How to buy a Dove nomination, hypothetically

Ever since we started talking about the Dove awards and SOTY nominations, I’ve been wondering: what would it take, in terms of votes and money, to secure a SOTY nomination if you wanted to go about it in a strategic, organized fashion?

In order to answer the question, or at least hypothesize about its feasibility, I did some digging and speculative calculating.

What follows is an educated guess as to how many votes a group like Young Harmony might have to get to end up on the 2007 SOTY ballot. Let me reiterate: there is a lot of guessing going on here, but I’ve tried to explain why things are guesstimated the way they are. My point isn’t to pretend to be snapshotting actual voting patterns, but to demonstrate how relatively easily (with unlimited funds and no scruples) you could buy yourself a Dove nomination.

Start with
4000 Voting GMA Members
- 300 I think it’s safe to assume that at least 300 people voted for songs that didn’t make it to the final cut.
- 700 votes for “My Savior, My God,” by Aaron Shust. A breakout hit this year, huge radio song, huge CCLI song, the album was a big seller and has established Shust as a major artist in CCM.
votes for “Imagine Me,” a big hit for Kirk Franklin. Not only was this a radio hit but it was also a crossover success, not to mention he’s a popular black gospel artist. And (this is important) he’s the only black gospel artist/song represented here. The black vote is big in the GMA.
votes for “Made To Worship,” by Chris Tomlin. He is THE Praise & Worship/CCM soloist of the last couple of years. Everything he touches turns to gold and platinum. Radio loves him and so does the church/CCLI contingent.
votes for “Praise You In the Storm,” by Casting Crowns. The group is a GMA favorite. They have the blessing of the Steven Curtis Chapman camp and are a favorite of youth groups around the world. Although this song wasn’t as big of a hit as some of their others, they have a huge following in the GMA.
votes for “Bless The Broken Road,” by Selah. This was a No. 1 song for Selah AND a No. 1 country song for Rascal Flatts. The church loves Selah. They have an impressive following.
- 400
votes for “Cry Out To You,” by Third Day. Another big radio hit. Another group with a large following. GMA has shown a great deal of love to them in the past.
votes for “Nothing Left To Lose,” by Mat Kearney. Kearney
was another breakout artist this year with really big album sales both in CCM and mainstream markets. This was his attention-getting song. VH1 played the companion video. He was on Good Morning America and several primetime TV shows.

So that leaves 400 votes to split among DecembeRadio, Stellar Kart, and Young Harmony.

Giving YH the benefit of the doubt that they would split the remaining votes evenly (even though the Stellar Kart song and the DecembeRadio songs were huge radio hits while Young Harmony mostly has some billboards in central and eastern Tennessee), that comes to roughly 133 votes each.

133 - “Drifter,” DecembeRadio
133 - “Me And Jesus,” Stellar Kart
133 - “God’s Still God,” Young Harmony

If (and I’m only saying hypothetically if) YH and/or their record company paid the $85-per-membership fee to sign up their family, friends, and whoever else would claim to be industry professionals (the GMA isn’t well known for verifying the veracity of this claim the way NARAS is), then that would mean the price of a Dove nomination would be around $11,305, assuming I’ve done the math correctly.

A lot of money? You bet. But maybe not that much for someone used to spending four or five thousand dollars a month for billboards.

So is it possible to buy a nomination? Certainly.

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  1. Diva0427 wrote:

    But, if any artist did try and sign up their friends, family, etc. after the nominations came out (and I’m not saying that anyone has/would/did)…it wouldn’t help. You have to be a member of GMA for a certain amount of time in order to be eligible to vote.

    On the GMA website it says this…
    ” All memberships are current for one full year. Memberships are in individual names only, not company or group names…Payment of membership dues enables you to vote in one complete cycle of the GMA Dove Awards voting process.” (

    Basically, memberships would have to be bought way in advance, and then just cross fingers and hope and pray for a Dove nomination.

  2. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Thank you so much for breaking it down like this. So really, it’s not that far fetched that a little shucking and jiving got them a nomination. I think this can end the debate over how their name ended up in those categories.

  3. gc wrote:

    nice theory and most likely very close to what happened! I estimated $20,000 and had the same thought you had. What is $20,000 to a group who spends $6,000 a month on billboards and unlimited funds on other advertisng outlets…

  4. revpaul wrote:

    You’re a math whiz, and a wee bit naughty!

