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.