The Barclaycard Mercury Prize has announced a new location for this year's event, as well as increased television coverage and, for the first time, a series of gigs featuring nominees for the prestigious award.
The awards show itself will move from the Grosvenor House Hotel to the famed Roundhouse venue in north London. As before, all 12 nominees will be invited to perform at the event, on Nov. 1. The change of location will allow for more industry guests and public to attend, the latter through ticket contests and promotions. Via an initial three-year arrangement with the Roundhouse, the Prize will also launch a program of "grassroots activity and workshops," developed in association with the Roundhouse's Youth Program.
The 2012 "Albums of the Year" Mercury shortlist will be announced Sept. 12 at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, for the first time in the evening rather than in as a daytime event.
Further expansion will come with the introduction of a series of one-off gigs showcasing nominated artists, to be recorded for broadcast, with content also being made available to record labels. These "Albums of the Year Live" events will take place in October at various London venues.
Channel 4 will increase its coverage of the event with new dedicated programming as part of an initial three-year agreement, under which the broadcaster become the Prize's official television partner. Up to 16 "Albums of the Year" shows will be broadcast by C4 each year, to add to the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Sessions shows it already airs, plus a 30-minute show on the night of the nominations.
The Awards Show programming itself will include live footage from the gigs, in partnership with Barclaycard, which is extending its sponsorship of the Mercury Prize for another four years.
The BBC spokesperson told Music Week that, "We are proud to have supported the Mercury Prize for the past 15 years and wish it the best of luck for the future."