CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor.
The categories and voting process were updated in 2009, taking effect with the 2010 ballot. The current categories are:
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 replaced the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category].
An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 45 years after they first achieve national prominence. [This category combined the former “Career Achieved National Prominence between World War II and 1975” category (which was voted on annually) and “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” sub-category (which was voted on every third year in rotation) into one group].
The third slot 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. [The Songwriter category was created in the 2009 update, and will induct its first member in 2011. Previously, songwriters were included in the Non-Performer category].
The Veterans Era and Modern Era categories have separate Nominating Committees, each made up of 12 industry leaders who serve three-year terms.
The Modern Era Nominating Committee also oversees the Rotating Categories.
Final nominations are then submitted to two separate Panels of Electors, made up of historians and industry professionals that have a historical perspective on Country Music. One Panel votes for both the Modern Era and the Rotating Categories, while a second Panel votes for the Veterans Era category. Both Panels are updated annually by the CMA Awards and Recognition Committee. Individuals can serve on both Panels. All panelists remain anonymous and are appointed by the CMA Board of Directors.