Thursday, October 20, 2016

Less than one month to vote for the #AMAs - unless there's fraud

Many people in my country are thinking about the elections that will take place on November 8 (or November 28, according to some sources). But people in the music industry may be thinking about another voting process which won't conclude until November 20 - the voting for the American Music Awards.

There are all sorts of awards shows for music and for other things, and there are all sorts of ways in which the award winners are selected. For example, if I ever start the Empoprises Music Awards - the celebrated EmpoMAs - the awards selection process will be Whoever I Feel Should Get The Award. (I won't even codify rules for bribing me, because no one would bother to do so.)

The American Music Awards, the late Dick Clark's entry into award-dom, trumpets the ability for fans to select the award winners. They've been around for a long time; the first awards were held in 1974, although not all of the award winners showed up.

(The short adult who accepted the award on Carpenters' behalf is Paul Williams.)

So how does the AMA process work?

While the nominees are selected by various data from Billboard and the like, the final awards themselves are tabulated based upon votes from Facebook and Twitter users.

The rules are online (PDF), and the voting windows are stated in the rules.

As you can see, November 14 is a critical date for many of the awards, but for the New Artist Award, you can vote until 6:00 pm Pacific Time on November 20. I'm sorry - I should have said 5:59:59 pm Pacific Time. Interestingly enough, the show will have been going on for an hour at that time, since the show starts on November 20 at 8:00 pm Eastern Time / 5:00 pm Pacific Time. (Whether those of us in the Pacific Time Zone will actually get to SEE the show at 5:00 pm is doubtful.)

As to the Facebook/Twitter voting itself, there are rules regarding that. Basically, you can vote once per day per voting method except for the New Artist Award voting, in which you can vote one hundred times per day per voting method. And there's another limitation.

Any resident of the fifty (50) United States (and District of Columbia) may vote online. For Twitter voting, votes will be accepted worldwide. You must have a Facebook account to vote online and a Twitter account to vote via Twitter.

Notice that Facebook voting from Puerto Rico is prohibited. Is that the reason why Ricky Martin didn't win an AMA in 2015?

But there is always a chance of election fraud. What if I use my multiple Twitter accounts to vote Jim Stafford in? More importantly, what if the Russians try to influence THIS election? Hey, I like Lena Katina, but I don't know that the rest of the United States does. In this case, the people running the awards have given themselves an out.

For all practical purposes, what does this mean - especially when you consider that some fraudulent activity probably occurred in the first hour of voting? (For example, Amanda Bynes - remember her? - could potentially vote from two separate Twitter accounts.) In essence, this means that the AMA producers have legal free rein to select the winners in any way possible after the expected fraud occurs.

They could even consult with old white men with extensive Jethro Tull record collections.