Written by Kyle Kraft of Krafty Entertainment
Krafty Entertainment is a music business development coaching company dedicated to providing guidance to musicians (and their teams) on how best to nurture supporters and profit from doing so. Krafty Entertainment’s founder Kyle Kraft has over 20 years experience in assisting both developing and established artists in substantially growing their net income from their music. Interested in working with us? Let’s talk!
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.
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, 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 a playlist curator or someone who handles bookings for a venue gets far more solicitations than they can accommodate or even necessarily listen to immediately (if at all), and having an award nomination could put you higher on their list of submissions to consider.
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 (eg 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 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 ten judges per category for the JUNOs, and there are also about ten people on the music advisory committees for the genre categories of 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 could well end up opening up doors for your career development, 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. 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 2 Rap categories of the JUNO Awards:
Aidan D'Aoust - Sony Music (Toronto)
Alan Greyeyes - sākihiwē festival (Winnipeg)
Annalie Bonda - The Remix Project (Toronto)
Cheyanna "DJ Kookum" Kootenhayoo - Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Vancouver)
Erin Ashley - TikTok (Toronto)
Jay "DJ Jay Swing" Wallace - Safe and Sound Entertainment (Vancouver)
Jesse Plunkett - HipHopCanada.com (Ottawa)
Kyle Kraft - Krafty Entertainment/ Battle Axe Music (Vancouver)
Marlon Wilson - Arlo Maverick (Edmonton)
Melissa "DJ Mel Boogie" Langley - VIBE105 FM (Toronto)
Melissa MacMaster - 902 Hip Hop (Halifax)
Nathan Wiszniak - Spotify (Toronto)
Ricardo Chung - Warner Music (Toronto)
Steve Jolin - 7ieme Ciel Records (Montreal)
Zahra "DJ Brown Skin Lady" Habib - Radio Western 94.9 CHRW (London)
Zoe Slusar - Zhe The Free (Calgary)
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? Many 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 (between September 1 of last year and November 5 of this year), you have everything to gain by submitting. Don't sleep! For more info on the JUNO Awards visit: https://www.JUNOawards.ca
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 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 paths 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.
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