Close to two years ago a committee headed by Warner Music Canada president Steve Kane was struck to set parameters on who will be inducted into The Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
At first glance, the task seems easy, but it has proven to be anything but. Over 100 names have been submitted or suggested by various camps and there is a platinum list of 10 that has more or less been approved, pending agreement on the ‘when’ and ‘where’ the inductions will take place.
According to sources, the ‘why’ has proven problematic. As The Canadian Music Hall of Fame falls under the auspices of CARAS, there can be no unanswered questions about who makes the cut, or why these names are deemed more significant than others. The names must be unarguable or the list becomes a political hot potato, and this is something the committee and CARAS want to avoid at any cost.
Another discussion point that is dragging on an announcement is the where and when. CARAS rightly feels that future inductees should be recognized in grand fashion. The feeling is that an annual gala event is what is needed; however, these events cost money and, so far, no sponsors have come forward to pay the freight. There is an idea that the gala would include performances, but how many and how does one handle posthumous honours?
The committee is feeling the heat to come up with a turnkey solution, but as yet there is no firm agreement on how to proceed, and any decision made would then have to meet with CARAS Board approval. One camp is suggesting the induction process be simplified by pushing through a large number of heritage inductees from the '60s and '70s with a simple acknowledgement, a certificate of honour and recognition on a mounted plaque in Calgary’s National Music Centre. The old-timers could be parsed into three categories: Trailblazers, Pioneers, and Settlers. Since the HoF was established in 1978, many from these eras have been overlooked or ignored.
As we understand it, while this simplifies the process and acknowledges a large number of names on the list, there is no unified approval of going this route.
CARAS President Allan Reid is hesitant to offer a final word on the direction the Academy is taking, but he did offer the following in an e-mail sent to FYI:
“There is no question that we have a long and illustrious list of talent who deserve to be recognized and honoured. The Hall of Fame is the highest honour within the music industry and CARAS cannot underemphasize its weight.
“We recognize the process has been long but we have to work through various complexities of getting it right, as well as the reality of getting appropriate funding to support such an initiative. Our Hall of Fame Committee has been instrumental in narrowing down a long list of artists for consideration and through our partnerships with CBC and the National Music Centre we hope to announce plans for more inductions around this next Juno cycle.”
So, there you have it. The Academy is in negotiations with various camps and, if accommodations can be agreed to, there is every chance a binding decision will be made before the next Juno Awards roll out in March 2019.
–– A history of past inductees can be viewed on the Juno Awards' website.