The Polaris Music Prize was first handed out in 2006 and is modeled after the Mercury Prize in Britain, which was established in 1992. It is based on an interesting idea: what is the best album of the last twelve months based solely on artistic merit? Genre, sales—all the usual metrics—do not apply. The winner is selected solely by a jury of music critics, writers and bloggers.
That’s it. No other input. Tonight (September 21), the music industry will gather in Toronto to award the tenth annual Polaris. The winner will get $50,000 while the other nine nominees on the Short List will receive $3,000. Whatever album wins will set off the annual debate about why it shouldn’t have won and questions about the jury’s taste and sanity. I know this to be true because I was a member of a jury a couple of years ago. For details on what could happen tonight, go to PolarisMusicPrize.ca.