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THE SCOOP | Juno Awards Move To CBC Opens The Door For Classical Music And Jazz

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Will jazz and classical music finally be allowed to shine alongside Justin Bieber and Drake at the Juno Awards?

Afiara Quartet & Skratch Bastid perform “Through The Invisible” at the 2016 JUNO Award Gala Dinner (Photo: courtesy of the JUNO Awards)
Afiara Quartet & Skratch Bastid perform “Through The Invisible” at the 2016 JUNO Award Gala Dinner (Photo: courtesy of the JUNO Awards)

It has been 16 years since the Juno Awards stopped broadcasting on CBC and sold the rights to CTV. Since then, the Juno Awards have highlighted only the most popular music genres, leaving genres like classical music and jazz to fend for themselves in the shadows of smaller, non-televised award galas.

This has led Canada’s media outlets to largely ignore anyone but the biggest names in Canadian popular music. Case-in-point, Musical Toronto was the only media outlet in Canada to send a reporter to Ottawa this year to ensure classical music winners had a chance to tell their story.

But this may be about to change.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), today revealed a new deal to bring the Juno Awards back to its original home at the CBC for a minimum of six years. They also announced a plan to launch new programming partnership with CARAS that will aim to include a more diverse range of genres and musicians, as well as educational programs to help bolster non-legacy music acts. Specific details have not yet be released, but we are told the CBC will announce them in the coming weeks.

“We are excited to embark on our partnership with the CBC. As our official broadcaster, their vision to wrap themselves with ongoing JUNO programming throughout the year aligns with our continued efforts to elevate the JUNO experience engaging Canadians from coast to coast to coast,” Allan Reid, president and CEO of the Junos and CARAS said.

In a statement to the CBC, Reid clarified they are ready to showcase Canadian music 365 days of the year and look forward to a rented focus on other less commercial music genres.

“It’s so broad what we do, but people just see the big pop acts on the broadcast,” he said. “I feel like a kid in the candy store actually coming in here and saying, ‘OK, what can we do for jazz? Classical? Indigenous?'”

When asked if they could confirm if jazz, classical and roots music would be included in the televised awards ceremony next year, CARAS stated it was too early to tell.  “We are now in the planning stages for the upcoming JUNO Awards and programming details will follow in the months to come. Together [with the CBC] we will be working to promote and celebrate artists from all genres over the course of the year as well as during JUNO Week and the JUNO Awards.”

Alongside the continued decline in revenues for the recording industry, viewership for the CTV broadcast Juno Awards have been largely flat over the past three years. 2015 garnered 1.43 M views, 2016 attracted 1.4 M, and 2017 peaked at 1.2 M views.

According to stats by Bell Media, 2.87 million Canadians, nearly double the number who watched the Junos awards, tuned into watch the American Grammy Awards in 2015.

The next Juno Awards will be held in Vancouver on Sunday, March 25, 2018.



Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Editor at Musical Toronto
Michael Vincent has worked as a senior editor for La Scena Musicale and web editor for Norman Lebrecht. On January 21, 2014, he went to lunch and left as the publisher of Musical Toronto. Later that year he found himself as a freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star, the former employer of his favourite author Ernest Hemingway. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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