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Saskatchewan Music Award Guidelines 2019

Note: Submissions have now closed. Stay tuned for nominees and ticket announcements.


In 2019, SaskMusic will honour excellence, and celebrate the achievements of our music industry members over the past year, with the Saskatchewan Music Awards. The awards will be held on November 28/2019 in conjunction with the Very Prairie Music Summit (November 29-31/2019) in Saskatoon.

Please see below for rules and eligibility criteria for each category. Minor amendments may be made to these criteria throughout the submission period; always refer to the most recent version.

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY AND CRITERIA (updated September 20, 2019)


  • For artistic categories, the artist themselves must currently reside in the province of Saskatchewan, or in the case of a band, at least 50% of its regular members must reside in Saskatchewan. If proof of verification is required we will refer to the place where the artist filed their 2018 taxes. Where the band is a corporation, their legal head office must be in Saskatchewan.

  • For industry nominees, the company must file their taxes in the province of Saskatchewan.

  • Where eligibility due to residency or band formation is in dispute (e.g. is this nominee a solo artist who hires side players, or is this nominee a band), the final decision shall be made by the jury of the category.

  • Where songs are submitted for consideration, at least 2 of the 3 songs must be original (written by the artist themselves, OR, not previously released by another artist and appropriately licensed by the artist submitting). Exceptions will be made for: Best Saskatchewan Albums; classical; traditional blues; traditional Indigenous; and traditional jazz genres.

  • In the case of a duet where there is a featured artist or one-time duo, credit will go to the main artist(s) on the track/album.

  • There must be a minimum of 3 nominees recommended by the jury in each Artist of the Year category for that award to be presented in the current year.

  • You may submit one project into a maximum of two genre-specific categories (but please only submit to categories that you feel are appropriate).

  • All categories are open to non-English language submissions. Lyric translations into English would be appreciated for the benefit of the jury, where applicable.

  • There are no submission fees.

Unless otherwise noted, a release date is defined as:

  • The first available date that the material can be possessed by mass consumers via a purchase, and/or streamed legally in its entirety by a royalty-generating service. The primary source used to determine the release date shall be iTunes; secondary verification methods will be accepted at the discretion of SaskMusic.

  • A single is considered released on the day the track is submitted to Canadian radio as a single OR the date the album or single is first made available for public consumption as noted above, whichever qualifies the single for the Single of the Year category. The primary source used to determine date of release to radio is DMDS, but other third-party forms of verification (ie radio tracker contract, media release, etc) will be considered.


September 20, 2019           Nominations open

October 15, 2019                Nominations close

November 13, 2019 (edit)   Nominees announced, where applicable

November 28, 2019            2019 Saskatchewan Music Awards event

November 29, 2019            Public voting on Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2019 begins



Nominees may nominate themselves or be nominated by a manager/label/other.

ARTISTIC: General Guidelines

Artistic: Artist of the Year Categories

The following categories will be determined by a combination of artistic merit (musical submission) and career achievements (from information supplied by the artist, and subject to third party verification where pertinent). Final nominees and the winner in each category will be determined by juries of industry and peers.

Musical submissions are required for a category nomination. 3 tracks must be provided which have been commercially released during the period of April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019. iTunes date will be used if necessary to verify release date. The written submission of your achievements must cover the same time period and may include such items as tour and festival history/highlights, streaming statistics, sync placements, socials, etc.


An artist who was a final nominee in 2018 cannot submit the same song(s) for consideration in this cycle, even if they qualify based on release date.

There are no sales qualifications for these categories. Please note these are broad categories; if you don’t see your exact genre listed, apply in the most appropriate one.

  • Alternative Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to alt rock, alt pop, and those genres which may be outside of the Hard or Rock/Pop categories.

  • Country Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to mainstream and traditional country.

  • Electronic Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to dance and instrumental electronic.

