I’m sitting here watching the wonderfully brief live coverage of this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, well done James Blake, and it made me realise how old I must be as I actually remember when Mercury was a brand. Anyway I don’t know why Barclaycard love brand mash-ups but when it comes to music they just can’t resist. They spent years ploughing money into the Wireless Festival before they realised that it might be a good idea to change the name so people stopped thinking it was O2 behind the whole thing. Then like a brand mash-up junky they figured they should try to revive the fortunes of the long dead telecoms brand, Mercury (if you really are so young that you don’t know about Mercury wander the streets of London and you may find some ancient manhole covers still bearing its logo). You see no matter how much money Barclaycard throw at the Mercury Prize it will always be the MERCURY Prize.
Don’t get me wrong I love the fact that Barclaycard are supporting the “quality” end of the music industry but I do wonder if they might want to reconsider putting their name in title. Maybe the value in the partnership is in creating opportunities for Barclaycard customers to connect with music and not in making the Prize’s name more frustrating for commentators to read out as at the end of the day it will always be the Mercury Prize and only the Mercury Prize.