IBMA Board Announces Changes To Awards Categories

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced several changes to its annual awards.

Music Awards Changes:

The second round awards ballot will now include the 20 highest-voted write-in candidates from the first ballot. Previously, anyone earning 10 or more votes in the first round ballot appeared in the second round ballot.

The Emerging Artist of the Year category has been renamed New Artist of the Year, to recognize new artists who have, for the first time in their careers, made an impact on bluegrass audiences worldwide.

Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year replaces Dobro Player of the Year to reflect the generic name of the instrument rather than any brand name such as “Dobro.”

Three award names have been changed to more clearly define that the award recognizes any recording meeting the criteria for eligibility rather than a “performance” or “event” which may have been misconstrued as only including the recording of a live performance. Instrumental Recording of the Year replaces Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year; Gospel Recording of the Year replaces Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year; and Collaborative Recording of the Year replaces Recorded Event of the Year.

Industry Awards Changes:

The association’s “Special Awards” will now be called Industry Awards and several individual category names have been updated including:  Writer of the Year (formerly Print Media Person of the Year) has been updated to include both print and online outlets. Broadcaster of the Year (formerly Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year) now includes radio, television, podcasts, web/internet, and other forms.

Graphic Designer of the Year (formerly Graphic Design of the Year) now recognizes a person with outstanding work on album artwork, promotional materials, logos, websites, social media, etc. The recipient will now be judged on at least three samples rather than one.

Event of the Year (formerly Bluegrass Event of the Year) now clarifies that it may be festivals, concerts, an event series, and other live performance productions.

The Liner Notes of the Year category now includes notes for CDs, vinyl, box sets, digital releases, etc.

The Sound Engineer of the Year category now makes submission of a recording optional, rather than required.

The Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year category is now called Songwriter of the Year.

Momentum Awards Changes:

The Momentum Awards Instrumentalists of the Year will now be awarded to two individuals instead of three. The Momentum Award for Event of the Year has been discontinued due to the unreliable number of eligible candidates every year; events previously eligible for this Momentum Award are eligible for the Industry Awards Event of the Year.

The previously specified age restrictions have been removed. These awards are now described as being given to artists and industry professionals who are in the early years of their careers, are new to bluegrass, and have been active during the eligibility period. An award continues to be presented to a mentor for his or her positive influence on new artists and industry professionals.





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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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