Mercury Prize – The Real Winners

Thursday November 1, 2012

By Tom Lane

Plan B and Alt J are the sales winners of this year's Mercury Prize

Just hours before tonight's Mercury Music Prize, we thought we'd take a look at who have been the winners so far - as judged by sales through retail stores monitored by the Official Charts Company.

The chart below, ranked by sales made since nominations were announced show Plan B in the lead with additional sales of  43,000 copies for his Ill Manors album since nominations were announced on 12 September. Ill Manors has now sold 140,000 copies in the UK.

Leeds alternative rockers Alt-J's debut album, An Awesome Wave has sold an additional 32,000 copies since it was nominated, while singer-songwriter Ben Howard's Every Kingdom has sold an extra 24,000 copies.

However, Howard's debut album is the biggest selling record nominated for this year's Mercury Music Prize with sales of 287,000, a third of the combined sales figures of all the nominated albums.

Prior to nomination, the 12 albums had sold a total of 706,000 copies between them.  Over the seven weeks since, the nominees have seen their combined total album sales rise by 155,000 copies to 860,000.

The big question of course is how many additional sales todays result will generate.

Retailers have their fingers crossed that the judges will choose wisely. We surveyed the members of the ERA board, who represent the UK's most successful retailers to find out their choice for the prestigious award and which album they thought would generate the most sales.

The favourite act our retailers would most like to see win was British quartet Django Django. Amazingly Django Django spent just £90 creating their Mercury Prize-nominated album. Drummer Dave MCLean explained the recording process, saying, "The album came out in January after we recorded it in my bedroom. We had a minimal amount of equipment. We spent about £90 on the album and most of that was on a microphone I bought in Perth."

Retailers also believe that Alt J will generate most sales if they are awarded this year's prize. 

The winner of the Mercury Prize, which is awarded annually to the best British album of the previous 12 months, will be revealed at a prizegiving in London this evening. Lauren Laverne and Nick Grimshaw will host the event a present the winners with a cheque for £20,000.

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