The many reasons why you should submit your music for the JUNO Awards [Article]
Canada – Original version published Nov. 8, 2010 – Artists can do their careers a lot of good by submitting their music for the JUNO Awards. Despite that pretty much all awards tend to unfairly catch a lot of flack, between there being no single judging system used for determining nominees and winners that will leave everyone feeling like the system is 100% balanced, to artists and industry people voicing their displeasure due to projects they’re involved in not getting the recognition they feel they deserve, to outsiders thinking awards are little more than an opportunity for industry people to pat themselves on the back and party. The reality is that awards are often an integral part of the development of an artist’s career, both in terms of building their fan base and in garnering support from other industry people who can aide them in doing so.
One of the biggest challenges facing artists today is finding ways to stand out from the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of other artists all trying to get people to pay attention to them. Just getting nominated for a recognized award will signify to those paying attention to the awards (including both potential fans and lots of industry people) that you are someone they should pay attention to, and more importantly if you utilize a nomination properly by highlighting it in your solicitations and promotional materials it can open doors for you that might have otherwise been closed. For example someone who handles bookings for a venue or a media person get far more solicitations than they can accommodate or even necessarily listen to immediately (if at all). However if you make it clear in your solicitation that your music was nominated for an significant award, it is going to stand a much better chance of getting some of their time and otherwise being seriously considered more so than other submissions that have not received the same kind of critical acclaim. This should all be equally relevant to you if you are a producer who has worked on an eligible project… Being able to say you have worked on award nominated music should increase the amount of production work you can get and the compensation you can negotiate for that work.
Even just submitting your music for an award could improve the support you may get from the judges who listen to all of the submissions as well as other people involved in the process (e.g. in addition to the judges who pick the nominees the JUNO Awards also have genre-specific music advisory committees made up of knowledgeable industry people who listen to all the submissions for the category to insure they are in the category best-suited for the submitted music), even if you don’t end up getting nominated. I have been a judge for awards in the past, and have discovered quality artists whose music I’ve heard for the first time as a result of being a judge, and I’ve seen the same thing with other people being a part of a JUNO music advisory committee. Typically there are about ten judges per category for both the JUNOs and the Western Canadian Music Awards, and there are also about ten people on the music advisory committee for the JUNOs. Therefore any artist who submits for the JUNOs is going to have their music listened to by 20 industry people – 10 judges that change each year (whom no one other than CARAS – the organization that runs the JUNOs – know who they are until after the winner is announced) and the 10 members of the music advisory committee.
All of these people are chosen specifically for their expertise in the genre, so that is 20 people that you could well end up working with in some capacity, and any one of them could help you make significant forward progress with your career as a result of hearing the music you submit. I don’t know many better ways to get the attention of 20 industry professionals who work in the same genre. To expand on that, I can’t speak for the other members of the Rap JUNO music advisory committee or any judges, but I am personally watching the submissions to see which artists are handling their business by submitting, and which are not. The reality of this industry is that there is far more talent out there than opportunity, so it takes more than having talent to stand a good chance of building a viable fan base. I’m personally looking for artists to work with who also have a solid work ethic and demonstrated self-promotional abilities in place before I personally am going to be able to spend much of my time on their behalf.
As I said, each year the names of the actual judges who pick the nominees and winner of a category are not made available to anyone until the final votes are in, but here is a list of the members of the music advisory committee for the Best Rap Recording JUNO Award as of 2013-2014:
JUNO Rap Recording Committee
Jay Devonish (E1 Entertainment)
Kyle Kraft (Battle Axe / Krafty Entertainment)
David “Click Cox” (Stylus DJ Awards)
Greg Baptiste (MuchMusic / CTV)
Jody Laraya (Universal Music)
Jesse Plunkett (HipHopCanada.com)
Melissa “DJ MelBoogie” Langely (CKLN 88.1FM)
Jay Swing (Beat 94.5FM, Donnely Nightclubs)
Dice B (CINQ 102.3FM)
Don Smooth (K103FM)
rez DigitaL (CityOnMyBack.com)
Darryl Rodway (URBNET)
Marlon Wilson (Politic Live / Alberta Music Industry Association)
Alan Greyeyes (Manitoba Music)
RS Smooth (DJ/Radio Host)
Ask yourself, even if you don’t get nominated wouldn’t you like to know that all of those people are spending some of their time listening to your music? Most of them could probably aide in the development of your career in some manner that you could benefit from if they’re feeling your music, so why not guarantee yourself that they are going to listen to your music by submitting? There is no easier way of guaranteeing yourself that any – let alone all – of those people will listen to your music. And don’t forget about the 10 judges for the category who are chosen as a result of their background of working in the genre in similar capacities – as DJs, media, label reps, promoters, booking agents, managers, etc etc.
Bottom line here, if you have worked on a project that was released within the eligibility period (between September 1, 2012 and November 13, 2013), you have everything to gain by submitting. Don’t sleep!
Written by Kyle Kraft
Tags: Alan Greyeyes, CARAS, Darryl Rodway, David "Click" Cox, Dice B, DJ MelBoogie, Don Smooth, Greg Baptiste, Jay Devonish, Jay Swing, Jesse Plunkett, Jody Laraya, JUNO Awards, Kyle Kraft, Marlon Wilson, rez DigitaL, RS Smooth