Are award necessary? Not in many people’s view, because they often don’t reflect reality. Art is subjective and just because more people vote for x than y doesn’t make it artistically better. Lastly, who gives a fuck?
Seems like the team at Resident Advisor have been thinking this very issue for some time. Today the site announced it had ended its wildly popular annual RA Poll.
Initially launched in 2006 as a way for the website’s contributors to rank the year’s best DJ talent, RA opened voting to include readers in 2008.
But the innocence of a poll was overshadowed by artists seeking to raise their professional profile. In the same way DJs rather shamefully campaign to get fans to cast votes on their behalf for the annual DJ Mag Top 100 poll, the same electioneering became an annual occurrence for RA’s poll.
RA’s editors addressed the issue in a thoughtful post:
“What began as a lighthearted way to praise our favourite artists and toast the year gone by had become something of more serious consequence: an industry index influencing many different parts of club culture, from event lineups to artist fees to the atmosphere of the scene in general (especially at this time of year). Over time, it became our most-read piece of content.
“This added responsibility has caused us to reflect on the polls, and to consider whether they are still aligned with our mission and the best interests of the scene. After a great deal of what you might call “soul-searching”—or more specifically, discussion, both internally and with other members of the electronic music community—we decided they are not….
“On a more basic level, we decided that we don’t want to rank artists in this way. On reflection, to put artists in a list in descending order of perceived quality does a disservice to them, even the ones at the top, and creates an atmosphere of self-interested competition. For this reason, we’ll also be stopping the staff-voted, numerically-ordered polls—that is, top labels, top tracks, top albums and top mixes / compilations / podcasts.”
Big Shot has never felt the need to rank artists for all the reasons mentioned above, despite the trove of traffic and potential financial rewards it could bring. Kudos to the RA team for putting the integrity of their publication ahead of page views.