THE Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award will be hosted online for the first amid fears the country’s music industry is “in crisis”.

Live announcements held in the previous nine years will be replaced by virtual events including the final award ceremony later in 2020.

Music fans have been invited to make submissions for the £20,000 prize – of eligible Scottish albums released between April 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 – on the SAY Award website before Friday, July 31.

Auntie Flo – Brian d’Souza – was named last year’s winner for Radio Highlife while other acts on the shortlist included Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert, Kathryn Joseph and Mastersystem.

Eligible acts which can be submitted for the 2020 award include Lewis Capaldi, Gerry Cinnamon, Declan Welsh and the Decadent West, Anna Meredith, Twin Atlantic, Siobhan Wilson and Idlewild.

The move online comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with Scottish music venues among the industries forced to close their doors over the last few months.

In its route map out of lockdown, the Scottish Government has said it expects mass gatherings “will not be permitted for some time” but are included in phase four and will be subject to public health advice.

Robert Kilpatrick, general manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “Scotland’s music industry is in crisis. For many of my industry colleagues, celebrating may be the last thing they’ll feel like doing. How can we celebrate when venues have closed, are closing and will continue to close unless something more is done? When our young people are losing access to music? How do our young people become future talent, active fans and economic supporters of our industry?

“There are no easy answers and, as the situation continues, Scotland’s music industry remains at significant risk, with a strong reliance on people coming together to create or experience music, as well as a high level of self-employment.

“Never more than now, is it important that we celebrate Scottish music. By celebrating, we promote its visibility, highlight its value, develop audiences and stimulate opportunity at a time it’s never been needed more.

“The SAY Award campaign has been re-imagined for 2020 and has been designed to help mitigate some of the key challenges our industry faces. We hope you join us and best of luck to all eligible albums.”