Each year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation's nominating committee selects the group of artists nominated in the performer category.
Ballots are then sent to more than 600 historians, members of the music industry and artists—including every living Rock Hall inductee—and the five performers receiving the most votes become that year's induction class. Beginning in 2012, fans were given the chance to vote for the nominees they'd like to see inducted into the Rock Hall. The top five vote-getters in the public poll form one ballot, which is weighted the same as the rest of the submitted ballots.
Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.
This category honors bands or solo artists which demonstrate musical excellence. Such a descriptor includes (but isn't limited to) influence on other performers or genres; length and depth of career and catalog; stylistic innovations; or superior technique and skills.
Ahmet Ertegun Award
This award (which was formerly known as the non-performer category) honors songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, record executives, journalists and other industry professionals who have had a major influence on rock & roll.
These artists pre-date the birth of rock & roll, but have had a profound impact on music's evolution and its iconic artists.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence
This award honors performers, songwriters and producers who have changed the course of music history. These artists have dedicated their lives to creating influential, important music infused with originality, and have achieved a level of timeless distinction.
Rock & roll is not an instrument; rock & roll is not even a style of music. Rock & roll is a spirit. … It's been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, rock & roll, heavy metal, punk rock and, yes, hip-hop. And what connects us all is that spirit. …Rock & roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life.