  5. smells wrote:

    Is it possible that your an idiot? Certainly.

  6. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Smells - Is it possible you don’t have a leg to stand on so you’ve resorted to name calling? Certainly.

  7. dkd wrote:

    Smells…Avery is correct, and has broken it down pretty clearly, when you look at the complete picture it’s even more incredible that they were even nominated considering all of the other “possibles” in the industry.

  8. Bubba wrote:

    avery said “assuming I’ve done the math correctly”

    Me thinks thou hast not correctly factored in the “Invitation to the Presidential Inauguration”! You had to know THAT was gonna pay some dividends.

  9. VD wrote:

    ok, so lets be clear about this. you are only guessing what has happened. I am willing to say that it may could have been done, however based on several peoples take yh is morally and spiritually grounded. why are we trying to destroy them? post 2 said, ” oh, i think we can end the debate now” and this was just based on your guess. that is what causes the problem from by view. why are we going on what you think instead of contacting gma and asking if yh bought 133 memberships? or maybe we dont want to know the truth because it is more fun trashing someone based on the possibilites that we can just guess at. also, here is a question for everyone, why arent we adult enough to use our real names and stand behind what we believe to be true? Gerald, Jason, etc. maybe we are afraid that people will make up a truth on us. just an educated guess

  10. dkd wrote:

    VD..I’m assuming that VD is your real name?
    I still don’t believe that anyone is trashing the character or sincerity of YH as a group or as individuals. As for using our real names that is a totally irrelevant issue. Since you choose to use Initials on your post’s, what’s the problem?

  11. gc wrote:

    If you read the rules of the GMA, they would have no reason to question an individual on why they are joining the GMA. YH was nominated in some categories last year so this has been a process. Be realistic, Do you think any major label who has a block vote would vote YH into these nominations? The SG labels would not and the other CCM labels are supporting the people in their organizations. This makes the theory posted here realistic. I personally do not want to destroy YH but if something has been manipulated in the system to nominate them, it should be brought to the forefront.
    If correct, it makes a mockery of a nomination that many artist feel is a great honor! That should make every artist and fan want to know the truth!!

  12. CG wrote:

    VD wrote:

    “…based on several peoples take yh is morally and spiritually grounded…”

    I’m honestly NOT trying to cast aspersions here; however, couldn’t you, at one time, have made that same statement about Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, or anyone else (favorite SG singer) that has had a moral failure?

    I don’t think anyone is trying to destroy them. In fact, in light of the questions that have been raised, shouldn’t someone really pursue this issue in an attempt to clear YH of any perceived malfeasants (Barney Fife word)?

    Remember, truth loves light. Gray areas can only exist when well-intentioned folks refuse to shed (total) light on a questionable situation.

  13. gc wrote:

    Agree….shed the light!

  14. Sees wrote:

    Smells, to begin with it is you’re [as in you are] not your [as in your comment]. Secondly, name calling is not right. You needn’t make it personal by attacking with a name. If you have a way to refute this or to disagree, do so. Don’t take the bully approach and lash out.

  15. Jim2 wrote:

    2 things
    1) in re: comment #9 was that a thinly veiled slam against Greater Vision (or is there some other Gerald and Jason that I don’t know about?) accusing them of not using their own names? I use my name followed by numeral because I used to comment as Jim and then someone started posting using the same name - no big deal, it’s a common name and offers anonymity by that virtue. Said individual probably just posted to a thread without having read much of the blog and made an honest mistake. AND
    2) It’s usually not the Artist that works the behind-the-scenes machinations to garner a nomination. That’s what Labels, Promoters, Publicists and Agents do. Sure it’s on their behalf, but not really their area of responsibility. So a lot of the character assassination (and defense) is probably misplaced - I’d take a closer look at the involvement of Rick Hendrix in this whole fiasco before attacking YH. I am not saying there was anything shady about it, just that you use your resources and connections on something like this, and he’s got those by the boatload. If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yips is more than likely the one you hit (comment #9 on the infamous “closed to comments” thread)

  16. bgc wrote:

    Great thread. It is my understanding that the initial write in ballot is sent to industry professionals who are members. But there is no follow up process in place to “certify” the applications. 133 friends and family members who are actually professionals? This could mean “Shady” to the limit.

