An idea for MAMAs voting

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drinkinblackcoffee
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An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby drinkinblackcoffee » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:58 am

In an attempt at full disclosure, my interest in voting is only peaked because a band I'm in (Rust Belt Sermon) is nominated.

Here is my brilliant idea:

In order to vote, you would have to go a show and buy a passcode. I imagine you could get most of the local venues to partake. People tend to be cheap cunts when on line, but would be much more willing to shell out $5 if they did it while ordering a drink at the HNS.. Also, it would mean people with a fondness for the local music scene (by actually going to a show) would be doing the voting. I think the biggest concern with the current set up is that anybody that wins will be speculated to have "cheated". I know if my band wins, that would have to be the case (I come from a huge family that I could tap into...).

So what's are the flaws in this idea?

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby jjoyce » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:04 pm

I like the idea of tapping into the group of people that goes to shows. Our band contest is always compromised slightly by bands getting their uncle in Arkansas to recruit his coworkers to vote. Okay.... but there should be more weight on people who actually go out.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby drinkinblackcoffee » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:11 pm

Maybe for the band contest next year we could pilot the idea. You would advertise it online and in print, but with the caveat that if you wanted to vote you'd have to get out to a show. Sure, it will severely limit the number of voters, but at least the voters will be informed. If your band actually plays shows (something mine rarely does) it would work to your benefit as it should.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby eriedasch » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:24 pm

drinkinblackcoffee wrote:In order to vote, you would have to go a show and buy a passcode.

I remember them doing something similar to this a few years back, but I think it was only for MAMAs benefit shows. When you paid your admission you got a passcode or something that allowed you to sign up and vote for free.

I think it is a good idea and bands themselves should be able to get a block of passcodes/vouchers/tickets from Broadjam/MAMAs to sell for cash at their shows. It is a big challenge to get fans to go online and use their credit card to sign up and vote. But I could see it much easier to sell MAMAs voting vouchers for $5 cash at the merch table.

A little extra hassle on the part of Broadjam or whomever is responsible for collecting cash and unsold vouchers from the bands at the end, but I think it would end up being more people signed up, voting, and more $$ to the organization.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby swoon_queen » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:26 pm

I brought up a similar idea a while back once to someone involved in the MAMAs. Something about having ballot boxes at specific shows and a donation jar. I like this plan because it does not prevent people who may not have a credit card or online access from voting.

but then again-- it doesn't promote Broadjam.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby rick » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:43 pm

We have signup sheets at all our fundraisers. Your cover charge is considered your donation. Been doing this for years. Sometimes an event has no cover, then we ask the $5. Sometimes we are participating in an event but it is not a fundraiser for us. Then we also ask the $5.

Our current round of fundraisers are here:
http://themamas.org/madison-area-music-award-events/

We tried paper ballots and found that what we got were either:
-one line filled out, or
-the same name on every single line

Many times these were photocopied and sent to us in bulk - no kidding.

Paper ballots defeat one of the aims which is to get people to listen to local music and discover new artists they may not know of.

As for Bjam, the 1,000 or so Madison-area artists is such a small fraction of the 200,000+ artists they have internationally, that it is hardly a promotional concern. But since all MAMA registrants have Bjam accounts (free when you donate your $5 to the MAMAs, by the way), you might want to look into the numerous songwriting contests they are running at any given time. The six-pack contest alone has $100,000 in prizes.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby drinkinblackcoffee » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:11 pm

Geez Rick, way to kill a thread with history and facts.

Anyway, I am planning to vote this year because it seems like a fun process. I think my intent was more to think of a way around the $5 barrier that likely prevents a lot of people from partaking.

To Rick- How legitimate do you feel the voting process works? What would you do if it was overtly obvious someone was ballot stuffing? Has adding the donation improved the legitimacy of the voting?

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby rick » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:31 am

Yes, exactly, this is the point people miss with the membership donation.

Without that, the voting system could be easily subverted. At least if someone wanted to, they could vote multiple times but would have to become a member each time with a different name, snail address and email address. Additionally they would have to use different computers because multiple votes from the same IP address could be detected. While it sounds like all these scenarios could be detected without a membership fee, the time, effort and amount of data that would have to be sorted through would be overwhelming. So far the current system has worked extremely well in this regard and has provided thousands of dollars in charitable donations to the community. It is our intention now to start adding more benefits to the membership so there are other reasons to be a member other than just awards show participation. Seven years seems like time enough but there are only a handful of us who are dedicated to this and, believe me, it's a monster!

