best albums of the year, the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music, modeled after the U.K.'s Technics Mercury Music Prize, Billboard reports in its Aug. 25 issue. The Shortlist is the brainchild of Tom Sarig, MCA VP of A&R, and Greg Spotts, who runs a personal management and marketing firm. "There's a simplicity and elegance to the Mercury Prize," says Sarig. "Rather than carving up music into different categories, they ask a single question: What are the 10 most creative and accomplished albums of the year?"

Beck, Macy Gray, Dave Grohl, Aimee Mann, Trent Reznor, Mos Def, Lucinda Williams, and the Roots' ?uestlove are among the music and media professionals who will vote on albums; each will select 10 from the 80 nominated. The top 10 will be announced Sept. 14; the winner, picked by the panel Oct. 30, will be announced at an Oct. 31 event in Los Angeles.

Albums released after June 30, 2000, are eligible, as long as they have not sold more than 500,000 units. Spotts says this is because top-selling albums don't need the exposure.

Albums from Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Super Furry Animals, Turin Brakes, Ed Harcourt, Elbow, Gorillaz, Basement Jaxx, Goldfrapp, Susheela Ramen, Zero 7, and Tom McRae are all on the shortlist for this year's Mercury Music Prize, to be handed out next month.