Juno Awards

Juno Awards. Canadian recording industry awards, established in 1964 by RPM magazine, the first Canadian national recording industry weekly music trade publication pioneered by Walt Grealis. The awards were known initially as the RPM Gold Leaf Awards (held in the St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto); however, in 1965, reader Hal Philips suggested that the magazine rename the awards to honour the then-head of the CRTC, Pierre Juneau. In 1970, upon the discovery that Juno had been a chief goddess of the Roman pantheon, the spelling was changed permanently to "Juno." The Juno Awards have often been described as the Canadian equivalent of the (US) Grammy awards. Effectively devoted to the English-Canadian sector of the recording industry, they were paralleled as of 1979 in Quebec by the Félix Awards.

The awards were introduced by RPM editor and publisher Walt Grealis to develop a "star system" in Canada. They were organized in the early years on the magazine's behalf by Stan Klees. Winners were selected by RPM readers until 1975. Thereafter CARAS, formed expressly for the purpose, became the governing body of the awards, and voting was reserved primarily for CARAS members. That year also marked the first CBC telecast of the Junos, which allowed the event to assume a higher profile. CTV has broadcast the event since 2002.

Specific award categories and their descriptions have varied from year to year so as to reflect changes and developments in the music industry. In 1964, there were 16 categories. By 2010, this had grown to 39 categories, including: International Album of the Year, Francophone Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Group of the Year, Instrumental Album of the Year, New Artist of the Year, New Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Country Album of the Year, Rap Recording of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, Video of the Year, Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, Traditional Jazz Album of the Year, Children's Album of the Year, Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble, Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment, Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance, Classical Composition of the Year, Alternative Album of the Year, Adult Alternative Album of the Year, Dance Recording of the Year, R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, Reggae Recording of the Year, Aboriginal Album of the Year, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year, World Music Album of the Year, Jack Richardson Producer of the Year, Recording Engineer of the Year, Recording Package of the Year, Juno Fan Choice Award, and Music DVD of the Year.

The selection process also has varied. In October of every year, panels of experts decide on nominees in two rounds of voting. Then, in February, five nominees in every category are announced to the media. Depending on the category, winners are typically decided on by either a panel of judges, by a ballot sent out to CARAS members, or (in few instances) on the basis of sales.

The Juno Awards presentation is typically held over two nights. The Juno Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony is a non-televised event that takes place on the evening preceding the Juno Awards. The gala event includes the induction of an artist into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (established in 1978) and the presentation of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award (established in 1984). Winners in the remaining nine Juno Award categories are announced on the following evening at the televised Juno Awards ceremony.

The Juno Awards traditionally have been presented in the province of Ontario. However, in 2002, they were held in Newfoundland and Labrador. This marked the first time a provincial music industry partnered with CARAS to sponsor the event. The Junos have since been staged in arenas in Ottawa (2003), Edmonton (2004), Winnipeg (2005), Halifax (2006), Saskatoon (2007), Calgary (2008) and Vancouver (2009). The event returned to St. John's in 2010, Toronto in 2011 and Ottawa in 2012. The awards were presented in Regina in 2013 and will be held in Winnipeg in 2014.

Since 2002, special public entertainment events have customarily accompanied the annual Juno weekend, including JunoFest, FanFare, and the Songwriters' Circle. JunoFest is a public, ticketed two-day event that presents concerts in local venues of the host city. In 2004, JunoFest featured more than 100 performances given by award nominees and local talent at 14 venues in Edmonton. FanFare, which attracted more than 10 000 people in 2003, is a free interactive public event that allows fans to meet with their favourite bands and artists. The Songwriters' Circle (based on an annual ECMA event of the same name) was established in 2001 and is co-sponsored by the CMPA, SAC, and SOCAN. It brings together artists for an informal and intimate concert of songs and stories, and proceeds typically have gone to support Band Aid - a program sponsored by CARAS that is intended to improve music education in Canada by providing individual grants to selected schools across the country.

The 25th anniversary of the Junos was celebrated in 1996 with the release of both a book and a four-disc box set entitled Oh What a Feeling. The box set was the first in Canadian history to be certified diamond for total sales of one million discs. Similar box sets followed in 2001 and 2006 to mark the 30th and 35th anniversary of the Junos.

The Allan Waters Humanitarian Award was introduced in 2006 and has been presented to Bruce Cockburn, Tom Jackson, Paul Brandt, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, Neil Young and Simple Plan.

The Eastern provinces have hosted their own East Coast Music Awards (known until 1991 as the Maritime Music Awards) on an annual basis since 1989. In 2002, the Prairie Music Alliance expanded to incorporate the Western Canadian provinces and territories (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut). United, they are known as the Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA) and have hosted the Western Canadian Music Awards annually since 2003.