MNB Announce Changes to Award Program

Category: community 180

Music NB do away with genre-specific categories and open Recording of the Year nominations to non-members. 

Matt Carter
The Olympic Symphonium performing at the 2018 Festival (506). Photo by Isjaki Studio. (MNB Facebook).

To celebrate 10 years of the MNB Awards, Music NB is mixing things up.

After using a nomination model similar to that of other provincial music associations for the past nine years, the board and staff of New Brunswick’s provincial music association have unveiled a number of changes aimed at broadening the event’s accessibility.

“I don’t think any other association is doing something quite like this,” said MNB Executive Director Jean Surette.

A large part of the changes to this year’s award nomination and application process involve doing away with genre-specific categories and replacing them with a series of MVP Awards. These categories include Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Champion of the Year, Innovator of the Year and others. There are now a total of seven MVP Awards open to all artists.

“One of the things that we noticed was when you have some categories that are genre specific, like rock or folk, and then you look at the artists inside those categories, they’re all over the map,” said Surette. “The majority of artists now are hybrids. A mix of three or four genres.

“This presented a big challenge for us. We would see an artist applying for a category and think, wow, they applied in rock or they applied for a folk award?  This also puts a lot of pressure on the jurors working within those specific categories.”

Surette said that there were also occasions when certain categories did not open up because they didn’t receive enough applicants.

“Sometimes we would have to add an artist to a category they didn’t originally apply for because they one they picked didn’t receive enough applicants,” he said. “We would have to ask if we could put them into another slot just so they could be included.”

Tackling these and other issues has been a priority for the organization over the past year.

“For the last year we’ve been looking at how to make some changes to address these issues,” said Surette. 

“We basically spent a whole day with the board discussing this and Festival 506 and where we want to be going for the next two, three, four, or five years. What we came up with together is a combination of what we have been doing and what we’d like to be doing.”

The biggest changes will affect the Recording of the Year and Enregistrement de l’année categories. Both of these categories will now feature ten artists, up from five, and for the first time in MNB history they will be open to members and non-members alike with the opportunity for a fan to nominate a band whose album they believe deserves to be recognized.

“One thing I found to be unfortunate if that there are all these great albums coming out but not everyone wants to be part of MNB,” said Surette. “That’s fine, but as a result, we found we were bypassing a significant number of releases. Not everyone is looking for a career in music or looking for opportunities through what we do at MNB but that doesn’t make their music any less significant.

“The majority of applications will probably still come from the artists or their management but this way, there’s an opportunity for a fan to step up and share a release they think deserves to be recognized,” he said.

Full details surrounding all the changes to this year’s awards can be found on the blog at

Award nominations and applications are open now through to April 26.

Festival (506), MNB’s annual conference and awards event will take place October 24-27, 2019 in Moncton.

Photo Credits: Both photos used in this feature were borrowed from MNB’s Facebook page. The above photo was taken by Isjaki Studio. The cover photo on the menu page featuring The Hypochondriacs was taken by L.P. Chiasson Photography

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