Mercury Prize: The best-selling winning albums

For some acts, the prize was a springboard to further success, while others never quite escaped its shadow.

Over the last 29 years, the Mercury Prize has helped thrust game-changing albums into the spotlight that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

For acts such as The xx, Dizzee Rascal and Alt-J, the prize was a springboard to further success, often on a global scale, while a handful never quite managed to escape its shadow.

With this year's Mercury Prize winner announced this week on September 24, Official Charts has crunched the numbers to reveal which Mercury Prize-winning records have sold the most, based on a combined figure of physical, digital, and streaming equivalent sales.

MORE: See the Mercury Prize 2020 shortlist in full

Finishing top of the pile are Arctic Monkeys, winners in 2006 with their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. The record was hugely popular before its Mercury nod - shifting 360,000 copies in its opening week alone - but its win no doubt spurred on sales, which currently stand at 1.95 million equivalent units. Look at Arctic Monkey's Official UK Chart history in full here.


Artic Monkeys performing at the 2006 Mercury Prize (Shutterstock)

Three more prize winning albums have passed the million sales mark; Pulp's Different Class, which won in 1996, has sold 1.33m, and Franz Ferdinand's self-titled debut - released in 2004 at the height of the early '00s indie-pop wave - has shifted 1.3m. Meanwhile, Mercury shortlist regulars Elbow have sold 1.11m of The Seldom Seen Kid, which won the gong in 2008.

M People, winners of the Mercury Prize in 1994, have the sixth best-selling winners album with their second album Elegant Slumming (759,000), while Londoners The xx - an act who shot to worldwide fame thanks to their win - place eighth with healthy sales of 626,000 for their self-titled debut. Originally entering the Official Albums Chart at 36 in 2009, the record shot to Number 3 after their win the following year. 

First winners Primal Scream, who are still together, come in seventh with Screamadelica, on 715,000.


Wolf Alice at the 2018 Mercury Prize (Shutterstock)

PJ Harvey – the only artist to claim the Mercury twice – sees her 2001 winner Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (301k) place four spots higher than 2011's Let England Shake (179k), while last year's winner, Psychodrama by Dave, is 18th (241k).

In place of the traditional ceremony at London's Eventim Apollo, BBC Four will air the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ programme, featuring special live performances from most of the shortlisted acts. The show will also be available on YouTube.

On Thursday September 24, the winner of the coveted trophy and £25,000 cash endorsement will be revealed on BBC One's The One Show, taking the prize to primetime on the BBC's lead channel for the first time. Running concurrently on BBC 6Music will be a two-hour radio show celebrating the event hosted by Tom Ravenscroft.

The Official biggest Mercury Prize-winning albums

POS TITLE ARTIST PEAK YEAR OF WIN CHART SALES
1 WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT ARCTIC MONKEYS 1 2006 1.95M
2 DIFFERENT CLASS PULP 1 1996 1.33M
3 FRANZ FERDINAND FRANZ FERDINAND 3 2004 1.3M
4 THE SELDOM SEEN KID ELBOW 5 2008 1.11M
5 DUMMY PORTISHEAD 2 1995 920K
6 ELEGANT SLUMMING M PEOPLE 4 1994 759K
7 SCREAMADELICA PRIMAL SCREAM 8 1992 715k
8 XX THE XX 3 2010 626K
9 BRING IT ON GOMEZ 11 1998 502K
10 A LITTLE DEEPER MS DYNAMITE 10 2002 498K
11 THE HOUR OF BEWILDERBEAST BADLY DRAWN BOY 13 2000 460K
12 AN AWESOME WAVE ALT-J 13 2012 445K
13 MYTHS OF THE NEAR FUTURE KLAXONS 2 2007 351K
14 NEW FORMS RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT 8 1997 336K
15 BOY IN DA CORNER DIZZEE RASCAL 23 2003 310K
16 SUEDE SUEDE 1 1993 301K
17 STORIES FROM THE CITY, STORIES FROM THE SEA PJ HARVEY 23 2001 301K
18 PSYCHODRAMA DAVE 1 2019 241K
19 I AM A BIRD NOW ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS 16 2005 233K
20 KONNICHIWA SKEPTA 2 2016 207K
21 LET ENGLAND SHAKE PJ HARVEY 8 2011 179K
22 OK TALVIN SINGH 41 1999 91K
23 VISIONS OF A LIFE WOLF ALICE 2 2018 86K
24 OVERGROWN JAMES BLAKE 8 2013 81K
25 PROCESS SAMPHA 7 2017 62K
26 AT LEAST FOR NOW BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE 37 2015 36K
27 DEAD YOUNG FATHERS 35 2014 19K
28 SPEECH THERAPY SPEECH DEBELLE 65 2009 15K


Copyright Official Charts Company 2019. 
*This chart is compiled taking in physical sales, downloads and streaming equivalent sales.

Look back over every Mercury Prize winner ever below: 

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Dave (2019)