How Does a Music Artist Get Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

It’s that time of year when singers are nominated for what’s arguably the pinnacle achievement in the music industry. The renowned Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates the history, cultural significance, and success of artists and contributors. Even being nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is rigorous. Getting inducted is even rarer. Here are all of the steps for the artists who enter.

How does a music artist get considered for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Music is emotional and subjective. How can someone set guidelines for greatness? Nominating Committee Member and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame President Terry Stewart penned a letter explaining how the process transpires, reports Future Rock Legend.

Stewart reminds fans that nominations and inductions aren’t “about popularity, record sales, or the music label.” In fact, the only eligibility requirement for any artist is a 25-year time-lapse from the artist’s first album release. An artist’s ability to develop, contribute to, and perpetuate rock and roll all factor into a nomination.

Officially, the New York City-based Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation coordinates the nomination process and induction ceremony. Four categories recognize including Early Influence, Non-Performer, Side-Men, and Performer. Candidates’ overall impact on rock and roll music influences the voters’ decisions. Records sold, No. 1 hit statuses, and awards won don’t determine a music artist’s induction. The voting is up to an international body of more than 1,000 rock experts, artists, and historians. This year, the Hall of Fame is incorporating a public vote as well.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 nominees include Dolly Parton and Eminem

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee Dolly Parton smiles at the 'TODAY' audience while sitting on-stage in 2019
Dolly Parton visits the ‘TODAY’ show in 2019 | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame officially released the 2022 roster of nominations. Some iconic legends are up for consideration including Kate Bush, Devo, Fela Kuti, MC5, Carly Simon, Dionne Warwick, and the New York Dolls. Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, and Lionel Richie represent ’80s music. Metal fans will appreciate rock performers like Judas Priest and Rage Against the Machine. Rounding out the 2022 list are fan favorites like Beck, Eminem, Dolly Parton, and A Tribe Called Quest.

As of May 2021, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has 351 inducted artists. Each year, roughly five to seven new candidates join the ranks. Among contributors in the music industry, even receiving a nomination is an honor. Many compare an induction to being knighted in England or earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for actors.  

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame attention is kind of a big deal

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s origin story is a unique one. Leading music industry players from Atlantic Records, as well as Jann Wenner and Ahmet Ertegun of Rolling Stones, got together in 1983 to form the nonprofit known as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Honorees were first inducted in 1986, according to Britannica.

The museum itself is legendary, sprawling over 150,000 square feet. Predominantly made of glass, the building resides in Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie. Designed by I.M. Pei, it officially opened to the public in 1995 and draws thousands of fans every year. The exhibits display instruments, clothing and props, song lyric drafts, handbills, original album art, and more. A research library and archives exist on-site as well.

With the 2022 nominations announced, fans must wait for the May 2022 announcement to learn about inductions. The ceremony takes place on October 30, 2022, at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Regardless of who makes it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, those nominated are likely on cloud nine just for being considered.

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