Country artist Oliver Anthony is dominating the charts and political discourse right now with his Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “Rich Men North of Richmond,” but one place fans likely won’t find him is among the 2023 CMA Awards nominations when they are announced next Thursday (Sept. 7).
That’s because the Virginia singer-songwriter, who records as Oliver Anthony Music, and his music either aren’t eligible for inclusion or did not come into enough prominence to be on voters’ minds, as they were marking their ballots by the deadline.
The CMA Awards eligibility period for the 2023 show, which airs live on ABC on Nov. 8, is July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023, meaning that, according to the CMA rules, “singles, albums, music videos and qualified music products for the annual show must have been released or reached peak national prominence during the eligibility period.”
RadioWV put up Anthony’s live performance of “Rich Men North of Richmond” on YouTube Aug. 7, well after the eligibility cutoff.
However, Anthony has been releasing videos on YouTube for nearly a year, so he technically is eligible for several other categories, including male artist and new artist of the year. Practically, though, few were aware of Anthony until after “Rich Men” went viral in mid-August, and the first round of ballots closed July 16. Though the second round, which narrows the initial round of nominees down to the five finalists for each category, ran Aug. 2-Aug. 16, it’s unlikely that Anthony made it onto the first round. Also, unlike the Grammy Awards where artists or their representatives can submit them for contention, the CMA Awards’ first round ballot is based on voters writing in their selections based on the criteria.
Anthony’s early material also would have not been eligible for single of the year even though it was released during the eligibility period. For consideration, the track must have reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, Hot Country Songs chart or Country Aircheck’s chart for the first time within the eligibility period.
In addition to debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 chart, “Rich Men” also bowed at the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, but it was after the eligibility period closed. “Rich Men” is currently holding on top of both of those charts for a second week. “Rich Men” debuted at No. 45 on the Country Airplay chart last week.
In other words, though Anthony likely missed out for this year’s CMA Awards, he could be a big nominee for the 2024 show.
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