This week’s announcement by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) of the twelve UK contemporary music albums competing for the ‘2018 Mercury Music Prize’ has perplexed UK bookmakers.
The annual music and songwriting prize aims to reward the best album released by a British or Irish recording artist/band. The Mercury Prize’s history is littered with upsets, however, its 2018 edition maybe the hardest ever to call.
Making this year’s Mercury shortlist, are four of the UK’s most successful contemporary recording artists in; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Lilly Allen, The Arctic Monkeys and Florence & The Machine.
Nevertheless, featuring a closed judging panel which selects its winner on the night, the Mercury Prize does not favour artist album sales or recognised names, leading to much controversy.
Speaking to SBC, Lee Price Head of PR for Paddy Power details that the bookmaker has placed London Jazz band Sons of Kemet’s ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’ and Tyneside post-pink singer Nadine Shah’s ‘Holiday Destination’ as 5/1 early Mercury Prize favourites.
“This is a wide open betting event with joint-favourites at 5/1 (Sons of Kemet & Nadine Shah). This implies both of them have something in the region of a 16% chance of winning the award, reflecting how close it is” Price details.
“Sons of Kemet is the only jazz genre representative and, as such, would be a bit of an unknown quantity. That, coupled with the underlying story that the album is a tribute to “nine remarkable black women” and their efforts to create a jazz masterpiece, would also be factored into their favourable pricing.”
Despite the fact that the bigger names, will likely attract the market’s interest and wagers, Price details that Paddy Power will stick to its guns.
At present, the bookmaker has priced Noel Gallagher, Lilly Allen, the Arctics and Florence, jointly at 8/1
“It’s always a difficult award to predict given the range of genres covered and also the spectrum across which the entrants are generated – for example, you can end up with debut albums (e.g. Everything is Recorded this year) going up against well-established names. Part of the Mercury Prize’s shtick is being unpredictable. Which is great, just not for bookies.”
Paddy Power – Mercury Music Prize 2018 Odds