To suggest that "amateurs" need to be protected (i.e. given an easier chance to win or be nominated) suggests that they can't compete head to head with "professionals." That is exactly the attitude and false belief that we're disproving here.

First, how do you define "amateur?" For me, that is someone who has never made a penny on anything music related. That means never sold a single CD, never gotten paid to perform anywhere, never won a contest or award of standing and who has no interest in pursuing commercial success (i.e. getting paid) in the future. That's a very small percentage of our membership. Even folks who consider themselves hobbyists often will put a CD out and sell a few copies, or will get a paid gig now and then. If you set the bar higher, then it's even more problematic. The only purpose separating artists and songwriters into 2 groups would be to take the "competition" away for one group so that a lower level of talent could get recognized. Why do that? The point is to recognize excellence. Why would someone with a weaker talent and weaker songs deserve recognition over so many others who do it better? And where do you stop the separations?

We've demonstrated that even artists and writers who don't make a living and in some cases have no desire to make a living from music can still compete at the highest levels against the seasoned professionals. Talent has nothing to do with commercial success. We recognize the talent to make music that can move our judging staff. It has zero correlation to "pro" or "amateur." There was a time in the Golfing World where all the best players were Amateurs and the Professionals were the ones that were looked down on by many. In the music world today, the "industry" in power artificially keeps 99% of the music made off the radio, off record store shelves and out of the media competely. They don't want fair competition because they know that the artists/writers on their commercial staffs are no better, in truth, than many others out there under the radar. We're removing those barriers. I think if a well known professional makes the best music, they should be recognized. I applaud those professionals who put their music up into our awards process to be judged against ALL the music being made, not just the music that a few multinational corporations tell us we're allowed to consider. To suggest to someone that their music should be judged against less competition because they are "amateurs" would be an insult to many. And it would be a fairly hollow victory for someone to win an award with such limits. It devalues everyone involved. Commercialism certainly has helped a few artists become financially successful and more widely known. But it hasn't been a good or fair tool to measure great music, or the best music being made. Our awards, though not perfect either, I think get much closer to doing it right than any other music awards of any kind in the world. And since our awards are by a large large marging the largest in the world, we are giving more artists and writers in more diverse genres a chance to be recognized for their excellence than anyone else. And we're not doing it to get rich or as a power play in the industry as so many other contests and awards do. We do it solely to recognize and bring attention to the music that moved us the most. And isn't that a major goal for people who make music and put it out there for the world to hear? We think so.

Don't be defensive about our exchange. Your question has been asked before by others. We just have a very passionate opinion on the matter and so we answered passionately. We want to help you learn to make music that can reach and move a larger audience of people. It's part of what we do here. Hang out and you may find yourself also being recognized against some of the best know and unknown artists and writers in the world.


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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