The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award is our flagship project and Scotland’s national music prize; celebrating Scottish music, and the cultural impact and contribution of outstanding Scottish albums. Having launched in 2012, The SAY Award not only enriches Scotland’s cultural identity but also asserts its musical influence globally.

Watch The SAY Award 2023 Highlights Video

How The SAY Award Works

The SAY Award process is designed to engage as widely as possible with Scotland’s music and arts communities. It involves an extraordinary nationwide consultation to celebrate, promote and reward the strength and diversity of Scotland’s recorded output. 

  1. Open Call and Eligibility: It starts with an open call for submissions, where artists, industry professionals and music fans can put forward albums for consideration. To be eligible, albums must meet certain criteria, such as release dates and The SAY Award’s album definition, ensuring a level playing field.
  2. The Nominators: Once submissions close, a diverse group of 100 impartial Nominators from various backgrounds in music, media and the arts are called upon. Referring to the eligible albums list, each Nominator selects their top 5 albums in order of preference, contributing to the integrity and breadth of the selection process.
  3. The Longlist: Albums are then scored based on the Nominators’ preferences, culminating in the announcement of the Longlist — the 20 highest-scoring albums. This list represents the year’s most compelling Scottish records across all genres.
  4. The Judges and The Shortlist: From the Longlist, an 11-strong panel of judges takes over to determine the Shortlist of 10 albums. During this stage, there’s also a public vote, giving fans the power to ensure their favourite album makes it to the final round.
  5. The SAY Award Ceremony: The process culminates at The SAY Award Ceremony, where the final winner is revealed, taking home the grand prize and earning the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year. The event not only honours the winner but also highlights the Shortlisted artists, each receiving a bespoke prize from the SAY Design Commission in recognition of their exceptional work.

The SAY Award Prize Fund

Supported by Creative Scotland, The SAY Award prize fund is a firm commitment to the continued value of music in Scotland. Along with bespoke trophies created through the SAY Design Commission, the winner of The SAY Award receives £20,000, and the nine other Shortlisted artists receive £1,000 each. 

These prizes are not just acknowledgements but investments into the artists’ future creative endeavours. Since its inauguration in 2012, The SAY Award has now distributed over £360,000 in prize money and championed 240 outstanding Scottish albums.

Supporting Emerging Talent: The Sound of Young Scotland Award

The Sound of Young Scotland Award exists to drive Scottish music of the future; enabling a young and emerging artist to create their debut album. With a judging panel comprising previous SAY Award nominees, the award not only offers a significant funding package but also the opportunity for the winner to perform at the next SAY Award Ceremony.

LVRA 2021 Winner
Berta Kennedy 2022 Winner
No Windows 2023 Winner

Honouring Timeless Classics: The Modern Scottish Classic Award

The Modern Scottish Classic Award recognises an iconic album from Scotland’s past which continues to inspire today. Each year, the winner is chosen by the 20 artists making up The SAY Award Longlist, and the album is celebrated and championed as part of The SAY Award Ceremony. 

Brownbear, joined by The SAY House Band, delivers a performance ‘New Shoes’ from Paolo Nutini‘s renowned 2006 album ‘These Streets’. This album was honoured with the Modern Scottish Classic Award at the 2023 SAY Award Ceremony.

The Design Commission

A hallmark of The SAY Award is the Design Commission, where artists and makers from across Scotland’s creative community are invited to craft bespoke trophies for our nominees and winners. Underpinned by the theme of sustainability, this unique element of The SAY Award celebrates the enduring links between music, art and design, and contributes to the cultural tapestry of Scotland.

Partnership Opportunities

Across our 4-month campaign, we position our partners at the forefront of Scotland’s internationally admired musical landscape. With touchpoints for activations at every stage, The SAY Award offers a unique opportunity to drive audience development and tap into a nationwide initiative celebrating Scottish music and culture; culminating in the most exciting night in Scotland’s musical calendar.

We have a proven track record of delivering value through strategic, multi-layered campaigns; always with an authentic and creative approach. 

Partnering on The SAY Award will see you play a key role in supporting Scottish culture and driving growth; fostering civic pride and championing the value of creative endeavour.

For more information on these unique partnership opportunities, please reach out to us.