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Paolo Nutini is the #1 most played Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award artist

Paolo Nutini is the #1 most played Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award artist

PPL compiles a special chart to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The SAY Award

UK music licensing company PPL celebrates the tenth edition of the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award with a special chart revealing the most played SAY Award Shortlisted artists of the 21st Century. Paolo Nutini, the multi-platinum singer-songwriter from Paisley takes the top spot, with Kilmarnock alternative rock group Biffy Clyro in second place and indie-rock band Franz Ferdinand ranked third.
This PPL chart is compiled from exclusive music usage and airplay data from UK radio stations and television channels, showcasing the music that soundtracks our lives.

Nutini’s third and most recent album Caustic Love was Shortlisted for a SAY Award in 2015 after becoming his second UK chart-topper. Across his three albums he has a total of 13 BPI Platinum certifications, having sold nearly four million albums in the UK to establish himself as one of the most popular Scottish artists of this century.      
Biffy Clyro, in second place, have grown to be one of Scotland’s most successful bands over the last two decades, rising from the Unsigned Stage at T in the Park in 2000 to Reading and Leeds Festival headliners in 2013.  Their last three albums all topped the UK albums chart, including the SAY Award Shortlisted Opposites from 2013 and 2020’s A Celebration of Endings, which is Shortlisted this year.
Franz Ferdinand round off the top three and highlight the popularity of Scottish guitar music over the last 20 years, with the likes of Mogwai, Twin Atlantic and Django Django also in the Top 10. Franz Ferdinand recorded one of the most iconic tracks of the Noughties with “Take Me Out” and subsequent hits “The Dark Of The Matinee” and “Do You Want To” cemented their place as one of the most popular bands of the period. They have continued to receive critical acclaim throughout their career, with latest album Always Ascending being Shortlisted for The SAY Award in 2018.

The chart also reflects the importance of Scottish artists to electronic music. Fourth-placed CHVRCHES, who were Shortlisted for the SAY Award in 2014 and 2016, have become a staple of the UK synth and electro-pop landscape, while Boards of Canada, who are ranked ninth and were Shortlisted for the SAY Award in 2014 for Tomorrow’s Harvest, are “one of the best-known and best-loved electronic acts of the last two decades”, according to FACT magazine1. Indeed, Slam, No. 20 on the list, are the founders of Soma Records, which famously released French electronic powerhouse Daft Punk’s first singles.

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL, said:
“The SAY Award plays a crucial role in the Scottish music industry. For ten years it has recognised artists who have added to the country’s rich musical heritage, from rap and hip-hop to folk and pop, and PPL is proud to help celebrate its tenth anniversary. We have been a long-term supporter of the SAY Award and we look forward to another ten years of fantastic music from some of Scotland’s best artists.”

The full top twenty can be found below.

  1. Paolo Nutini
  2. Biffy Clyro
  3. Franz Ferdinand
  5. Belle & Sebastian
  6. Mogwai
  7. Twin Atlantic
  8. Boards of Canada
  9. Django Django
  10. Young Fathers
  11. Admiral Fallow
  12. King Creosote
  13. The Snuts
  14. C Duncan
  15. Honeyblood
  16. Steve Mason
  17. Karine Polwart
  18. Errors
  19. Arab Strap
  20. Slam

Developed and produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), The SAY Award looks to celebrate the strength and diversity of Scottish music. The winner of The SAY Award will collect £20,000 – one of the most lucrative prize funds in the UK – while all nine runners-up will be awarded £1,000 and their own bespoke award. Following a digital edition in 2020, the event returns as a physical ceremony for 2021, welcoming guests to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Saturday 23rd October. The event will recognise 2021’s Nominees and feature special one-of-a-kind live performances, along with the exclusive reveal of 2021’s Scottish Album of the Year. By the end of 2021’s campaign, The SAY Award will have distributed almost £300,000 in prize money to Scottish artists, with 2021 set to be another stellar year in showcasing the best of Scotland’s world-renowned musical talent.

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)


About PPL
Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for over 120,000 performers and record companies. We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and globally renowned artists. PPL’s public performance licensing is carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

We also collect performance rights internationally when music is played overseas in public and used on TV, radio and some online streaming services, as well as for private copying. International royalties are an increasingly important revenue stream for performers and recording rightsholders.

In 2020, in total, we collected £225.7 million across all of our revenue streams, while also distributing money to over 135,000 performers and recording rightsholders.

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