John Mayer, Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, Norah Jones and the Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and are among the musicians who will serve as judges for this year's Shortlist Music Prize.
Jack Black, the Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, the Cure's Robert Smith, the Dixie Chicks, Perry Farrell, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Massive Attack's 3D and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch will also be on the panel of judges — called Listmakers — for the fourth annual contest.
With a prize that has come to be a badge of merit for left-of-center musicians, the Shortlist Music Project was formed in 2001 "to honor the most adventurous and creative albums of the year across all genres of music, focusing on emerging rather than established hitmakers," according to its mission statement. To be eligible, nominated albums must have been released between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004, and must not have been certified gold (for sales of more than 500,000 units) at the time of nomination. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles on November 11.
For the third year, MTV2 is the project's television sponsor, and XM Satellite Radio is this year's radio sponsor. MTV2 will air a special that will include concert footage from the awards ceremony. XM will award the winner with a check for $5,000.
The prize went to singer/songwriter Damien Rice for his album O last year, to N.E.R.D. in 2002 and to Sigur Rós in 2001.
The Shortlist is gradually whittled down from a large number of nominated albums. The Listmakers — which, this year, also include radio personality Nic Harcourt of KCRW-FM in Los Angeles and several music journalists — each nominate up to seven albums for the "Long List," which will be released in August.
The Listmakers will then receive a list of all the judges' submissions and choose their 10 favorites. Those lists will determine the "Shortlist," which will be announced in mid-September. The winner will be announced at the end of the awards ceremony.
Along with Rice, last year's Shortlist included albums by the Streets, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Floetry, Interpol, Bright Eyes, Cat Power and the Black Keys (see "Irish Singer Damien Rice Wins Shortlist Music Prize").
Previous Listmakers include the Neptunes, Beck, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Mos Def, Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews and Larry Mullen Jr. of U2, along with Farrell, Homme and Thompson.
Citing the success enjoyed by Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice after he won the prize last year, Shortlist co-founder Greg Spotts said on the contest's Web site, "As the Shortlist Music Prize becomes more established, the artists who win our award have a wonderful chance to grow their audience."
The Shortlist Music Prize was founded by music industry veterans Spotts and Tom Sarig in 2001. For more information, see the organization's Web site (www.shortlistofmusic.com).