Scotland is to have its own national prize to recognise music-making in the country, via an annual Album of the Year award.

The competition (sort of) is designed to “promote the diversity and creativity of music and art in Scotland”. Those are the official words from the Scottish Music Industry Association, who in partnership with Creative Scotland, will attempt to recognise the outstanding albums released by Scottish artists in 2011 for this inaugural version of the award.

On offer is £20,000 to the winning album – similar to the UK’s Mercury award – and £1,000 to each of the nine runners-up. There’s also a £20,000 art commission offered to graduates from Scotland’s four principal art schools with the successful graduate producing a unique artwork for each of the shortlisted finalists.

The prize, brainchild of SMIA board member Stewart Henderson (himself a Mercury Prize nominee as bassist with The Delgados), intends to make full use of the publicity to promote Scottish music. 20 albums have been ‘longlisted’ by 100 impartial industry ‘nominators’ to be announced on April 12th. Then, over the next four weeks, one album per day from the long list will become the Album of the Day: available to stream in its entirety (and free of charge) for 24 hours as well as being available via a smartphone app.

On May 14th, when everyone’s had the chance to absorb all the contenders, the public (god help us) can vote and the winner from that vote will join 9 others on a shortlist of 10 (still following this?), from which the winner will be chosen by a 10-person panel whose winning selection will be announced at an awards ceeemony on June 19th.

You can read all about it at