It is Bjam's experience, with the multitude of contests that they run, that every time there was no entry fee the contest was rife with problems.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby rick » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:38 am

Oh, sorry, I wanted to comment about the legitimacy.

I feel the voting is a legitimate process. But the legitimacy of the outcome depends on participation. I am far more concerned with the registration process than the voting process.

I can say that right now - and every year - the voting is so close. We are having record numbers of votes cast this year already and from what I was told Monday, the vote is currently very, very close in nearly every category.

Many times the difference between the winner and fourth place is less than five votes.

So good reason to put out a few more messages to your fan base to participate in the voting.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby SirK » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:15 pm

I have been trying for the past 2 days to sign in and vote for the MAMAs so I could see who is nominated and the system is full of FAIL. I guess I need a Ph.D in web-based bureaucracy to figure out how to log in. I think that they should post openly the list of nominees before voting even starts. If my own voting ever starts...

/end rant

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby wallrock » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:09 pm

SirK wrote:I have been trying for the past 2 days to sign in and vote for the MAMAs so I could see who is nominated and the system is full of FAIL. I guess I need a Ph.D in web-based bureaucracy to figure out how to log in. I think that they should post openly the list of nominees before voting even starts. If my own voting ever starts...

/end rant

I felt the same way myself and spent a good amount of time trying to determine who all was on the initial ballot. I believe the current arrangement is due to the two rounds of voting. Every single candidate nominated is on this ballot (which I believe you can only access after signing up with Broadjam and donating $5). You end up voting for three candidates in every category - no skipping allowed - and this determines the final ballot.

I didn't quite like the mandatory three candidate voting scheme, and I really felt uncomfortable voting in several categories that I have no interest/knowledge in. For example, it didn't really matter if I listened to all the candidates in the Electronic or Industrial categories since that's just not my kind of thing, so I more or less based my votes on tertiary aspects (i.e. other reviews, band names, etc.). Still, I think it's preferable to a panel of judges or the like making the determination.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby drinkinblackcoffee » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:22 am

The three vote thing can be tough, especially in some categories where there were only four nominated. I tried to keep in mind that this was just the preliminary round.

I was also surprised how often an artist didn't have any music available to preview in order to make an informed vote. Did anyone else notice this or was it just me or my computer?

I basically went through the categories I felt connected with and gave everything a listen (if an artist didn't make anything available, I didn't consider them).

A couple surprises were a band called The No and the Means and Braineird. The former I'd never heard of, but really dug. The later I've seen a number of times, but was really impressed with the quality of tracks I listened to. Also, despite the hot drummer, Sun Spot continues to annoy me to no ends.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby NullDevice » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:34 am

I have to admit I'm still a little irritated with Broadjam. Aside from the rather labyrinthine processes one needs to use to do simple things like "log in" and "upload" and "vote" it seems rather like they don't keep great records. I just got a notice the other day that my account is about to expire. Other than for the MAMAs, I don't have an account with them - although that MAMAs-only-account was opened a few years ago. I pointed this out to them and they politely informed me that if I wish to continue having my tracks available for MAMAs listening, I'll need to subscribe to their full service. I'm in the process of trying to explain this once again to them - that I am not a BJam customer and this is ALL MAMAs related, but it's likely at this point that few, if any, of my band's tracks will be available when it's time for voting.

I didn't sign up for the MAMAs so I'd be forced to become a Broadjam subscriber.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby rick » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:16 am

Eric, I'm on this, don't worry I am sure your music will be available for the MAMAs.

I would encourage anyone who has any similar or other issue to contact me directly. rick@themamas.org.

Improvements to the registration/voting mechanism are no. 1 on the priority list and we are now in a position to get it done. We'll be convening later in May with a task force that will address this. Although we would never have survived without Bjam's support and expertise, the time is here to individualize the MAMAs from other Bjam functions. Bjam is set up to serve its members and we have been piggybacking on their system, making it work as best we can. It's not been easy for them either as every MAMA minute takes a minute away from their business as they have volunteered everything. And programming minutes can easily turn into programming weeks. So it's a big issue but we're going to tackle it.

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Re: An idea for MAMAs voting

Postby NullDevice » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:40 am

Awesome. I love the MAMAs concept - I'd have to or I wouldn't keep submitting to it - but I do feel that the submission and voting process is still a barrier to wider participation. Some of that may be less UI and more perceptual, too - the overall process doesn't feel especially tied to the community aspect at the heart of the organization. Going to submit and/or vote still feels too much like leaving the MAMAs and going to somebody else's website.


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