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Seven Easy Steps to Becoming a Juno Nominee

TYEE LIST #8: Your guide to Canadian music stardom! Hint: channel Anne Murray.

Laura Kane 31 Mar 2012TheTyee.ca

Laura Kane is a freelance journalist and UBC graduate student interested in gender issues and geek culture. You can follow her on Twitter @ellekane.

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It takes more than merely rocking on stage.

[Editor's note: This weekend's list is brought to you by UBC School of Journalism student Laura Kane. The school's arts journalism class is covering the Canadian Juno awards, including the red carpet breakdown and a live chat, on Sunday, April 1 starting at 3 p.m. PST. Visit Junos by Journos or follow them on Twitter @JunosUBC. And now, read on to learn what it takes to win that coveted Juno nom.]

1. Sell a lot of records.

That is, if you want to be nominated for Album of the Year or International Album of the Year. Those categories are entirely determined by sales figures. This explains why so many albums featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer keep making the cut.

As for Artist of the Year and Group of the Year, these categories are determined by sales figures in conjunction with a vote by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). So, you still need to sell tons of records, but if CARAS members think your album is better than one with lower sales, you could still squeak in.

What is CARAS you ask? CARAS is an organization that exists solely to adjudicate the Junos. All members are Canadian music industry professionals and artists, but anyone can apply. That's right, if you're an active musician, you can be a member. It costs $50 a year plus HST to join up -- definitely worth it if you get to vote for your own album.

2. If you can't sell a lot of records, switch to a more obscure genre.

The categories listed above are the only ones that have a sales requirement. The rest (Alternative Album of the Year, Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, and even the terribly obscure Rap Album of the Year) are all based on artistic merit. At least, y'know, in theory.

And if you are nominated for an obscure genre, take comfort: "experts" will be judging you.

3. Make sure your record came out sort of, kind of, within the last year.

The eligibility time frame for the 2012 Junos began on Sept. 1, 2010 and ended Nov. 10, 2011. That's a pretty long year. Remember September 2010? Lady Gaga still had the capacity to shock people back then. Times sure have changed.

This extendo-year means that you can submit your album twice if it doesn't get nominated the first time. That's why so many sleeper hits end up nominated much later than when they first came out -- Arcade Fire released "Funeral" in September 2004, but didn't get any attention from the Junos until the 2006 ceremonies.

4. Oh, yeah. You need to pay.

This ain't a free ride. Submitting your album costs $60 at the early bird rate, with CARAS members charged only $35. But if you wait until the last minute, you'll have to cough up the cash -- fees rise to $90 by the end of the eligibility period in November.

5. Be a Canadian…

You're supposed to have been born here or have landed immigrant status. But of course, we Canadians like to claim people as our own, so thank you, Win Butler, for adding your coolness to our already frigid country.

6. …who lives in Canada.

Being a Canadian (…or, playing with Canadians), is not enough. CARAS wants you to make your music on our soil. I know, it's a cruel price to pay to be nominated for a Juno. Luckily, you only have to tolerate Saskatoon for six months out of the year. And it doesn't seem like CARAS polices this rule too carefully either. I mean, how much time does Justin Bieber really spend at his Stratford, Ontario address?

7. Be Anne Murray.

This is not a requirement, but it is your surefire route in. Canada's beloved snowbird has more Juno nominations and wins than anyone, with a total of 28 statuettes under her belt (including those won before the awards were even called the Junos). If Murray releases anything new, it's all but guaranteed a nomination. A small request though, if you do become Anne Murray, can you please bring back her 1980s mullet?  [Tyee]

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