There's a lot of buzz in the air right now about the Polaris Music Prize, but in case you don't know much about it we've put together this little primer to get you up to speed.
Why is it called "Polaris"?
“Our working title was the Northern Star Music Prize but we didn't want to use the word star,” explains Polaris Music Prize founder Steve Jordan. “Polaris is the north star, so 'Polaris' it was.”
What is the "long list" and what is the "short list"?
The long list emerges after the first round of jury votes are tabulated and consists of 40 albums. The short list whittles the long list down to 10 albums.
Who decides the winner?
A grand jury is selected out of the larger jury pool, and they deliberate upon the ultimate winner.
Who has won it before?
Owen Pallett (as Final Fantasy), Patrick Watson, Caribou, F--ked Up, Karkwa and Arcade Fire.
How come I've never heard of some of these bands?
The jury for this prize consists of a cross-section of music writers and industry people from Canada, burdened with the responsibility of choosing the most artistic album of the year. The jury membership grows each year but, thus far – with the exception of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and last year’s winners, Arcade Fire – they’ve demonstrated a predilection for nominating artists operating on a smaller scale, likely because they think such artists made a great record, yes, but also because they could use the prize money the most. That’s one theory.
Otherwise, they’re a panel of experts and might know something we don’t. I’ve never heard of any Nobel Prize winners for chemistry because I don’t follow that world closely enough. But that doesn’t make the winner any less valid to me. Except for Roger D. Kornberg, whose studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription totally reveal a sophomore slump. Get a producer, Roger!
What do the bands get for winning?
Top prize is $30,000, each short list nominee receives $2,000.
Where and when is the winner announced?
The Polaris Music Prize Gala takes place the evening of Sept. 24 in Toronto at the Masonic Temple, and will be broadcast live on CBC Radio 3.
2012 Polaris Music Prize long list
If The Ballots Were Submitted Today...
If YOU compiled the Polaris Music Prize long list
Arcade Fire Wins 2011 Polaris Music Prize
on Jun 15, 2012