New Procedures For Election to the Country Music Hall of Fame

Updated 2/27: From the CMA “We received several questions about the criteria for the Modern Era and Veterans Era categories from the original release that went out on 2/25/09. After consulting with the Chairman and Co-Chairman of the CMA Awards & Recognition Committee, we have corrected and updated these two paragraphs to what is written below.”

The Country Music Association is instituting new category and voting procedures for coveted entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Three new members will continue to be inducted every year, with one each coming from the new categories, which will be renamed and defined as follows beginning with the 2010 ballots:

Modern Era: An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence. They will remain eligible for that category for the next 25 years. This replaces the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category.

Veterans Era: An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 45 years after they first achieve national prominence. This combines the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” (which was voted on annually) and “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” (which was voted on every third year in rotation) categories into one.

Rotating Categories: The third slot will continue to be a rotating category, with each group in the spotlight every third year. The Recording and/or Touring Musician and Non Performer slots will remain, joined by a new Songwriter category.

“In the past, songwriters and industry executives shared the same category that rotated every three years,” explains Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “With these new changes, the songwriters and non-performers now have their own rotating categories. This allows these talented and influential men and women a more frequent opportunity to join this intimate fraternity.”

For the first time, the Veterans Era and Modern Era categories will have separate Nominating Committees, each made up of 12 industry leaders who serve three-year terms. The Modern Era Nominating Committee will also oversee the Rotating Categories. Two anonymous Panels of Electors will be established, with one panel voting for the Modern Era and Rotating Categories, while the second votes for the Veterans Era category. Among all voters, there will be two rounds of ballots. In the first round, each voter will choose five candidates from the nominated list of 10-20 candidates. In the second round, voters will select one nominee from the top five.

These changes were approved by the CMA Board of Directors during the February Board meeting in Orlando, Fla. last week. The Hall’s 2009 class—made up of Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell, and Charlie McCoy—will be officially inducted in May.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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