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The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards
Joined by producers Jordan Evans & Matthew Burnett, Daniel Caesar accepts his 2018 JUNO Award. (Photo: CARAS/iphoto)

Kyle Kraft, Chair of the music advisory committee for Rap Recording of the Year, explains why artists should submit for The JUNO Awards and other awards shows.

Artists can do their careers a lot of good by submitting their music for 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.

“The deadline to submit for the JUNOs is Nov. 9, 2018 at 5 p.m. ET.”

One of the biggest challenges facing artists today is finding ways to stand out from the millions of other developing 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.

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 gets far more solicitations than they can accommodate or even necessarily listen to immediately (if at all).

The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

David Myles & Classified

However, if you make it clear in your solicitation that your music was nominated for a 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… If you’re doing it right, 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 the submissions as well as other people involved in the process (E.g. in addition to the judges 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 ensure 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.

The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

K’naan & Drake

Any artist who submits for the JUNOS is going to have their music listened to by those who work in the industry. This could open up doors for your career development, and any one listening 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 industry professionals who work in the same genre. 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 many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

DJ MelBoogie recently became Co-Chair of the music advisory committee.

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.

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 Rap Recording of the Year for 2019:

Kyle Kraft (Chair) Battle Axe Music/ Krafty Entertainment Vancouver
Melissa “DJ MelBoogie” Langley (Co-Chair) VIBE105 FM Toronto
Nathan Wiszniak Spotify Toronto
Erin Ashley Exclaim! Toronto
Aidan D’Aoust SOCAN Toronto
Ricardo Chung Last Gang Toronto
Jesse Plunkett HipHopCanada Ottawa
Steve Jolin Disques 7ième Ciel Montreal
Melissa MacMaster 902 Hip Hop Halifax
Alan Greyeyes sākihiwē Festival Winnipeg
Marlon Wilson Artist/ Alberta Music board Edmonton
Jay Swing aka Jay Wallace Safe and Sound Entertainment Vancouver
Sean Murray Paradigm Talent Agency Toronto

Ask yourself, even if you don’t get nominated wouldn’t you like to know that those people are spending some of their time listening to your music and thinking of you as an artist who handles their business? 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 maximize the chances of that happening by submitting? Also 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.

Bottom line here, if you have worked on a project that was released within the eligibility period (September 1, 2017 to November 9, 2018), you have everything to gain by submitting. Don’t sleep! For more info on the JUNO Awards visit,

The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

The Weeknd

All of the above is applicable to pretty much any organized award or music competition. Until you have nominations and wins for larger awards like the JUNOs, you would be wise to submit for smaller awards and competitions. After all, being able to say you have been nominated for an award gets some people who aren’t familiar with you taking you more seriously than artists who haven’t been.

So submit for all the awards and competitions that you can, and work on building your resume of critical acclaim!

This information was compiled by Kyle Kraft of Battle Axe Music and Krafty Entertainment. Whether you are an artist who is in the early stages of building your career and have next to no money to invest into it looking for the best path to generating income, are an artist that has established a following and are interested in getting assistance with securing tens of thousands of dollars in funding to further your career, or are an artist or collective with an extensive fan base that would like assistance with increasing the efficiency of your business development, we can help you. For more info please visit

The many reasons why artists should submit their music for awards

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