On April 2010, I did a feature titled ‘How to break the Charter House hold on GMAs’, in which I talked about a number of ways to make the award scheme more of a people’s choice award and to improve its credibility at large. After a review of the scheme last year, when Vodafone took over as title sponsors, I am excited to say that majority of my concerns in that feature have been addressed. Although I called for 100% voting power for the general public, the review committee has now given 40% to the public in lieu of the previous 30%.
The review sees the formation of two new bodies, Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Board and Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Academy, which will steer the selection, categorization and voting in the scheme. Both bodies will have 30% stake each in the decision of winners for the awards in the public voting categories; and 50% each in the industry voting categories. The honorary awards will be decided 100% by the VGMA Board, while the Most Popular Song of the Year is decided 100% by the public. The Award for Sound Engineer, Music Video, and Music Producer will be decided by VGMA Board and peer voting.
Other new changes in the voting system include the addition of new channels including Online voting via www.ghanamusicawards.com (limited per IP address), and voting on mobile phone via short code (limited to 20 texts per mobile number). My problem with this for now is that if online voted is limited per IP addresses, then votes from public internet cafes would pose a problem and prevent subsequent voting by other users.
The categories for the VGMA were also reviewed to include 15 Public Voting categories, 12 Industry Voting Categories and 3 Honorary Categories. The newly created categories, which are reintroductions from past schemes, are Gospel Album of the Year, Group of the Year, and Sound Engineer of the Year.
The review also expanded eligibility for the VGMA by taking cognizance of new digital channels of music distribution e.g. Facebook, twitter, RBT/CRBT as such, the word “Commercial’ was dropped because some of the channels are non commercial e.g. Twitter, Youtube etc. Thus a release now refers to any musical work that can be obtained officially through Digital web or Mobile downloads, CD, VCD, DVD and Cassette purchases. To be eligible for a VGMA 2012 the work should have been released from 1st December 2010 – 31st December 2011.
The VGMA Board will compile all entries received into the appropriate categories and will shortlist them into the final nominations list which will be published for public and industry voting. Submission of entries and nominations are currently ongoing and the public can nominate their favourite artists and songs on www.ghanamusicawards.com.
I sincerely hope that these new changes and future changes would go a long way to improve the award scheme.