Entertainment & Arts

Mercury Prize: Music fans will be allowed to vote

Jarvis Cocker
Image caption Jarvis Cocker, who won the Mercury Prize in 1996 with Pulp, will join this year's judging panel

Music fans will get to choose one of the albums on this year's Mercury Prize shortlist, as the annual music prize revamps its rules.

Only six albums will make it through to the ceremony as "finalists", rather than 12 as in previous years.

However, the judging panel, which this year includes Jarvis Cocker, Jamie Cullum and DJ Annie Mac, will still decide the winner.

The 12-strong longlist will be announced on BBC 6 Music on 4 August.

Fans will choose one album to proceed to the final via an online vote, while judges will select the next five.

All six nominees will perform at the ceremony, and there will be a special, one-off collaboration to mark the 25th award.

The prize, which lost sponsor Barclaycard in 2014, has also announced a new three-year partnership with car firm Hyundai.

"2016 marks the start of a new era," said Mercury Prize director Dan Ford. "The changes will enable music fans to play a part in the process for the first time, whilst ensuring that the Prize maintains its reputation for celebrating the best British and Irish albums, based solely on artistic merit."

The Mercury Prize recognises innovative albums produced in the UK and Ireland. Former winners include Pulp, Primal Scream and PJ Harvey.

Last year's award went to Benjamin Clementine, for his debut album At Least For Now.

The musician, who slept rough on the streets of France as a struggling young musician, dedicated the prize to the victims of last November's terror attack on Paris.

The judges for this year's ceremony will also include Kate Tempest, Ellie Rowsell from 2015 nominees Wolf Alice, and producer Naughty Boy. The full line-up will be announced at a later date.

BBC Four will broadcast the ceremony from the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, on 15 September.

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