The Australian Music Prize announces SoundMerch as 2021 major sponsor increasing prize money to $30K + first nominated albums revealed + judging panel with international judge, Billy Bragg announced

by the partae

Australia’s most prestigious music award, The Australian Music Prize (AMP), returns for its 17th instalment in 2021 revealing its nominated albums to date up for a huge $30,000 cash prize thanks to major sponsor SoundMerch. Open to all Australian artists who have released an eligible album during the 2021 calendar year, the SoundMerch AMP will award one lucky act with the $30K cash prize for the best album of the year as decided by an expert panel of industry judges. In a SoundMerch AMP first, this year will also feature a special international guest judge, welcoming renowned artist Billy Bragg to the diverse judging panel. Judges are currently listening to over 300 eligible 2021 albums, with more still to come as albums will continue to be added weekly right up to the end of the year, estimating to amount to upwards of 415 releases judged for the 16th annual prize.

“The AMP is such a wonderful reflection of the calibre of music that was released in one year and I truly love that it’s judged on the music itself and the album as a whole, no matter who you are or who you are ‘represented by’. I have always had such a high regard for it and having our album make the shortlist last year truly was mind blowing. Now to be on the other side and listening to all the incredible works that have been released so far, it is a heartening sigh that regardless of what’s happening in the world, the quality of music and art being created is forging ahead.”
– Fanny Lumsden, AMP 2020 Shortlisted Artist & AMP 2021 Judge

For the first time in its 17 year history, The SoundMerch AMP has a guest international judge, Billy Bragg. Set to tour Australia for three unique shows on consecutive nights in five major cities from January 14 to February 10 2022 as a part of his One Step Forward, Two Steps Back tour, Billy Bragg joins an all encompassing lineup of Australian music industry professionals including artists, radio broadcasters, record store owners, music writers and editors currently compiling the immense longlist of SoundMerch AMP nominated albums. Bragg says he is honoured to be included as The SoundMerch AMP’s inaugural international judge, “Australia has given me so much encouragement and support over the years, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to return some of that sentiment to up and coming Australian artists”

As for the prize itself, 2021 major sponsor SoundMerch is thrilled to be presenting the winner of the 2021 SoundMerch AMP with an increase in prize money following one of the toughest years the music industry has ever faced. SoundMerch owner, Tim Everist says he is proud to initiate the change and further support Australian artists in 2021,​​ “Our partnership with The AMP last year worked exactly as I had hoped – SOUNDMERCH was able to give back to the artists that we do business with whilst promoting new business, so this year I’m pleased to be able to increase the cash prize by $10,000 to $30,000.”

The nominated artists and albums up for the 2021 Australian Music Prize announced so far can be found at The SoundMerch AMP website, with more eligible entrants still to be deliberated as new releases come to light, so be sure to follow The SoundMerch AMP’s socials to stay up to date with any new inclusions. The final 9 nominees will be announced in early 2022, with the winner revealed Thursday 3 March 2022. The judges are still listening to albums, so if you know of an eligible album, be sure to get your nominations in – click here for eligibility criteria and to submit album details.

17th SoundMerch AMP Judges:
Abbe May, Artist
Aeron Clark, Edge Radio
Alex Gow, Artist
Alice Ivy, Artist
Andrew Drever, Music Writer
Bernard Zuel, Writer
Billy Bragg, Artist
Blake Scott, Artist
Bruce Milne, Greville Records
Bryget Chrisfield, Music Writer
Cassie Walker, Triple M Digital Music Lead
Chris Berkley, Red Eye Records
Chris Gill, Northside Records
Chris Holland, Triple M
Dan Gordon and Maia Bilyk, FBi
Emmy Mack, Artist
Fanny Lumsden, Artist
Jeb Taylor, Music Farmers
Jessica Dale, The Music Assistant Editor
Kate Hennessy, Music Writer
Kav Temperley, Artist
Laura Hill, Artist
Michael Hohnen, Artist
Mike Glynn, JB Hi Fi
Mikey Cahill, Writer
Phil Jamieson, Artist
Sam Cromack, Artist
Simon Winkler, 3RRR
Sose Fuamoli, Music Journalist & Radio Host
Steve Bell, Sonic Sherpa Owner
Surahn Sidhu, Artist
Tim Daley, Apple Music
Ziggy Ramo, Artist
Zoë Radas, STACK Music Editor

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