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2011 MAMA's

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2011 MAMA's

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:24 pm

Here we are several days after the event and NOBODY has anything to say about it? Sheesh. Is Rick slacking on Itshmus? Did our regular musician Forons give it a pass this year? I was out of state. I can read the winners online but hoping there's some foron attendees who have something more to say about it.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby jman111 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:35 pm

Sadly, I missed it. I'd love to hear what folks thought about the Hendrix medley by Masino, Williams and Pingatore. How was it?
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby eriedasch » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:48 pm

fisticuffs wrote:Here we are several days after the event and NOBODY has anything to say about it?

What more can you say about the same bands winning the same awards year after year after year?

I know Rick and respect the hell out of the MAMAs, what they do for the kids, and have really enjoyed the awards ceremony in past years I attended.

But can anyone tell me how many awards Natty Nation, Lucas Cates, and Harmonious Wail really need?

I'll admit I may be a bit jealous for never winning one myself, but after 10, 15, or 20 of these things, do the multiple winners year after year ever think, "We've made our point, let's not enter this year and give some other groups a chance". I guess not.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:54 pm

Gotta agree. It doesn't seem to have a lot of diversity year in year out. Probably a combo of the acts that keep winning working really hard at it and others not really giving a rip. Sucks for those in the middle who do give a rip and work hard for the cause. Look I love Frank from MSB. He's a great guy but his band is not Country/Bluegrass
Folk / Americana
and Rock.
And Lucas Gates isn't Pop / R&B, and Jazz. They should limit a band to one genre at the very least. Let the band choose which fine by me but keep it consistent.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby eriedasch » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:21 pm

I think the Awards "show" generally has great diversity. I doubt they have the same bands perform year after year. And I do realize they have worked very hard every year to make it better than the previous. I give them a LOT of credit for getting rid of some of the fees. THat was a big contention with many people. I have even accepted the fact they do need some way to raise money.

I realize it is tough finding enough groups to fill some of the less popular categories. But I feel the current trend of one or two artists basically sweeping the awards and the big winners doing so by nominating themselves for many different (sometimes questionable) genres, does not encourage any less popular bands to enter, let alone put much effort into it if they do.

My purpose here is not to piss all over the MAMAs. I would like to see more people talking about it here at TDPF, more poeple entering their bands, more people voting and attending the Awards show because it is good for the music community. But when I see the same groups sweep the awards year after year I feel that does not help the MAMAs.

And finally, I do respect ALL the MAMAs winners. I have no reason to doubt they were able to get more people to vote for them than any other artist in their category. And if that 13th or 15th MAMA Award is what they require to justify their accomplishments, more power to them.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby minicat » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:31 pm

The elimination of fees for artist submission was a good step, and it's heartening to know that fundraising is developing in other areas so that could be accomplished. However, the next step that needs to be taken is for the MAMAs board to either create the nominations (or at least part of them) rather than only using the self-nomination model. That's why you get the same bands showing up in nearly all the genres.

Personally, I could be involved in creating the best album ever made, and I'm just not gonna submit it myself. Without getting into whether that's a good or a bad attitude to have, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who feels that way.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:37 pm

Yeah I'm pretty awful at shameless self promotion. Kind of a big handicap as a musician.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby supaunknown » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:04 pm

Disclaimer:
Below is just my $.02. I'm a virtual nobody and know very little about anything. I respect Rick Tvedt and want to like the MAMAs again. The following is based on a recent bar conversation between friends.

When the MAMAs first started out there was a good will vibe about them, even among some of the most jaded locals. Here, unlike the WAMIs, was a chance to do it right - create a fair submission & voting process, put on a fun show, and raise money, instruments, and awareness for a great cause.
Through the years the organizers improved the material submission process, but the nomination & voting process remained deeply flawed, almost stubbornly so. The top-heavy award winning numbers don't lie - attempts at fixing the voting process still favored the full-time marketeering professionals, with the music itself barely a consideration.
The MAMAs seem to have completely alienated the vast majority of local bands and greatly diminished the credibility of the awards themselves. It needs a major overhaul, if it's not too late already.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby ivotedforcarlweathers » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:31 am

It's a strange situation. You can't blame a band for submitting, but after a while, it is a little ludicrous. It diminishes it for people to win 10-15 or more. If you need a yearly ego stroke, go nuts. On the other hand, making CDs is expensive and getting some (almost) free press out of it isn't a bad idea. It's good for the press kit, and that's about it.

They tinker with it to try to make it better every year, it seems, so hats off to Rick and his bunch. Maybe an Artists' Choice category where band people vote for each other.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby minicat » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:44 am

Yup, they keep working to make it better... I know a lot of planning happens every year. And anyone can get involved with the board to put their ideas in the mix.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby Nate535 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:13 pm

The vote system is going to turn off a lot of musicians who aren't interested in a popularity contest. I think the lack of participation in some genres makes a pretty strong statement. It makes sense for fundraising, if you want people to give you money they have to be involved in the process. This establishes the value for the voters but unfortunately it ignores the value for the bands/artists. I think it's a mistake to assume that more votes=better music. More votes often simply means the music is most accessible.

