Selection Process

The selection process for the IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards ensures that these awards honor people who are known as, and have achieved fame as bluegrass music performers.

For complete details on eligibility, the selection process and other awards details please review the Awards Handbook.


Eligibility Period: April 1st of the previous year through March 31st of the current year

ALBUMS: To qualify for awards consideration, albums must have been released during the eligibility period. “Release” shall be defined as the date on which any portion of the general public, anywhere in the world, first acquires (through sale or for free) and holds ownership of a playable copy of the entire recorded album project or song under consideration in any format or through any method of distribution. Promotional copies sent to the entertainment industry or media entities to foster awareness prior to public release shall not be considered in determining the date of release. At least 50% of the songs on an album must be new recordings first released during the eligibility period to be eligible. IBMA reserves the sole and exclusive right to make eligibility determinations and may require additional information from candidates and/or their representatives in order to make such determinations.

SONGS: To qualify for awards consideration, songs must have been released OR shown significant chart action during the eligibility period.

Who May Vote
Voting is limited to current professional members of the IBMA at each stage in the election process. NOMINEES ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE MEMBERS OF IBMA.

Balloting Process
The election will be accomplished in three stages.

FIRST BALLOT: Each current Professional Member of IBMA may make as many as five entries per category and subcategory on the ballot. The First Ballot will be delivered electronically via email. View eligibility guidelines here. (Note: as an aid to our voting members, IBMA facilitates a crowd-sourced “For Your Consideration” List (formerly the ‘Reference List’) of recorded projects released during the eligibility period.)

SECOND BALLOT:  The twenty highest-voted candidates from the first ballot in each category. Each professional member may vote for no more nor less than five candidates in any category in which they choose to vote. The Second Ballot will be delivered electronically via email.

FINAL BALLOT: The top five vote-getting candidates in each category of the second ballot stage will become final nominees. Each professional member of IBMA may vote for their number one choice in any category on this final ballot. The Final Ballot will be delivered electronically via email.

Tabulation and Management of Ballots
The results of each stage of the election will be managed and all vote tabulations made by accounting firm Riney Hancock & Co., PSC of Owensboro, Kentucky. This firm provides the final results of the voting process.

Oversight of Procedures, Criteria and Eligibility
The Awards Election Procedures have been established by IBMA’s Board of Directors. The IBMA Awards Criteria and Eligibility Committee is tasked with determining eligibility. In other words, this committee assures that all nominations fall within the specified eligibility period and meet the criteria.

Voters’ Prerogative
Current professional members of the IBMA may vote for any or all categories appearing on the ballot. It is not necessary to vote in every category.

Integrity of the Ballot
The official ballot shall not be altered in any manner. It may not be duplicated for voting or any other purposes.

Interpretation of Votes Cast
Riney Hancock and Co. (the accounting firm tabulating the votes) and the Awards Eligibility Committee interpret every vote cast literally. Voting members are urged to be precise in identifying the candidate they are voting for.  We strongly recommend you use full names of bands, individuals, albums and tracks, and that you consult the relevant recorded project, record label site or other reliable sources to ensure your vote will be interpreted correctly.

For complete details on eligibility, the selection process and other awards details please review the IBMA Awards Handbook.


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