The finalists of the 7th annual Independent Music Awards have been announced and are moving on to the final round to be judged by a distinguished group of influential artists and industry insiders.
Though music fans have been provided the opportunity to listen to the finalists' music and cast votes for who they believe should win among some 22 categories, the votes will have no impact on the judges' decision.
The "people's choice" voting, according to IMA promoters, simply provides a marketing opportunity that enables finalists to promote their accomplishments to their fans and gives listeners a chance to discover other talent spotlighted in the program.
"Fans are the lifeblood of an artists' career," explained the Music Resource Group, which created the IMAs.
Though winning the "people's choice" award may not snag all the same perks granted to the IMA winners, winners of the fan voting will be noted with a special banner and be promoted throughout 2009. The winners tapped by the judges, meanwhile, will receive year-long marketing campaigns, partnerships and distribution alliances that put them in front of millions of music fans and industry decision makers around the world.
Looking at this year's finalists, IMA program director Martin Folkman said the nominees are the most diverse group the program has recognized.
This year's finalists are said to cover every level of experience and include a variety of seasoned veterans, including past IMA winners and finalists who have returned as nominees with new works released within the eligibility period for this 8th annual IMA event. In total, there are more than 20 categories covered by the IMAs.
"The level of talent is extraordinary and reflects the vast talent pool found in the indie scene," Folkman said in an announcement.
This year, finalists for the "Contemporary Christian" category include American artists Bill Petty, the Jake Brothers, Sean Cox, The Ride, and Jade Ambroze of Australia. "Gospel" finalists, meanwhile, include American artists Darcell, Eddie Cunningham, Joe Russell, and Pepse Brown from Canada.
Each finalist will be vying to win for their category for the chance to receive greater exposure for their works. In addition to being exposed to nearly 10 million viewers of ManiaTV.com and Havoc TV, IMA winners will be promoted by eMusic to millions of their subscribers throughout 2008. The IMA Winners CD compilation, meanwhile, will be distributed to 10,000 music fans and industry at events throughout the year and promoted to more 650 U.S. and Canadian college and public radio stations.
IMA winners will also join finalists in appearing in the 11th annual edition of The Musician's Atlas 2009, which is regarded as the industry's most comprehensive contact directory. The Atlas is used by independent musicians and entrepreneurs to market and sell music more successfully.
"One of the greatest challenges for independent musicians is to stand out and be heard," commented Martin Folkman, publisher of The Musician's Atlas.
"[T]he best-selling Musician's Atlas … adds muscle to your career," his group claims.
Contained in the current edition are critical contacts, resources and information to help connect independent musicians with the right people and opportunities to pave one's way towards success.
"This is the best music guide on the market. It has everything you need," stated Jeff Pitts of Epic Records in an endorsement for the atlas. "If you work for a major or indie label, or if you're an artist, this is the guide for you."
The next edition of The Musician's Atlas, the 11th annual one to be published, will go on sale next month. Its online counterpart, meanwhile, claims to have 40 percent more listings than the print edition – with new listings and updates qualified and added every day.
According to the Music Resource Group, the winners of this year's IMAs will be announced later this month while the winners of the "people's choice" award will not be announced until next year.
A complete list of the finalists and their songs are available at www.musiciansatlas.com/imafinalist/default.aspx