One of the obvious problems is that popular bands that play very accessible music end up competing in genres that they have no business being in. Examples:

Mighty Short Bus - not country/bluegrass
Lucas Cates - not jazz
Clovis Mann - not hard rock or punk
The Projection People - not electronic

I keep hearing people say (in defense of the MAMAs) that it's all about marketing. I get that, but the unfortunate side effect is that a MAMA award is essentially recognition for being good at marketing. I think what most musicians want is recognition for making great music.

There probably isn't an easy solution but you have to respect the values of the bands (in order to get willing participation) and the values of voters (so they will pay you). It's not an easy balancing act...
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby HopeIsKey » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:29 pm

So they've tried a judges panel and that was considered a popularity contest. And now the winners are selected by public vote which is a process I define more as a popularity contest.

It seems we have the same discussion on this board every year. Is there really a problem or is it cynicism? Jealousy (don't take that the wrong way, I never win jack)?

Does anyone have suggestions on how the voting process should work next year?
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby swoon_queen » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:47 pm

HopeIsKey wrote:It seems we have the same discussion on this board every year. Is there really a problem or is it cynicism? Jealousy (don't take that the wrong way, I never win jack)?

Does anyone have suggestions on how the voting process should work next year?


In the past I've been very vocal in my suggestions about the MAMAs. Yes, they have fixed some of these issues since then. Yes, if I had more time to be involved in the actual planning, I would definitely hop on board (I just don't have enough spare time, nor have I ever been asked to help out). Yes, I respect Rick tremendously and the mission is commendable and wonderful. However, the fact that the event has been criticized for similar reasons year in and year out is something that should be remedied somehow.

The major turnoff for a lot of musicians is pinpointed by Nate535: the awards really don't reflect the quality of music in Madison or even a broad spectrum of Madison music. I'm not trying to knock the winners, at all, but the current system is a little self-defeating in that achieving a MAMA award by this point is the very definition of winning a popularity contest-- or encouraging your uncle in Montana who's never heard your music to make a small donation to help you out. The major turnoff for me as a voter/participant is that the bands I would love to see elevated and rewarded are not nominated. And the processes of both nominating and voting are less than straightforward/can get technically wonky.

I feel like a clear path to credibility and diversity is to assemble a panel of Madison music folks (staff from live music venues, writers for AV club/Isthmus, promoters, maybe a UW prof or two, past MAMAs winners, etc.) and have them draw up a ballot. A single afternoon meeting could accomplish this. People could then donate to vote on that ballot, and there could be a write-in option in every category for outliers. Also, instead of just a small donation to vote, and a separate ticket for the awards show itself, there could be a "package deal" option: choose to donate $5 if you just want the voting privilege, or,say, $15 (or some other figure that is a discounted ticket price) for the opportunity to vote as well as a cheaper ticket to the event itself. Result: more bands represented=more voters invested in seeing their favorite band win. More voters invested= more people attending the show. And more money raised overall. Plus, musicians have the warm fuzzy feeling that they are being hailed for their talents out of the gate.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby supaunknown » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:02 pm

HopeIsKey wrote:So they've tried a judges panel and that was considered a popularity contest. And now the winners are selected by public vote which is a process I define more as a popularity contest.

It seems we have the same discussion on this board every year. Is there really a problem or is it cynicism? Jealousy (don't take that the wrong way, I never win jack)?

Does anyone have suggestions on how the voting process should work next year?

I dig their idea of combining a Judges Panel and a public vote, but obviously something is fucked up. Nate's comment about the MAMAs essentially being awards for marketing is accurate, and this tuneless emphasis has alienated a large number of wonderful local musicians/bands.
Since so many artists can't seem to be trusted to limit themselves into entering the correct genres for their music, the "expert" judges should have the authority to move or nix them if need be.
The year our band was nominated for a MAMA, we did NOT expect to win (and didn't!), but the show itself was hella fun. Though it did grow sadly laughable to see the same artist going up over and over again to collect yet another MAMA. Might as well had his chair on stage and sack to put them in. Jealous? Yeah, maybe a little. Disheartened? Pissed? Fuck yeah. But mainly disappointed that all the smart people involved with the MAMAs couldn't figure out a way to do it right.
Last edited by supaunknown on Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 MAMA's

Postby dave esmond » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:03 pm

swoon_queen wrote:I feel like a clear path to credibility and diversity is to assemble a panel of Madison music folks (staff from live music venues, writers for AV club/Isthmus, promoters, maybe a UW prof or two, past MAMAs winners, etc.) and have them draw up a ballot.


Which still ends up a popularity contest. Who ever gets the most votes wins.

It's an award show. It's always gonna be about popularity.

Even if just one person picks the ballot they're gonna pick the people they like.

I say it every year. Award shows for the arts are stupid. A local one is even sillier.

If people want to make local musicians feel good about what they do go see 'em play. Buy their music. Buy 'em a drink. Walk right up and tell them you like what they're doing.Tell the bar you like what they're doing and you'd like to see them booked again.
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