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The Sound of Young Scotland Award

New for 2021, the Sound of Young Scotland Award – supported by Youth Music and Youth Music Initiative – exists to drive Scottish music of the future by giving an annual award to a young and emerging artist to facilitate the creation of their debut album.

With its name giving a nod to the iconic Scottish record label Postcard Records, the Sound of Young Scotland Award was designed to provide financial support to enable the continued creation of outstanding Scottish albums.

The winner of the Sound of Young Scotland Award will be chosen by a judging panel made up of previous SAY Award nominees. The winner will receive up to £5,000 funding to cover elements in relation to the recording and production of their debut album, as well as a bespoke art prize from The SAY Award Design Commission.

The £5,000 prize fund can be used to cover costs in relation to:

  • Producer
  • Recording Equipment Rentals
  • Studio Rental
  • Engineer
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Recording Expenses (travel, accommodation and sustenance)

The winner will be announced and recognised at The SAY Award Ceremony 2021, and will be invited back to showcase at the 2022 Ceremony. Following their showcase performance, they will receive high quality video footage of their set which can be used for promotional purposes.

Prize Fund Conditions

Costs in relation to recording will be paid directly by the SMIA through the submission of invoices. The master recordings will be owned in full by the artist/band who wins the Sound of Young Scotland Award. The winner can, should they wish to, licence the recordings for exploitation through a qualifying recording contract.

A condition of the funding support offered by the Sound of Young Scotland Award is that the album must be recorded within Scotland, and therefore, the funding should be spent on Scotland-based suppliers and services (i.e. recorded at a studio based in Scotland, produced by a Scotland-based producer etc). Should the artist be in a position where they also record and/or produce their own work, they will be entitled to bill for this at industry standard rates.

Album Definition

The winner of the Sound of Young Scotland Award must spend the prize fund on the recording of an album under the following album definition:

Albums must consist of previously unreleased material. Re-issues, multi-artist compilations, ‘Best Of’ collections and live albums (largely featuring previously released material) are ineligible. Albums must contain 6 or more tracks and/or be over 30 minutes in length. All genres of music are eligible for the Sound of Young Scotland Award.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Sound of Young Scotland Award, an artist/band must meet the following criteria:

  • Be aged 25 or under. For bands, the primary songwriter(s) must be aged 25 or under, and all members should be under 30 years old.
  • Be a ‘Scottish Artist’, in that: the artist was born in Scotland; at least 50% of the band’s core members were born in Scotland (session musicians will not be considered); an artist or band, irrespective of nationality, has made their creative base in Scotland for the past 3 years. NB. In some cases e.g. classical artists, composers as well as performers may satisfy the conditions for eligibility.
  • Not have previously released an album under the Sound of Young Scotland’s album definition.
  • Not have significant backing from a record label, publisher or private investor.
  • Have control over one or more aspects of your career (e.g. self-managing, self-publishing, self- releasing or self-producing).
  • Have an active career (established for at least 1 year) and be able to clearly demonstrate work to date.
  • Be able to provide contact details for an industry professional who has supported you in your career to date and could provide a reference on your behalf should it be requested (this could be a promoter, radio presenter, tutor, journalist or other industry professional).