News from the Country Music Association of Australia is that their Awards Advisory Committee met in September and put forward a number of suggestions for changes to the awards that were subsequently put to the professional membership for a vote. The votes have now been counted and all of the suggestions, will be implemented for the first time in the 2013 awards have been carried.
The changes to the awards are:
1) Allow digital only releases in all categories.
Previously the one category that allowed ‘digital only’ releases to be eligible was Single Of The Year. This change will remove the need for 500 physical copies of a CD to be manufactured for a release to be eligible in all other categories.
A release will still be eligible if it is released only on CD i.e. if there is no digital release.
2) Album Of The Year to be judged online by the entire judging panel and the professional membership.
Previously forty members of the judging panel were sent a physical CD to judge Album Of The Year and their vote decided the winner in the first round of voting.
This change will see all judges and the professional membership voting for Album Of The Year in two rounds, utilizing the BigPulse online voting system in the same way the other awards are judged. The nominating party will upload album tracks and a PDF file of album art and credits to BigPulse.
3) Allow an artist to nominate for New Talent Of The Year one more time after being a finalist in that category.
Previously the rules stated that an artist could nominate for New Talent Of The Year in three awards years unless they had previously been a finalist in any category. This meant that once an artist had been a finalist in New Talent Of The Year they could not nominate again in that category.
This change allows an artist who has previously been a finalist in New Talent Of The Year, but has not won New Talent Of The Year, to nominate one more time in that category.
An artist who has previously won an award in any category or been a finalist in any category other than New Talent Of The Year will not be eligible.
An artist who has not previously been a finalist in any category would still be able to nominate for New Talent Of The Year in three awards years.
4) Update the definition of APRA Song Of The Year.
The previous rule stated that a nominated track may combine lyrics previously published as poems or ballads with new music or vice versa, creating a substantially new song.
This change excludes songs that contain lyrics previously published as poems or ballads combined with new music or vice versa so that only newly written songs released for the first time during the eligibility period will be eligible.
5) Align eligibility and delivery deadlines
The previous practice of submitting entries to the awards two weeks before the end of the eligibility period was introduced to allow the CMAA office to collect and collate the material and send it to judges in time for them to meet their deadlines.
With new systems in place this is no longer necessary so the deadline for delivery of entries and the last day of the eligibility period will now be the same date.
The New Awards For 2013
1) Top Selling International Album
This award recognises significant achievements by an international artist in Australia and encourages interaction with country music communities in other territories. It will be decided by Australian album sales.
2) Alternative Country Album
Introducing this award recognises artists who sit stylistically outside the mainstream of country. It increases the chances of winning an award for fringe artists who operate partially or wholly within the country music community such as Kevin Bennett, Lou Bradley or Karl Broadie. It also creates opportunities for artists who may have previously considered themselves too far outside the mainstream to consider nominating. Alternative country recordings by artists generally considered mainstream will also be eligible.
Alternative country is a loosely defined sub-genre of country music that includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream country music. It can be used to describe artists who push the boundaries of country music from the inside by incorporating influences ranging from roots rock, bluegrass, rockabilly, honky-tonk, alternative rock and folk rock. It can also include outsiders who love the sound and spirit of country music and reinterpret it in personal, contemporary, and idiosyncratic ways.
The CMAA is committed to ensuring that the awards continue to be dynamic and relevant and represent the best that country music has to offer. The Awards Advisory Committee will continue to meet regularly to review all aspects of the awards. If you have any suggestions please submit them to in**@co*****.au.