THE prestigious Scottish Album of the Year Award has returned for 2020 with the announcement that it will be going digital for the first time.

Returning for its ninth year, music fans, artists and labels are being encouraged to submit eligible albums released between 1 April 2019 and 31 May 2020 from 8am tomorrow at With no fee for submissions, all entries must be made before midnight on Friday 31st July 2020.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, The SAY Award campaign will go virtual this year for the first time ever. In line with Government guidelines and with audience and artists’ safety at the forefront, The SAY Award’s live events will move online this year, meaning music fans across the country will  have the chance to be part of the traditionally exclusive final award ceremony.

This year’s process will also feature Judges from four selected international territories for the first time in the award’s history; building upon and maintaining vital and valued international links for Scottish music.

Robert Kilpatrick, General Manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association said “Scotland’s music industry is in crisis. For many of my industry colleagues, celebrating may be the last thing they’ll feel like doing. How can we celebrate when venues have closed, are closing and will continue to close unless something more is done? When our young people are losing access to music? How do our young people become future talent, active fans and economic supporters of our industry?

 How do we celebrate when artists have lost all their live income? When our international opportunities and connections are under threat? When promoters, studios, producers, engineers, crew, music retail and multiple other sub-sectors of the industry are continually and sorely feeling the impact. There are no easy answers, and as the situation continues, Scotland’s music industry remains at significant risk, with a strong reliance on people coming together to create or experience music, as well as a high level of self-employment.

 Never more than now is it important we celebrate Scottish music. By celebrating, we promote its visibility, highlight its value, develop audiences and stimulate opportunity at a time it’s never been needed more.

 The SAY Award campaign has been re-imagined for 2020 and has been designed to help mitigate some of the key challenges our industry faces. Thanks to our partners continued support, we can continue to champion outstanding Scottish music.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture says “These awards are a key moment for us to recognise Scotland’s diverse and evolving music scene and the central role it plays in our culture and creative industries.

 “This also demonstrates the resilience and determination of our musical community, and I hope, with The SAY Award going virtual for the first time in history, even more people can get involved.

 “We do not underestimate the devastating impact this pandemic has had on Scotland’s creative industries, particularly those that rely on audiences and live performances, but we will continue to do all we can to help this sector recover so that they can continue to make a vibrant and rich contribution to Scotland.”

For 2020, The SAY Award are proud to welcome Music Declares Emergency to their diverse list of partners, as The SMIA commit to running this year’s campaign in the most environmentally responsible way possible. With the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) due to be held in Glasgow in 2021, The SAY Award looks forward to providing Music Declares Emergency with a platform to educate the music industry on how to work towards becoming more ecologically sustainable and regenerative.

Talking about the new partnership, Music Declares Emergency said, We are honoured to have been chosen by The SAY Award as their charity partner for this year. As the climate emergency becomes ever more immediate, the continued response of the UK music industry has been vital in placing action on the agenda. The support of such an incredible and important organisation is vital in spreading our message and connecting the music community and inspiring them to drive change. Thank you SAY and tell everyone – there is #NoMusicOnADeadPlanet.”

Last year saw The SAY Award relocate from Glasgow to Edinburgh, with the award ceremony held in the breathtaking setting of The Assembly Rooms. Although going digital this year, The SAY Award is delighted to again be placing a spotlight on Edinburgh throughout 2020’s campaign; not least through new partnerships with Edinburgh-based venues 54EP and Summerhall. This year’s ceremony takes place on Thursday 29th October 2020, with more details to be revealed.

This year will also see Live at The Longlist transformed into a virtual event. Introduced in 2017, the event has been held in iconic venues around Glasgow and Edinburgh including O2 ABC, King Tut’s and The Queen’s Hall. This year, Live at The Longlist will be broadcasted as a YouTube Premier and fans can expect a night of celebrating the remarkable talent Scotland has to offer on 2020’s Longlist, alongside three live performances from previous SAY Award Nominees.

Once all eligible albums have been collated, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, broadcast and radio, music retail and live music venues from across Scotland, will consider the titles from The SAY Award’s Eligible Albums list, nominating their five favourite albums and ranking them in order of preference. ‘Nominators’ include specialists in a variety of genres, such as jazz, hip hop, classical, electronic and traditional, as well as key influencers from elsewhere in the arts. 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 for 2020.

Following the live stream event, the Longlist will then be cut down to a Shortlist of only 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. A variety of judges from the music industry will come together to choose the Shortlist albums and previous years’ panels have included Craig Armstrong, Turner Prize winning artists Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz, film and television director Michael Hines, DJ and Promoter Sarra Wild, Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan, Filmmaker Lynne Ramsay and Director of YWCA Scotland, Patrycja Kupiec.

Recognising some of Scotland’s most inspiring and talented artists, previous winners of The SAY Award include Auntie Flo, Young Fathers, Sacred Paws, Anna Meredith, Kathryn Joseph and more. With more albums than ever before submitted for consideration in 2019, The SAY Award now calls on Scotland’s music industry to celebrate the strength and diversity of its musical landscape in these unprecedented times. To submit albums, plus view eligibility criteria and guidelines for the 2020 award – visit