Voting and Registration Rules

The MAMA Awards honor outstanding achievements in music in the Madison area. Artists must meet the eligibility requirements stated on the official MAMA website to be considered in their respective award categories. Special eligibility, registration, and submission rules apply for the youth award categories; see the special youth awards eligibility and voting rules.

Write-in votes are cast for several categories during the registration period, resulting in a list of choices for the first voting round. Artists and fans alike take part in a participatory process of choosing the nominees in the first voting round. The highest vote-getters in the first round move to the final round where the MAMA members vote for their choices for winners. Membership is required for all MAMA voting, which is open to the public. A $5 donation is requested but not required for Membership; that money is separated from other funds and goes directly to the MAMAs charitable recipients.

Registration Restrictions

  • An artist can enter any one song into no more than two genres (for example, your song “Hit Song #1” could be entered in to Song of the Year in both the Folk and the Country genres). Also, an artist may have no more than two songs in any one genre. Artists should be aware that entering more than one song into the same genre reduces their odds of advancing to the final round. The same rules apply for Album of the Year. Any one album can only be entered into a maximum of two genres. An artist may have only two albums maximum in any one genre. (This is unlikely since very few artists will release two or more albums in a year.) These rules are known as The Rule of Twos.

Time Restrictions on Albums & Songs

  • An album is defined as a group of songs (three or more) that is released for sale or otherwise available to the public. This would include EPs (Extended-Play singles, which refers to releases that usually have only a few songs) but not a CD-single, which we define as being only one or two songs on a single release. Songs from a CD-single would still be eligible in the Song of the Year category. For Album of the Year awards, the release of the album must fall within the eligible year. For the 2023 awards the eligible year is January 1 through December 31, 2022. Songs are only eligible for Song of the Year if they are original works. (In 2011 the MAMA added a Cover Song of the Year category. MAMA, Inc. accepts no responsibility for songs that are posted by the artists for consideration and does not represent the submissions in any legal manner or guarantee their copyright status). Songs do not have to be composed in the current year but may not be re-submitted in future years.

Geographic Eligibility Requirements

  • To be eligible for a MAMA Award, you must have a substantial percentage of your group living or based in Dane County. (A good benchmark is 50% of your band members or 2 of 5, 3 of 7, etc.) Alternatively, you are eligible if a significant amount of your performances (around 50%) are held in Dane County. Registration is on the honor system. If concerns are brought to our attention regarding an artist’s eligibility, they will be investigated.

New Artist of the Year Requirements

  • New Artist of the Year is an award to recognize new talent. The criteria is based on the following: you or your band (1) had your first performance during the award recognition year (for the 2023 awards, that means you first performed in 2022), OR (2) if there were no performances, the artist released a song or album that meets the eligibility requirements (e.g. For the 2023 MAMA Awards, an album/song was released in 2022).

The Voting System

  • Anyone who registers to vote can cast a vote, but artists who register for an award will have their votes weighted. This means that the artists will have significantly more effect on the outcome. This is intended to encourage artists to vote in all categories as their votes carry more weight. Please note, a band that has multiple members will have only one voter as the weighted vote (the member that registered the band). This rule addresses the issue of a band with nine members voting for themselves and having all those votes weighted.

Who Can Vote

  • Once the voting opens, anyone can register to vote through the MAMA website at Voters must select 4 (or as posted) different candidates in each category in the first round of voting. Only one vote is cast per category in the final round.

Winner Selection

  • Winners (except youth musicians) are selected by public vote with two rounds of voting. MAMA works with Broadjam (see below) as a collaborative partner to administer the vote. During registration, aartists create a profile on An artist’s profile has general information on the artist (e.g. name, bio, genre of music) and can include samples of music and video as well as photographs. This enables voters to evaluate the artists who are being considered for awards. The 4 (or as stated) artists receiving the highest number of votes in each category in the first round will advance to the final round of voting.

Youth Awards

  • Artists under the age of 19 and still in High School may enter into consideration for the Youth Awards in one of eight instrumental categories (bass, drums and percussion, keyboards, guitar, brass, woodwinds, strings and specialty instrument) as well as male vocalist, female vocalist, ensemble vocalist, youth song and youth album. The geographic area of eligibility is different than that for the awards offered to non-youth participants. It includes all of Dane county as well as portions of Sauk, Columbia, Dodge, Jefferson, Rock, Green, Lafayette, and Iowa counties. Registration for the youth awards is free. Consequently, those registered as youth artists will not be able to vote for the general award categories. If they do wish to vote they will need to sign up as a general member. Instructors can register their students, or the students can register themselves. Music or video uploads will be required. Voting for the youth awards will be done by committee.

Broadjam, Inc.

  • Broadjam administers contests and/or voting for past and present clients including the Academy of Country Music, Country Radio Broadcasters, Yamaha, WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry), and the Dallas Songwriters Association. The mechanisms for running contests and selecting award winners have therefore already been developed by Broadjam and so they are a natural fit for the MAMA Awards. Broadjam’s services are a donation; no profit is being made by Broadjam and no monies are diverted to Broadjam or any of its employees. Broadjam’s security measures are concrete and the board is fully confident of the company’s abilities to meet its goals in upholding the fairness and integrity of the award selections.

For support with voting, contact
For MAMA member support, contact