Scotland’s national music prize, The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, returns for its tenth year.

The award organisers are calling on music fans, labels and artists to submit eligible albums – for free – at from Thursday 1 July 2021. Submissions close at midnight on Thursday 22nd July 2021.

This is a big deal as the winner receives a career-changing £20,000 prize which is one of the highest in the UK. When the artists reach the last ten they are all guaranteed a £1,000 prize as well as other in kind benefits through the SAY Award design commission.

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.
Developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), the 2021 campaign is delivered in partnership with Creative Scotland, The City of Edinburgh Council, YouTube Music, Spotify,  Ticketmaster and PPL with Music Declares Emergency returning as the award’s Charity Partner for a second year. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow throughout November, sustainability is at the heart of The SAY Award’s plans, and the SMIA will look to use its flagship project to demonstrate and instill best practice for the music industry both now and in the future.

There is no fee to submit an eligible alum and digital releases may also meet the criteria. To submit albums, plus view eligibility criteria and guidelines for 2021’s award visit

Nova the youngest winner ever of the Scottish Album of the Year Award

Last year everything was run digitally with the youngest ever winner, Nova from Edinburgh all shining a spotlight on the music industry.

Nova said: “Winning The SAY Award 2020 during the pandemic has been a total rollercoaster. I’ve seen so many Scottish artists grow over the last year, just like I have, so the winner this year is bound to be fantastic. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up doing a track together.”

This year the plan is to hold the final ceremony on 23 October at Usher Hall and there will be two new categories – the Modern Scottish Classic Award and the Sound of Young Scotland Award.

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.

“Twelve 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.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said:“The timing couldn’t be better for the 10th anniversary of The SAY Award. In the absence of live gigs, we’ve spent the past year appreciating music in all its recorded glory. Vinyl was dusted off, CDs were polished, track after track was streamed. And, throughout that lockdown period, the power of the album shone through, providing a lifeline to a more positive world, sometimes creating moments of inner calm, sometimes connecting us to distant friends.

“It’s fitting, therefore, that The SAY Award has expanded its remit. In 2021 we’ll celebrate not only the best Scottish album of the last 12 months but also a classic from the past and a launchpad for the future. The announcement of this year’s ceremony is the light at the end of the tunnel that every music fan has been waiting for.”

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.

  • Winner chosen by The SAY Award 2021 Longlist.
  • Special performance at 2021’s Ceremony to celebrate the winning album.
  • Winner receives a bespoke art prize created through The SAY Award Design Commission.

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.

  • Winner chosen by a panel of previous SAY Award nominees.
  • Winner is given a performance slot to showcase at The SAY AwardCeremony 2022.
  • Winner receives up to £5,000 funding to facilitate the creation of their debut album.
  • Submissions open plus full details published on Friday 23 July 2021.
  • Now in its tenth year, previous winners of The SAY Award include Nova ‘Re-Up’ (2020), Auntie Flo ‘Radio Highlife’ (2019), Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).