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CMA Awards - The Award Process

How the nominees and winners are decided.

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CMA Awards Logo 2008

CMA Awards Logo 2008

Country Music Association

If you're like me, you probably wonder sometimes where the CMA gets its nominees. Many times your favorite artists aren't nominated, and it can be very frustrating to hear that once again they've been left off the list.

I've written the procedures the CMA Membership goes through in order to create the list of nominees, and then how the winners are chosen each year.

Who are the CMA Members?
The CMA membership consists of over 6,000 music industry professionals from 43 countries around the world. CMA membership is available to anyone working in the Country Music industry. There are many categories of membership for anyone from behind-the-scenes engineers to front-of-the-camera artists.

The CMA Award winners are voted on by industry professionals of the Country Music Association. Thus, the winners are chosen by their peers. The CMA staff doesn't participate in the voting process.

Eligibility period:
Using 2004 as an example, the eligibility period runs from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004. Singles, albums, music videos, and qualifying products for the vocal event must have been first released during the eligibility period. The election is conducted in three rounds.

Round 1:
In the first ballot, the CMA members may nominate one act in each category. Any eligible act receiving a minimum of 10 or more eligible votes will become an official nominee, and will then be submitted to the entire CMA membership for the voting on in the second ballot.

Round 2:
On the second ballot, the CMA members must vote for five nominees in each category. These results are then tabulated and the five nominees in each category receiving the most votes will become the CMA finalists, and move on to the third ballot.

Round 3:
On the third ballot, the entire CMA membership then votes for one nominee in each category to determine the winners. The entire balloting process is conducted and certified by the international accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. The final results are broadcast on the CMA Awards show telecast in November each year. For 2008, the show airs on Live on ABC TV on November 12, from the Sommet Center in Nashville, TN at 8:00 pm ET (delayed PT).

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