Scottish Album of the Year: Organisers warn 'severe and catastrophic loss of jobs' is looming

Organisers of Scotland’s most coveted music industry honour have warned the industry needs more government support to survive – as they revealed the shortlist for this year’s prize will be dominated by brand new acts.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 7:15 pm
The 10 contenders for the Scottish Album of the Year Award were announced tonight.
The 10 contenders for the Scottish Album of the Year Award were announced tonight.

The Scottish Music Industry Association, which has been forced to turn the awards ceremony into an online event due to the pandemic, used the shortlist announcement to warn the sector is facing “a severe and catastrophic loss of jobs and skills” unless it receives a further injection of emergency funding.

General manager Robert Kilpartick raised fears the long-term damage from the ongoing shutdown of music venues, which was ordered by the Scottish Government in mid-March, could do “long-term damage to music and culture for decades to come”.

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Eight of the ten contenders for the Scottish Album of the Year Award are debuts – more than even before since the title was contested for the first time in 2012.

Edinburgh-based singer songwriter Callum Easter was the winner of the public vote to secure a place on the 10-strong shortlist.

And there was no place for Lewis Capaldi, who had been on the long ist, but was overlooked by the judges and lost out on the public vote for the final shortlisting place, which instead went to Edinburgh-based singer songwriter Callum Easter.

Among those to make the final ten - whittled down from 362 albums entered this year - are Orcadian multi-instrumentalist and composer Erland Cooper, rising Glaswegian pop duo Bossy Love, Benjamin John Power’s Edinburgh-based electronica solo project, Sshe, the “alter-ego” of Scottish-Portugese musician and producer Su Shaw and the Glasgow-based duo Comfort.

Glaswegian rock and electronica trio Cloth, Lanarkshire singer Declan Welsh’s punk outfit Decadent West, Glasgow new wave outfit The Ninth Wave, and rising Edinburgh rapper and producer Nova make up the rest of the finalists for the award. The winner will be announced on 29 October.

A £2.2 million fund to support the grassroots music industry in Scotland, which was announced in July, was shared between 72 venues. Larger venues like the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, the Caird Hall in Dundee, Leith Theatre, Dunoon Burgh Hall and the Nevis Centre in Fort William were among those to secure a share of a £12.5m performing arts venues fund last month.

A separate £15m culture recovery fund, which commercial music venues are eligible for, will be distributed in November.

Mr Kilpatrick said: “This year’s short list poignantly showcases a future vision of Scottish music – which urgently needs targeted, sector-specific government support to wave the continued storms of the Covid-19 crisis and to allow a vital industry on its knees to survive.

“Music adds key economic, social and cultural benefits to our society and to each of our lives. It plays a fundamental role in driving tourism through our events and festivals, generating £494m for the economy in 2018.

"But, most importantly, our musical output helps us connect with both ourselves and each other. It provides us with emotional and mental well-being, and it often reflects the stories of our lives and the stories of our communities.

“All of this is currently at risk and without further targeted support our sector faces a severe and catastrophic loss of jobs and skills which would do long-term damage to music and culture for decades to come."

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