  • Experimental or Contemporary Artist of the Year: This category recognizes an innovative, non-mainstream, instrumental, or eclectic album without genre limit, based on artistic vision and creative merit. It also aims to recognize artists working in a genre that produces a limited number of releases per year. Genres which may be suitable for this category include but are not limited to spoken word, noise, jazz, classical, children’s, witch house, comedy, and original soundtrack.

  • Hip Hop Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to rap, urban R&B, and neo soul.

  • Metal/Loud Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to hard rock, metal, punk, heavy alternative, and heavy instrumental.

  • Rock/Pop Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to those considered mainstream, such as rock, pop, blues, and adult contemporary.

  • Roots/Folk Artist of the Year: Genres including but not limited to singer/songwriter, traditional blues, and Americana.

  • Indigenous Artist of The Year: This is a non-genre-specific category open to artists working in any genre who self-identify as Indigenous/Metis/First Nations/Inuit. Eligible submissions may include, for example, those working in commercial contemporary genres, traditional music, or fusions of any genres that incorporate traditional instrumentation/rhythm and/or reflect the Indigenous experience in Canada through lyrical expression.

Artistic: Single of the Year

Single of the Year will recognize the top commercial Saskatchewan song of the year released during the period April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019 (see definition of release, above). If a single was released BEFORE the current eligibility period (ie: a pre-album-release single sent to radio), that single will be considered ineligible, even if an album containing it was later released during the current eligibility period.

While the artist must meet residency requirements, the song can be written by the artist, or written or co-written by a non-Saskatchewan songwriter. The award is presented to the artist.


The nominees and winners of this category shall be determined solely based upon a numerical calculation of industry data to determine the artist with the largest outcome of said metrics for a single during the reporting period beginning closest to April 15, 2018 up to the time of category calculations, including: Canadian airplay, digital song downloads, and streaming obtained through our data provider(s); as well as consideration of Spotify overall streaming and YouTube video views. It is the responsibility of the artist to ensure their data is available in places such as the Nielsen Music system and, to ensure their single is not overlooked, to submit it for consideration in this category. Nominees in this category may be withheld until the awards event.

Artistic: Best Saskatchewan Albums of the Year

The Best Saskatchewan Album of the Year project is in its fifth annual iteration. This category is based on an album, as a whole, released during the time period of October 15, 2018-November 1, 2019. SaskMusic researches and collects eligible album releases for this time period to the best of our ability, however, artists/labels are encouraged to submit to ensure that no eligible releases are overlooked. Information on this category can also be found at

All genres of music are included in consideration. Official reissues/compilations of previous material, where released as a new package with a new UPC number, will be considered.


Album Criteria. To be considered in this category, the album

  • Was released by an artist residing in Saskatchewan (physically living in the province at the time of the album's release date regardless of where artist is living at the time this list is underway).

  • Is a) at least 30 minutes in length, or at least b) 5 tracks >20 minutes in length.

  • Was first released to the public between October 15, 2018-November 1, 2019. The first verification we will use will be its date of release in iTunes. If not on iTunes, we'll accept other forms of verification of both "release date" and "commercial release" at our discretion (ie manufacturer's shipping date). Please contact SaskMusic if your release date is between October 15-November 1/2019 to arrange provision of pre-release materials for the jury.

  • Albums that made the Top Ten in the Best Saskatchewan Albums previously will not be in consideration this year, even if reissued.


1) A list of eligible releases will be compiled. To help ensure we don’t miss an eligible album, submissions are encouraged through the SMA nomination process.

2) A jury of industry professionals and peers will listen to the qualifying albums to help us determine the longlist. The longlist will be announced at the Saskatchewan Music Awards, November 28.

3) The longlist will be open for general public voting, exclusively online, from November 29-December 12. These votes alone will determine the Top 10. Only one vote per IP address will be recorded.

4) The Top 10, aka shortlist, will be announced online beginning December 16 (tentative date). Please note, ties would result in more than 10 albums appearing on the shortlist.

Artistic: Music Video of the Year

This category recognizes an exceptional music video made available to the public during the period of April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019 (for example: uploaded to YouTube or posted to a public artist profile/website).

