The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity.
Board of Directors
Geneviève Côté, SOCAN
Alan Greyeyes, Festival Director, sākihiwē festival
Jesse Kumagai, Massey Hall / Roy Thompson Hall
Tao-Ming Lau, Blue Crane Agency
Lindsay Lynch, Shopify
Steve Jordan, CBC
Miro Oballa, Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP
Derrick Ross, Slaight Music
Jamie Schouela, Blue Ant Media
Robyn Stewart, Western Canadian Music Alliance
Melissa Vincent, Jury Foreperson
Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize Jury Foreperson:
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I have completed an album that deserves to win. How do I submit my recording for Polaris consideration?
The short answer: you don’t. Artists or their representatives cannot submit to Polaris.
So if an act can’t submit an album to Polaris, how do you decide who gets nominated?
An expert jury of broadcasters, bloggers, programmers and other media authorities on Canadian music submit ballots listing the albums they feel are most deserving, based on their perspective as music-filterers. No person with a financial stake in an artist (manager, label personnel, bookers, publishers, et cetera) is eligible to be on the jury. They are listed here: http://polarismusicprize.ca/jury/
Throughout the year our jurors convene in a special closed forum to share and discuss music they believe merits Polaris consideration. These album “recommendations,” with the artists’ permission, are uploaded for all jurists to hear.
Jury members submit a ranked ballot listing what they believe are the five best Canadian albums from the eligibility window. The results become the 40 album Long List, which gets revealed each June.
From that the jury then submits another ranked ballot of five albums, this time choosing only from the Long List albums. The results become the 10 album Short List, which gets revealed each July.
How do you decide the winner?
An 11 member Grand Jury debates the merits of each Short List album, then cast individual secret ballots to determine what album they believe should win the Polaris Music Prize. Once the ballots are all counted we announce the winner of that year’s Polaris Music Prize.
How is the jury selected?
Jury members are selected each year by the Polaris Executive Director and the Jury Forepeople.
Can I be on the jury?
Maybe. If you’re regularly covering or filtering new and local Canadian music for print, radio, TV or the web we’d be happy to consider you.
Polaris actively seeks to find qualified jurors from across the country with a broad range of musical interests, an exceptional knowledge base and a desire to seek out the most artistically meritorious Canadian music.
Jury applications are accepted between October – December of each year. (Note: Jury applications for 2021 are now closed.)
Can I lobby the jury?
Outright lobbying is discouraged, but friendly contact that makes jurists aware of your record can be considered helpful depending on the jury member. We recommend that you research the jurors from your area and/or jurors who specialize in the music that you make, then contact them directly.
Jury members and their affiliations are listed on our site here. Feel free to direct this type of communication to their respective media outlets.
Do you have a list of contacts for the jury members?
We have a list. It’s private and we don’t hand it out.
Should I hire a publicist to lobby the jury?
That’s up to you. In the past, albums have won and been nominated with little to no publicity support. Others have had publicity support. It’s been our experience that the jurors care first foremost and always about the quality of the music and tend not to respond well to excessive publicity harassment.
I have another question, but it may not be frequently asked. Who can I ask?
You should email info AT polarismusicprize.ca. Once we figure out which Polaris person is the most appropriate to reply to you someone will respond.
Do you accept unsolicited records?
We do not.