As the Country Music Association (CMA) sent out the first ballots on July 5 for its 50th annual awards, the organization hoped a new feature will reduce the unseemly campaigning that accompanies the process.
The 2016 vote introduces Nominee Showcase, a centralized location for the second and final ballots that will give backers of the nominees a chance to attach vital information -- such as statistics, credits, sound files and videos -- that members can access while making their decisions.
The move is intended to satisfy multiple issues. By providing a specific locale for info about the nominees, it gives voters an easy-to-reference tool for comparison and is expected to reduce the volume of solicitations CMA members have typically received. It similarly cuts expenses for labels and managers, since the new, free service is intended to eliminate the need for costly email blasts and physical mailers. Additionally, it may give the electorate better information in some of the less-publicized categories -- particularly musician of the year, where the candidates do not typically solicit votes and the membership has not received information about their accomplishments during the eligibility period.
CMA is offering a July 20 tutorial for nominees’ representatives, with the second round of balloting slated for Aug. 15-24 and the final ballot set for Oct. 10.