The xx Benefits From Mercury Sales Surge
The televised coverage of the ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel last night (Sept. 7) on BBC Two had an immediate impact on the albums chart.
According to the Official Charts Co (OCC), "xx" (Young Turks/XL Recordings) is already on course to move from No. 16 last week to No. 8 on Sunday (Sept. 12). The Official Chart Update includes sales data up to midnight last night, 90 minutes after the xx was seen collecting the £20,000 ($31,000) album of the year prize on TV.
The record is currently at No. 1 on the U.K. iTunes albums chart.
The xx discuss the Mercry Prize and plans for the next album
"xx" may well move even higher than No. 8 on Sunday as people begin to buy physical copies of the album from retailers from today. U.K. entertainment retailer HMV is expecting that the record could go into the top three. Its previous peak on the OCC listing was No. 10, following its nomination for the prize in July.
"Of all the albums nominated, this is the one that probably has the most scope to sell a load more if it won, so retailers and the band's label are likely to be very happy," said an HMV spokesman.
"The xx were already well on their way, but this award gives the band a great platform to really push on and connect with an even wider audience. Their debut album has enjoyed fantastic word-of-mouth and very respectable sales since its release, but with the Mercury prize now lighting the touch paper, we expect demand for it to really rocket - at least five-fold over the coming days, accompanied by surge into the top three of the U.K. charts."
At 10am ET, the album was also at No. 1 on Amazon.co.uk's CD chart and No. 13 on Play.com's CD listing.
U.K. sales for "xx" should surpass 200,000 this week and it will then be on course to achieve platinum status if the Mercury effect is maintained.
However, the act will not be around to promote the album in the U.K. this month as they start a two-week U.S. tour at Hollywood Palladium on Sept. 22. The album has also been out for 13 months, so it remains to be seen how much more work the xx will do for this campaign.
Nevertheless, all the signs are that the record is connecting with a wider audience. For many, the Mercury media coverage will simply put a name to music they already know: the xx's moody electronic soundscapes have been used extensively on TV promos in the U.K., including "Intro" on the BBC's spring general election coverage.
Despite some claims that stores did not get enough stock immediately after the win, the reality is that the album did not have the radio singles or crossover appeal to get a significant Mercury uplift. The album's distributor PIAS has plenty of experience in handling Mercury winners. PIAS is also the distributor for "xx" as well as the albums by 2010 nominees Dizzee Rascal, Wild Beasts and Villagers.
The album of the year award was open to U.K. and Irish acts who released an album between mid-July 2009 and mid-July 2010.