  • The award will go to the nominated director, filmmaker, producer, or production company (as named in the nomination submission).

  • The nominee(s) must reside in Saskatchewan; in the case of a multiple names submitted with a video, at least 50% of those listed must reside in Saskatchewan (or if a corporation, its legal head office must be in Saskatchewan). If proof of verification is required we will refer to the place where 2018 taxes were filed. The artist performing the song does not need to meet Saskatchewan residency requirements.

  • All videos under consideration must be available for public viewing and be for the purpose of supporting a song. (Spoken word videos will not be accepted into this category.)

  • Any style of video may be submitted including but not limited to lyric videos, live concert videos, rehearsal space-style ‘raw’ videos, full storyboard videos, etc.

  • The song must be original (written by the artist themselves, OR, not previously released by another artist and appropriately licensed by the artist submitting). Exceptions will be made for: classical; traditional blues; traditional Indigenous; and traditional jazz genres.

  • The video must be a minimum of 2 minutes 30 seconds in length.


Final nominees and the winner in each category will be determined by a jury of industry peers based on artistic merit, regardless of the amount of views/plays the video may have garnered.


Artistic: Breaking Borders Award presented by the Derek Bachman Foundation

The Derek Bachman Foundation will select award recipient(s) in this category exclusively at their discretion and using a methodology determined by the Foundation. There is no nomination process for this category. Nominees will not be announced in advance; only the recipient(s) will be recognized on November 28, 2019.


Industry Achievement Award

This award will recognize excellence in the provision of skills and/or services by those helping to build the music industry of Saskatchewan, during the period April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019. Industry members who can be nominated for this award include, but are not limited to, promoters, live and/or studio audio engineers, publicists, booking agents, managers, members of the media, etc. The nominee must be reside in and pay taxes in Saskatchewan, however, the scope of their work can be national and/or international. Final nominees and winner will be determined a jury assembled of industry and peers, based on a written submission. At the jury’s discretion, more than one Industry Achievement Award recipient may be recognized in any given year.

Venue of the Year

This category will recognize live music venues that are assisting in keeping the music scene alive in Saskatchewan. The venue must be physically located, by postal code, in the province of Saskatchewan. Final nominees and winner will be determined a jury assembled of industry and peers, based on a written submission demonstrating excellence in programming and community engagement during the period of April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019. The venue must have bought/promoted at least 10 different artists/bands during the eligibility period.

Producer of the Year

This award will recognize excellence in music production by a producer residing in Saskatchewan, who was primarily responsible for the recording and/or mixing process for a submitted project(s) released within the eligibility period April 15, 2018-October 15, 2019. Nominees can be submitted under one producer name alone, as a cast of producers, or a combination of producer and studio name together. Nominations must include 3 songs produced by the nominee during the eligibility period, and which suitably demonstrate the producer’s skill. Submitted songs may be performed by one artist, or various artists. A producer’s biography will also form part of the nomination submission. Final nominees and winner will be determined by a jury of industry peers. In the case of co-productions, co-producers would stand collectively for the co-production; all team members in this case must meet residency requirements.




About the juries

Nominations will be checked for completeness and eligibility by SaskMusic staff. For juried categories, submissions will then be presented to a panel of industry jurists who will ultimately decide on 3-5 nominees (at their discretion) in each category. Jurists may sit on more than one category. All jurists will be required to sign a Conflict of Interest declaration stating they will not jury submissions for which there may be a real or perceived conflicts of interest or bias. Chosen jurists will sit on carefully constructed panels of knowledgeable industry professionals, and will review submissions following the guidelines set out for each category. Jurists will be sought both from within and outside of Saskatchewan as needed to ensure impartiality and appropriate experience.

As per the SaskMusic Policy Guide, SaskMusic staff and board members are eligible to stand as nominees only if they have had no involvement or influence in jury selection for that category.


For questions and comment on this process please contact Michael Dawson, Executive Director, SaskMusic, 1-800-347-0676 or email.

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