Manchester-based music pluggers Ask Me PR scoop the regional radio and TV account for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for the 16th year running.
North west music fans may be disappointed at the absence of regional bands in this year’s Mercury music prize list of nominees, but there is one Manchester-based member of the UK music industry that’s been quietly winning with annual award since 1994. And that’s Ask Me PR!
From M-People’s 1994 win with Elegant Slumming, Badly Drawn Boy in 2000 through to local heroes and last year’s winners Elbow, Ask Me PR have been charged with making sure all shortlisted albums and the competition itself are featured on regional radio. No mean feat considering that from Cornwall to Orkney, and Norwich to Aberystwyth there’s around 400 radio stations to service!
Ask Me PR’s managing director, Liam Walsh: “We’re extremely proud of our long association with this prestigious competition.
“There have been many highlights over the years. Apart from all the great Manchester bands that have won, seeing Antony and the Johnsons claim the prize was a very special moment.
“Though it’s not all been fun, glitz and glamour. When the phenomenal PJ Harvey won and accepted her prize from NYC it was the day of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. We’d heard what had happened on the way down to London and it was naturally a sombre rather than celebratory evening.”
Ask Me PR’s skill in gaining national and regional broadcast exposure for emerging pop talent is no secret among major record labels and independent music managers trying to break new acts into a highly competitive and crowded market place. The likes of The Killers, Oasis, Bjork, Moby, Doves, Prince and Badly Drawn Boy are amongst the long list of artists to have all used Ask Me’s services on their way to the big time.
Of the current crop of Ask Me artists, Liam says: “We expect great things of newcomers The Cordels, Cosmo Jarvis and Neil McSweeney.
“It was a fabulous experience to have an unknown Badly Drawn Boy win his Mercury while on our rosta and of course we’d love to see history repeated with one of our new acts!”