If all that glimmers isn't gold, the opposite is also true — at least in the record industry.
Great albums that fall shy of gold certification (having sold fewer than 500,000 copies) will be recognized when a small group of music-industry players — including the artists Beck, Dave Grohl, Mos Def and Lucinda Williams — determine the best album of the year.
For the inaugural Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement, an assembly of 16 musicians, producers and journalists will transcend genres, whittle down the year's offerings to a list of 10 nominees and decide on the year's top LP, according to the award's publicist. The United Kingdom's annual Technics Mercury Music Prize, limited to U.K. releases, is awarded via a similar process.
In keeping with the Shortlist's goal of honoring albums that fall under the radar, rather than redundantly give more juice to established hits, albums must have sold fewer than 500,000 copies at the time of nomination.
Albums released for a year after July 1, 2000, are eligible for consideration.
Artists Macy Gray, Trent Reznor, Aimee Mann and Roots drummer ?uestlove; producers Dan the Automator (Gorillaz), Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews Band) and Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot); and music writers for the Los Angeles Times, URB and Rolling Stone round out the panel of judges.
Each of the 16 judges, or Listmakers, chose five albums apiece for contention. The 80 nominations constitute the Long List, which includes the latest albums by Air, Joe Henry, Si Sé, Spearhead and the Dandy Warhols (visit www.shortlistofmusic.com for the complete Long List). The Long List will be narrowed down to the 10-nominee Shortlist after Labor Day and announced at a panel discussion in New York on September 14 as part of the New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend Lecture Series. Listmaker and Times music writer Neil Strauss will moderate the panel.
The winner of the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement will be announced October 30.
The Shortlist Award was created by MCA Records vice president of A&R Tom Sarig and manager/marketer Greg Spotts, who hope to throw a party and concert in Los Angeles the day after the winner is announced. The Halloween bash is expected to feature onstage collaborations between Listmakers, Shortlist artists and special guests.