  17. Rod wrote:

    Ok…Again what I can’t understand is this…So what!!! Most everyone knows that the same friends and fans do the same thing with the Singing News Fan Awards. I have seen so many groups who should have never been nominated must less WON a SGFA. It is the same thing!!! How do YOU guys know that some of those votes weren’t manufactured???
    I have seen so many groups LOBBY for votes in the Singing News. Even some of the top groups. It let’s people know to VOTE. If they have fans who become members and vote BIG DEAL. Many people subscribe to the Singing News every year and vote for their favorite artists. Now it’s been a few years since I have been in an SG group so maybe it has changed but I do not believe so. Point is BIG DEAL!!! Soone other than the Crabb family was nominated…GREAT!

  18. Rod wrote:

    Here’s another thing…Why do SG’ers even care about a Dove??? It’s a contemporary award show anyway. They only give the other awards to show a little mushy, feel good about their roots and so they can say they’re diverse and thanks for the $85.00.

  19. gc wrote:

    The Dove awards are considered top shelf by most Christian artist.manipulating the process of the nominations causes the entire process to be clouded. If your money was invested in SG music, would you want YH to be your poster child for the Dove awards? I know the Inspirations have been there but industry people respect them for what they have accomplished over the years.

  20. Rod wrote:

    Hey GC…What’s up? I thought the Singing News Fan Awards were the top shelf for SG music…Am I wrong? Again Read my last post about how alot of top groups (IN SG) lobby for votes on the fan awards. Are you listening?? Or reading. And who cares about the Inspo’s that’s another post entirely…Oh and industry people respect them for their consistency… NOT THEIR MUSIC OR TALENT.

  21. Rod wrote:

    ALSO…I’m being a hog on the blog…Cool that rhymes. I should write Dove nominated songs. Anyway one more thing…Actually this is the second more thing.

    Why don’t we or you or someone call the GMA and find out exactly what happens instead of speculating. Actually Mr. Avery that would be a great job for you since you started this wonderful mind-numbing blog. :)

  22. Rod wrote:

    GC…Why won’t you chat with me? I’m really a nice guy, HONEST. No one else will talk to me either. Does this mean you think I’m right or stupid. :)

  23. gc wrote:

    Take your medicine, your all over the place tonight. In my opinion, I would rather recieve a Grammy or Dove award over a SN award.My point on the Inspirations: They have done something, accomplished many things, for a long time. You can’t compare YH with them on the basis of no talent.
    I think post #15 is on track with the promoter. The right kind of money(green kind) and enough of it would make RH pull his strings.

    Let’s agree on something tonight!

  24. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    It’s hilarious when someone posting under a set of initials takes another poster to task for not using their real name.

    We don’t know if you’re Virgil Dixon, Vestal Dodson, or Venereal Disease.

  25. gc wrote:

    that is funny!

  26. Practical Fellow wrote:

    I was worried about VD’s initials too. Thanks David Bruce Murray for suggesting the worst of the possibilities (i.e. venereal disease).

    As for not using real names, who says my real name isn’t Practical Fellow. Because is just could be A. Practical Fellow. For real…

    I’m almost tired of this debate. Why don’t we move on to something we can all agree about? Eternal security, anyone?

  27. gc wrote:

    I am worried about my Eternal Security. As one post said somewhere, ” If you don’t love YH, you don’t love God!”

  28. Jason B wrote:

    Are you all so blind that you have beat YH to death this long, with no one on this board with all their knowledge even zoning in on Lamon Records (who YH is with) having 8 noms. More than most anyone. And most are for the label owner Dave Moody. AND they actually won a DOVE last year for Spanish Album. I know Charlotte Observer did a front page story on Dave Moodys small company and their many nominations this year.

