Media release: Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘KIWANUKA’ surges after Hyundai Mercury Prize win


UK record labels association, the BPI, which organises the Hyundai Mercury Prize, can report a massive surge in demand for Michael Kiwanuka’s self-titled album, KIWANUKA, following last week’s acclaimed Hyundai Mercury Prize win – announced live on Thursday 24th September on BBC One’s ‘The One Show’ by broadcaster and Hyundai Mercury Prize judge, Annie Mac.

As reported by the Official Charts Company earlier this week, KIWANUKA, which re-entered the Top 100 after being Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlisted and was at No.78 just last week, has reached No.2 in the midweek charts and is on course for at least a Top Five finish when the latest Official Albums Chart is announced today (2nd October).

This would be the biggest chart impact for the Hyundai Mercury Prize winner since The XX triumphed in 2010 (2), and arguably one of the most notable outcomes in the prize’s three-decade history given the challenges in producing awards shows under pandemic restrictions. The dramatic climb up the charts reflects a remarkable 4,537 per cent rise in purchases of the album over the past week (3), across vinyl, CD and downloads, and a rise of almost 800 per cent in the number of audio streams of the album’s tracks.

Michael Kiwanuka’s KIWANUKA is also making its mark on digital music platforms, shooting up to No.1 on both iTunes (with album purchases up 671 per cent in the first 24 hours) and Amazon, while video views from search on Hyundai Music Prize digital partner, YouTube, in the UK have risen by 1,035 per cent.

Global Spotify streams coming from search are up 225 per cent, and, overall, since the winner’s
announcement, website traffic for KIWANUKA across various platforms has rocketed by 1,300 per cent and remains at a 500 per cent increase on the previous period.

Reinforcing the impact of prize win, Google Search volumes for Michael Kiwanuka rose to double the amount he experienced around the initial release of KIWANUKA on 1st November 2019.

Demand for the other shortlisted artists has also shown a significant rise due to the Hyundai Mercury Prize spotlight, with Official Charts data showing a combined increase in physical and downloaded album sales of 515 per cent (1).

These include Lanterns On The Lake ‘Spook The Herd’ (+425 per cent), Anna Meredith ‘FIBS’ (+421 per cent), Georgia ‘Seeking Thrills’ (+220 per cent), Porridge Radio ‘Every Bad’ (+192 per cent), Moses Boyd ‘Dark Matter’ (+180 per cent), Laura Marling ‘Song For Our Daughter’ (72 per cent), Sports Team ‘Deep Down Happy’ (49 per cent) and Kano ‘Hoodies All Summer’ (56 per cent).

Even shortlisted artists who have already enjoyed No.1 albums are showing a rise in demand – with sales of Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’ up by just over a quarter (27 per cent) and Stormzy’s ‘Heavy is the Head’ rising by a fifth (19 per cent) (1).

Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI, which is also home to the Hyundai Mercury Prize, said: “As the nation’s foremost arts prize for music, the Hyundai Mercury Prize celebrates the very best music of the year across all genres, and helps to bring it to a wider audience.

“In such a challenging year, we are delighted by the impact of the expanded BBC broadcast coverage and by the huge response to Michael’s deserved win. We encourage fans to dive into all twelve Albums of the Year 2020 – there is so much profound brilliance to discover.”

For the first time, the winner of the Hyundai Mercury Prize was announced on BBC One’s ‘The One Show’, which was followed by ‘Later with Jools’ Mercury Prize Special on BBC Two the following evening.

An innovative digital and social campaign, including the first global live stream of Hyundai Mercury Prize performances on YouTube and a successful series of Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties featuring the shortlisted albums, further extended digital reach for the prize and the shortlisted artists. The official Hyundai Mercury Prize playlist is available now via YouTube Music.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ celebrate and promote the best of UK music, recognising artistic achievement across an eclectic range of contemporary music genres.

Hyundai, the Mercury Prize’s title partner since 2016, celebrated the shortlisted artists through a bespoke digital campaign with the winner revealed on the company’s iconic Piccadilly Circus screens in London and supported all transportation requirements with a fleet of zero-emission Kona Electric SUVs.

The prize’s new digital music partner, YouTube Music, supported the Hyundai Mercury Prize from
the shortlist announcement onwards, with both a prize playlist featuring tracks from the 12 nominated albums and the prize’s first ever international live stream.

Hyundai Mercury Prize official partner, Bowers & Wilkins, also supported the prize as part of its commitment to UK recorded music in the year ahead – the premium audio brand provided all the judges with Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones, its most advanced wireless headphones, so the albums could be listened to as the artists intended.

Further information:

Media enquiries:

DawBell – 0203 327 7111
Katie Baptie / Kate Etteridge (print) – and
Maria Barham (radio) –
Dave Palmer (online) –
Pippa Evers (TV) –

BBC Press Office: Sarah Hall – 07718695383 –

Hyundai Motor UK: Natasha Waddington – 01494428646/07771975692 –

Bowers & Wilkins: Andy Kerr – 01403 628 003/07590 735140 –

BPI – Gennaro Castaldo – 07801 194 130 –

Notes for editors:

1. Combined 515 per cent rise figure does not reflect sales of Charli XCX ‘how i’m feeling now‘, which was only given a physical release in the previous chart week, rendering a meaningful like-for-like weekly comparison difficult.

2. The XX went back up to No.3 in The Official Albums Chart in the wake of their win in 2010.

3. Compares the period Friday 25th September to Tuesday 30th September with the equivalent period one week earlier (18th – 22nd September).

About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) –

The BPI champions the UK’s recorded music industry, safeguarding the rights of its members and of the artists, performers and label members of collecting body PPL. The BPI’s membership consists of well over 400 independent labels and the UK’s three ‘majors’, which together account for 85 per cent of legitimate domestic music consumption and one in nine albums sold around the world. The BPI promotes British music overseas through its trade missions and the Music Exports Growth Scheme. It provides insights, training and networking with its free masterclasses, Innovation Hub, Insight Sessions, WidsomWednesdays events, and reports. The BPI administers The BRIT Certified Awards, co-owns The Official Charts, organises The BRIT Awards and BRITs Week, and is also home to The Mercury Prize.

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