Madonna leads the finalists for Billboard's inaugural Backstage Pass Awards. The veteran performer is contending in three of the six artist categories.

Madonna leads the finalists for Billboard's inaugural Backstage Pass Awards. The veteran performer is contending in three of the six artist categories.

The awards recognize the top achievements in touring, according to box-office data gathered from Billboard Boxscore reports between November 2003 and September 2004. They will be presented during the Billboard Backstage Pass touring conference, set for Nov. 8-9 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

Finalists reflect a range of artists, venues and professionals who excelled despite the difficult touring year. Along with such categories as top tours, venues, promoters and events, the awards acknowledge the managers, agents and breakthrough artists who achieved top marks this year.

Madonna is a finalist for top tour (based on gross dollars) for her Clear Channel-produced Re-Invention outing, top draw (based on total tickets sold) and top Boxscore event (for a show at New York's Madison Square Garden). Other contenders for top tour are Prince's Musicology and Shania Twain's Up.

Among other finalists, Josh Groban, Linkin Park and John Mayer are up for top breakthrough act; Artists Group International, Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Agency are contenders for top agent/agency; and Clear Channel Entertainment, AEG Live and House of Blues Concerts are up for top promoter.