CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor. Inductees are voted by CMA’s Hall of Fame Panels of Electors, which consist of industry professional appointed by the CMA Board of Directors. There are currently 124 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Since 1964, Hall of Fame inductees have been recognized and honored on the annual CMA Awards. Inductees are also celebrated and officially inducted at a special ceremony held in the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and presented with bronze medallions that they can wear. At that time their bronze plagues which will hang in the rotunda are unveiled.
2015 Inductee Announcement – LIVE from the Country Music Hall of Fame
Re-Watch it now.
CMA established the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 as an institution devoted to recognizing and honoring noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to Country Music. The information below details the Hall of Fame selection process and criteria for evaluating candidates for the award.
Selecting Country Music Hall of Fame inductees happens in two phases:
- Nomination of Candidates
- Election of Winners
A Hall of Fame Nominating Committee will be vested with the responsibility of nominating a slate of Hall of Fame candidates. From this slate, which will also include a write-in portion for nominations on the first ballot, winners will be chosen by a panel of not less than 100 Hall of Fame electors.
The Hall of Fame Nominating Committees (Modern and Veterans Era)
- The committee will consist of 12 voting members, each serving a three‑year term.
- The CMA President and Chairman of the Board, along with the Chairman of the Awards & Recognition Committee, will serve as ex‑officio non‑voting members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees.
- The Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will each elect its own chairman.
- Each year, before the expiration of the terms of four members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees, the Awards and Recognition Committee will present four names to the CMA Board for ratification at their first quarterly Board meeting. A member whose term expires may again serve after the passage of three years.
- No member of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame while serving on either of the Nominating Committees.
Panel of Electors
- A panel of at least 100 Hall of Fame electors will be charged with responsibility of selecting Hall of Fame winners.
- Electors will serve for life so long as they are in compliance with Items 7 and 8 below.
- Additional appointments may be made to the Panel of Electors as deemed necessary by the Board to maintain a sufficient number of Electors.
- Appointment to the Panel of Electors will be made by the CMA Board of Directors by a majority vote from a roster of recommended names prepared by the Awards and Recognition Committee. Any Board member may suggest additional names for consideration. Electors will be appointed on an individual basis, not as a panel
- The 12 members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee will also serve as Electors.
- Members of the CMA Board of Directors may also serve as Electors, but this role is not automatic.
- Electors must have participated actively in Country Music for at least 10 years and must themselves merit respect and recognition for their accomplishments and/or knowledge in one or more aspects of Country Music. Electors must be members of the Country Music Association.
- Electors failing to vote two consecutive years will automatically be considered incapacitated and their names dropped from the Panel. Written request will be required for reinstatement.
Nomination of Hall of Fame Candidates
- Each year the Chief Executive Officer of CMA and the Director of CMF will each present five names to the Nominating Committees for consideration. The committees will not be limited to or bound by those suggestions. Neither the CMA CEO or CMF Director is an elected member of the Nominating Committees and, therefore, neither has voting rights.
- Each year, at a date chosen by the Association, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will, by majority vote conducted by secret ballot, nominate no less than 10 nor more than 20 Hall of Fame candidates as official nominees for each category to be inducted in that year. Deceased persons must have been dead one year prior to nomination.
- Beginning in 2010, there will be three induction categories:
- Modern Era (eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence),
- Veterans Era (eligible for induction in this category 40 years after they first achieve national prominence), and
- Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980 (rotates every 3 years).
Nominations will be guided by the Hall of Fame Criteria which is listed separately.
- Basic Standard – A candidate basically is to be judged on the degree of his or her contribution to the advancement of Country Music and on the indelibility of his/her impact.
- Individual Candidacy – Only individuals may be elected to the Hall of Fame. Companies, publications, radio stations and other groups – many of which significantly foster Country Music – are not eligible for Hall of Fame recognition.
- Scope of Activity – Flexible authority is vested in the Electors in identifying the scope of a candidate’s activity in Country Music. The individual may have excelled in a narrow, specific sphere, such as songwriting, publishing, musician, recording artist, etc., or may have been active in several areas. In any event, a candidate must have achieved definitive leadership in his/her own field of Country Music activity. However, it is definitely not mandatory to honor the leaders in every activity related to Country Music. A candidate truly must compete with all candidates in all fields, as well as with all candidates in his/her own field.
- Span of Influence – The time factor of a candidate’s impact on Country Music is completely flexible. It may cover an uninterrupted span of many years or it may cover two or more distinct and separated time cycles. Conceivably, a candidate may earn Hall of Fame recognition by one transient act, momentary in time, providing the impact on Country Music is deemed significant enough. Longevity of involvement with Country Music, therefore, will not in itself warrant recognition in the Hall of Fame.
- Influence on Others – A most significant criterion in evaluating a candidate will be his/her inspirational effect on others; the degree to which he/she multiplies his influence through others to create impact on Country Music far beyond his/her own direct individual contribution.
- Quantity vs. Quality – A candidate’s ability to expand the popularity of Country Music is a quantitative virtue. The professionalism of his/her activity is a “qualitative” one. Both quantitative and qualitative criteria are to be considered equally and separately important; conceivably, one may be present without the other.
- Devotion to Others – Furthering Country Music by selfless devotion to the interests of others may enhance the candidacy of an individual, but it is not essential to winning. The activities of a candidate may be completely self‑devoted and still be considered significant enough to warrant recognition.
- Professional Conduct and Image – A candidate is expected to have practiced the highest caliber of professional conduct in order to enhance the public image of both himself/herself and Country Music.
- Personal Morals and Behavior – The selection process is not a judgment of personal morals and behavior, providing the latter does not negatively affect the professional conduct of the candidate and the public image of Country Music.
An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence.
An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 40 years after they first achieve national prominence.
This is a rotating category, with each group in the spotlight every third year. The three rotating categories are Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980.