Exclusive: ACM Awards Announce Changes To Eligibility Period, Voting Timeline For 2018 And Beyond

The Academy of Country Music (ACM) has announced the ballot timeline for the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards. The professional membership voting will shift to a calendar-year submissions eligibility period.

In 2018, the submissions eligibility period for the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards will be November 24, 2016 through December 31, 2017, extending to account for the change. In 2019 and thereafter, the submissions period will be January 1 to December 31.

“We moved everything to better align the awards process with the annual release cycles of artists’ projects,” says VP Awards and Membership Nick Di Fruscia.

Additionally, awards voting has been synchronized for every ACM category, including Industry Awards categories, Studio Recording Awards categories, Video of the Year and Radio Awards categories.

The ballot timeline for professional members for the 2018 ACM Awards cycle is as follows:

First Round: Jan. 22, 2018–Jan. 31, 2018
Second Round: Feb. 12, 2018–Feb. 21, 2018
Final Round: March 7, 2018–March 14, 2018

The submissions period for Radio Award categories and Video of the Year will be Jan. 3, 2018-Jan. 15, 2018.

After joining the Academy of Country Music in July, Di Fruscia was tasked with commenting on the entirety of the ACM Awards’ process.

“The first thing I noticed is sort of a wonky eligibility period. It’s like this for most awards shows. So my first question was, ‘Why is it like that?’ Historically, because the ACM offered a manner for the artists and labels to notify the industry of their projects being considered [for an award], there was a mailing that happened. In order for the ACM to facilitate that mailing they had to set the voting dates in a certain way. Now, although we do allow ‘For Your Consideration’ type ads, we don’t provide a mailer to members or to the industry. Without needing to do that anymore, it made sense to move the entire voting process to something that made more sense, given the fact that our show usually happens the later part of March, into April.”

Additionally, the ACM has made a change in the chart metrics the organization uses to determine eligibility for certain awards categories.

The ACM will now use Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, instead of the previously-used Billboard Country Airplay Chart, to determine eligibility, as the Hot Country Songs chart takes into consideration not only airplay, but also streaming and sales. The ACM will continue to use airplay metrics from Country Aircheck’s Mediabase chart.

“One of the ancillary benefits to moving the process is we get to capitalize on “awards season” that we are already in and we get to create the ACM Awards season. We recently had the Grammy nominations announced, we are making the announcement of moving our process so people are already in the awards season frame of mind and this move allows us to create an ACM Awards season.

New membership applications and existing membership renewals must be completed by 5 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 for members to be eligible to vote during the 2018 Awards cycle.

To apply online for membership with the Academy of Country Music, please visit the new ACM Membership platform at: https://acm.dmds.com/en#/.d

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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