    P.S. I am guessing VD was talking about Gerald Crabb (because of the GC initials) not Gerald with Greater Vision

    Song Of The Year
    God’s Still God”; Johnathan Bond; HIS Choice Music, PraiseStreet Music (BMI)

    Southern Song of The Year
    “God’s Still God”; Strength; Young Harmony; Johnathan Bond; Praise Street Music, Lamon Records

    Bluegrass Song of The Year
    “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again”; Bluegrass Gospel Time; Dave Moody; Arr by Dave Moody, Mallie B. Music; Lamon Records

    Southern Gospel Album
    Strength; Young Harmony; Dave Moody; Lamon Records

    Bluegrass Album
    Ancient Of Days; Harvest Wind; Dave Moody; Lamon Records

    Country Album
    Feels Like Home; Dave Moody; Dave Moody; Lamon Records

    Traditional Gospel Album
    Sing To The Lord A New Song; Alabama Spirituals; Dave Moody, Nelson McSwain; Lamon Records

    Special Event Album
    Bluegrass Gospel Time; Honi Deaton & Dream, Dave Moody, Wendy Word + Forgiven, George Hamilton IV, George Hamilton V, The Moody Brothers, The Bradleys, Ricky Traywick, Bluegrass Revival, Aver Harreld, Harvest Wind; Dave Moody, Nelson McSwain, Gary Rushing; Lamon Records

  29. Jim2 wrote:

    Thanks - I guess I drew a blank on that - of course there is another Gerald and Jason. Either way, both of those groups, I feel, could make it on their talent and no one would raise an eyebrow.

  30. Payton wrote:

    I think we all know that nomination was bought and paid for. I also notice that Johnathan Bond hasn’t graced this thread with a personal reply from him as he did in the previous discussion. I gather two things from that….either he’s tired of explaining himself…..or he knows his cover is blown and it won’t work next year :) ANYONE with enough money seems to unfortunately be able to make things happen for them/their group in SG. Although, it does only seem to last for a little while. Just give it time folks…It will all fade into the background eventually to where everyone is saying “hey do you remember those people that racked up on those Dove nominations those couple years? What was their name?”

  31. gc wrote:

    agree….The money or the desire to spend money with no return eventually passes away. Give them credit, they are spreading the cash around.

  32. Tom wrote:

    Payton, I was also noticing that Johnathan Bond hasn’t spoken up yet again to comment on this hypothesis. His comment replying to the initial blog entry was calculably vague, stating that he was genuinely “blown away” by the SOTY award, and defending the billboards and advertising (which, of course, may be a laughingstock to some, but there’s certainly nothing unethical about using them, and that wasn’t at all the point of Avery’s criticism). What was obviously missing in that initial reply, and even more obviously missing in the dead silence from YH the last few days regarding Avery’s hypothesis, was any sort of denial or admission that they had attempted to do something like this. Perhaps they were in fact “blown away” by the nomination–perhaps they gave it their best shot according to the hypothesis above, but didn’t really expect it to succeed. I think what I would most like to hear now from YH is some sort of accounting of how many memberships they had to buy and how much it cost–not so much to admit they did it (seems kind of moot at this point), but just so that we can gauge how accurate Avery’s guesses were . . . .

  33. gc wrote:

    I really took a look at this whole situation when Rick Hendrix went off on everyone. I found that he was very defensive and did much more damage than he did good for YH.He would have been better to not comment.I also thought that Johnathon’s remarks were very calculated and the please pray that they have a good service was a watch me be spiritual moment when it had nothing to do with the converstaion or the topic. I know I will be taken to task for that remark but it happens all the time..

  34. Dale Embry wrote:

    GC,DC,BC Powder whoever all these anonymous people are. Nobody really values any of these opinions except the ones writing them. We have a block of 30 different people here circling the drain. GMA knows the balloting, Lamon Records knows what they did or didnt do concerning this, and YH just happens to be caught in the middle. This talk is doing nothing but further deteriorate southern gospel music to the rest of the world. Seriously its just the same old people saying the same old things and every now and then-a new person jumps in with YET another conspiracy theory. Nothing being done here is effecting anyone or anything.
    Young Harmony is still rich
    Rick Hendrix is still rich
    GMA is still having their show
    Lamon is still up for 6 Doves
    Avery is still the king
    And Elvis is still dead


  35. gc wrote:

    you valued it enough to respond. YH is just an innocent bystander? You have another conspiracy?

  36. not a grammarian wrote:

    Elvis is dead?

  37. gc wrote:

    How about Elvis still be dead?

  38. Rod wrote:

    Elivs Is DEAD??? I just seen him yesterday.

