Albums released between 1 June 2020 – 31 May 2021 can be submitted for consideration, meaning that all eligible albums – including the eventual winner – will have been released during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Music fans, labels and artists can submit eligible albums for free at from today, and submissions close at midnight on Thursday 22nd July 2021.

SAY Award 2021

This bumper 10th year of the SAY Award will return to a physical award ceremony at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 23 October and introduce two new awards into the mix;

  • Modern Scottish Classic Award; Recognising Scottish music’s past with an annual award for an iconic Scottish album which has inspired music being made today.
  • The Sound of Young Scotland Award; Driving Scottish music’s future by giving an annual award to an emerging artist to facilitate the creation of their debut album.

The final winner will recieve a £20,000 cash prize and all nine runners up each receive £1,000, as well as bespoke prizes created through The SAY Award design commission.

In it’s 9 years to date, The SAY Award has distributed over £250,000 in prize money to Scottish musicians and has championed 180 Longlisted albums from the likes of The Twilight Sad, Calvin Harris, CHVRCHES, Lewis Capaldi, Kathryn Joseph, Young Fathers, Paolo Nutini, Anna Meredith and many more.

Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Projects and Communications Director, Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) said:

When we launched last year’s SAY Award 3-months into the pandemic, we were only just beginning to understand the devastating and enduring impact it would have on our artists and wider music industry. Amidst challenges once unimaginable, we worked to keep music at the forefront of the national conversation; affirming its life-changing value, and demonstrating the urgent need for support for all who contribute to its place in our lives.

12 months on, many challenges remain, and our artists and wider music industry continue to have to tread water and navigate mass uncertainty. The resilience our industry’s shown has been nothing short of inspiring, and the coming together of artists and industry professionals alike has been instrumental in mitigating the worst of the impact.

As we begin to emerge from what is hopefully the worst of Covid-19’s effects, this year’s SAY Award is a particularly special and important one. All eligible albums will have been released throughout the pandemic, which is no mean feat for artists and their teams operating in an ever-changing and turbulent landscape. These records have been released when our society has needed them most, and due to this, The SAY Award 2021 will truly showcase and celebrate the passion, power and value of artistic endeavour.It’s also year 10 of SAY, a special milestone for both the award and Scotland’s music scene, and we’re delighted to be introducing some exciting new elements – including two accompanying awards – to mark the occasion. We look forward to celebrating the cultural impact and contribution of Scottish albums across the next four months, before returning to a physical Ceremony at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall; a night our music industry will undoubtedly remember for many years to come.”

How are the winners selected?

Once all eligible albums have been collated, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, music retail and music venues across Scotland, nominate and rank their five favourite albums in order of preference. The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5, before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist.

The Longlist will then be cut down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which will be chosen by music fans via a 72-hour online public vote. The remaining nine albums will be chosen by The SAY Award judging panel.

For more information on the SAY Award please visit

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