It’s July, and that means “game on” for labels and marketers plotting to gain valuable artist exposure at the upcoming 47th Annual CMA Awards. Each year labels craft new strategies designed to insure their acts a place on the nominee list of this highly-viewed Awards show and hopefully a few trophies as well.
Much like George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series Game Of Thrones, Nashville’s label Kings and their loyal advisors will joust to win the coveted nominee positions. Instead of the novel’s Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, we have the Six Labels Of Music Row—Sony, Universal, Warner Music, Curb, Broken Bow and Big Machine. And like the Kings, the labels will [ruthlessly] battle for power, glory and ultimately market share. At Winterfell castle they stoically say, “Winter is coming.” In Music City we say, “The CMAs are coming…”
Watchers of this annual contest know there are two key time periods to strike. The weeks between the announcement of First Ballot nominees and the sending of Ballot two; then similarly the time between the announcement of Second Ballot nominees and the sending of Final ballot. (See below.)
With the first ballot shipping this Thursday (7/11) the fun is close at hand. Thankfully, insiders get to watch the Thrones-like maneuvering without any of the gore and blood which flows so freely from R.R. Martin’s pen. The CMA tries to confound the players by not announcing some of the key times such as when it will announce the round one or round two nominees. They also wait as late as possible before announcing an exact date for the TV show. But this will nary slow the hordes as the Six large kingdoms of Music Row seek to build alliances and make bargains with Lords of the Row, both large and small. Expect an onslaught of “informational ads” designed to impress the CMA’s 7,000 members and win votes with favors such as special CD sets, digital videos, signed artist notes, congratulatory parties and more.
Can we actually compare label heads with characters in the book? Who would be Queen Daenerys Targaryen the Mother of Dragons? Or the cruel spoiled child, King Joffrey? Or the beheaded Ned Stark, deceased King of the North? We aren’t going there, but you can leave some comments below..
Here are the exact dates to help craft a winning strategy.
The first ballot goes out to CMA members on July 11 and closes on July 22. Eligibility period is July 1 2012-June 30, 2013. This opening round casts a wide net designed to highlight the most worthy recipients for each category. The top 20 qualified vote recipients each with a minimum of ten votes gets to advance to round two. (The Entertainer of the Year category only allow the Top 15 vote recipients.)
The second ballot hits the email on Aug. 20, and closes on Aug. 30. Five final nominees will be chosen in each category. Being a final nominee is a coveted goal as that often translates to a performance or at least an appearance on camera during the coveted show.
This ballot emails on Oct. 10 and the online balloting closes Oct. 28.