Leaders in the music industry joined together in 1983 to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. One of the Foundation’s many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.
The Foundation's nominating committee selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 600 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes are inducted. The Foundation generally inducts five to seven performers each year.
Beginning in 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened Nominee voting to fans around the world. The Top Five Nominees as voted by the fans count for one ballot entry, which is weighted the same as individual ballot entries submitted by members of the international voting body.
Ahmet Ertegun Award
Songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, record executives, journalists and other industry professionals who have had a major influence on the development of rock and roll. (Please note that in 2011, the Ahmet Ertegun Award has replaced the Non Performer category.)
Artists whose music predated rock and roll but had an impact on the evolution of rock and roll and inspired rock’s leading artists.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence
This award honors musicians, songwriters and producers who have spent their life creating important and memorable music. Their originality, impact and influence have changed the course of music history. These artists have achieved the highest level of distinction that transcends time.