  39. Rod wrote:

    By the way gang…NO ONE even addressed the fact that the Singing News Fan awards have the same problem. No one ever seems to want to look in our own back yard. If you’re going to complain about YH and the Doves then complain about the Mckameys and the Singing News fan awards…Read post # 17 for my thoughts. Your thoughts?

  40. gc wrote:

    The DOVE awards carry much more weight with artist because it is recognized across the entire Christian music poulation. SN awards are not important enough to argue over in my opinion. Perfect example: YH did not invest money in winning a SN award that we know or be knowing or knowingstest…I will let Mr. spellright handle that one…

  41. CG wrote:

    “And Elvis is still dead”

    No way! I just saw a billboard saying he was up for a Dove Award…oh, wait…wrong singer? …Never mind!

  42. dale embry wrote:

    I am just glad YH gave you something to do for the past few weeks. You must be eaten up- you stay on this story.GMA YH AND RHC could probably care less.

  43. gc wrote:

    I happen to be an artist who wants artistic awards to be credible so that when they are awarded, the artist will be presented an award of excellence and not an award that was bought or manipulated. That my friend is why I am still barking about YH. It is a slap in the face of every Christian artist if the nominations were manipulated in any form. I personally believe that is the case with these nominations.

  44. bgc wrote:

    I agree GC. And I’ll go another step. When the Christian Music listener looks at a nomination in a field such as SG and listens to a cut from an artist (who themselves or their producer used shady tactics to secure a nomination) the listener will critique the cut and say “Is this the best they have to represent this style?” This is the DOVE awards, representing talents of indiviuals sharing the music of Christ. If it’s not right, we need places like Avery and people like GC to voice such discussions and challege discrepancies.

  45. Jim2 wrote:

    Agreed. SN is a FAN Award, and generally comes down to the group or artist with the most organized or rabid FANS. A popularity contest if you will. GMA Awards (as they are calling the Dove’s nowadays) are supposed to be nominated and voted on by your peers and inventory professionals. That is the difference and reason for the uproar. I agree with gc on this one, that artistic awards need to be credible. Read comment 28 again, there’s a lot of truth there.

  46. Rod wrote:

    JIm2: Comment 28 is actually supporting Dave Moody and Lamon records…Is that the truth. I agree with the talent factor that Gc and many others have preached on this thread. But the fact is you “CANNOT BUY” that many nominations. Not to mention they have actually won a dove or two (Lamon records) Again you guys are so into conspiracy theories it’s incredible. Again I don’t think YH was deserving of a nom on talent…But I wish I had they’re tenacity, Manager and record label. Guys that is what record labels and managers are supposed to do…HELP THE ARTIST…The more deserving artists need better management and representation. Or for you conspiricacy theorists a lock and key voting system.

  47. Rod wrote:

    Also for all you SGers read post 18 again…You REALLY think the GMA cares about SG music or an award given to an SG artists…I have some alaskan beach front to sell…Any takers??? Of course GC that might just prove your point about YH nomination. Maybe they picked them out of a hat…PRESTO…HHHMmm…I might be changing to the dark side :)

  48. Felicia wrote:

    Actually, Rod, yes I DO believe the GMA cares about SG music and the awards given to an SG artist. Who is the GMA? Well, it’s me and about 4000 other people. So yes, SOME of us care deeply.

    As far as the GMA staff? Go to any major southern gospel event, NQC, the late night GMA showcases featuring sg,or any other concerts in the area and the GMA staff is there. Faithfully.

    As far as the Doves being a CCM event — just like any such organization, the board members are voted in place by the members and that’s how things are decided. SG wrote off the GMA for “stealing the doves” and refuses to participate — so why should they include SG? And yet they still do, on some level. I have heard firsthand horror stories of how GMA employees have been treated at NQC and other places and yet they show our little piece of the industry great mercy.

  49. Rod wrote:

    Felicia…This is a late post that will probably not be read but here’s a short rebuttal. I don’t blame the GMA for not taking SG seriously…I agree with you on every aspect. But they could take it or leave it…With good reason…The only ones who really care what the GMA or the “Doves” do or a few Sg artists who really know how important they are. So please do not misunderstand my language…The SG industry deserves everything they get or don’t get.

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