The Austin Chronicle

Page Two

By Louis Black, January 12, 1996, Columns

The morning began with a voice mail message from a reader saying that a local radio station said that the Chronicle staff rigged the results of our annual Music Poll. The station reportedly said that if we didn't like a band or thought the winner was "too popular," we would change the results. Some variation of this rumor is spread around every year by musicians who don't win, voters whose favorites don't win, people who hate polls, and those who just hate the Chronicle and anything we do.

We do not "fix" the polls. Envelopes are opened, ballots are counted, ballots that represent an obvious attempt at stuffing are removed from the count, the votes are tallied, and we announce them. There is no editing or Chronicle critic intervention. The results are tallied by a neutral person and then Austin Music Awards director Margaret Moser enters them into the system. Sore losers, sore winners, and anyone else can moan and groan about results but it is the people's votes and voices, not the Chronicle staff's. The more people who vote, the more the results will reflect the community sentiments.

The winners will be announced when The Austin Chronicle presents the Austin Music Awards show at Palmer Auditorium, Wednesday, March 13. Co-sponsored by 107.1 KGSR and 101X, the show is the official kick-off event for the 10th annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW week begins March 8 with the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival and continues through the week with the SXSW Multimedia and SXSW Music festivals). This will be the 15th year of the music poll but we won't make a big deal about it because 1997 will be the 15th annual Austin Music Awards show and we will make a big deal about that. A big deal.

Looking through the last 14 years of Chronicle Poll results is a good way to survey of the evolution of the Austin music scene. People may quibble about the poll on a year-to-year basis but the end result is in the polls themselves; they all are intelligent and comprehensive. In the history of the poll, few important bands have been overlooked, and few notable music trends have not been noted in one way or another. The entirety of the poll, the 14 years so far, adds up to a stunning portrait of this rich, diverse scene. (There are over 50 categories, and as many as 10, sometimes more, acts noted in each. Over the years this adds up to an extraordinary number of bands.)

We do not and would not tamper with these votes. We invite all our readers to participate and we will fairly report the result of that vote. What is important is that the people who really go to the clubs, listen to the radio, buy the records, and make the music express their feelings and make their favorites known. The Music Poll ballot is on page nine in this issue, and will run through January 19th and 26th.

Currently, we are also soliciting bands and musicians for the Musicians Register, which we will publish in February. Listings are free (for form and information, see page 35), and the register will be a special section in the Chronicle, of which we print extra copies and insert them in the bags for every registrant of the SXSW Music Conference. In Austin, this listing is important but it also has a regional, national, and even international impact. There are music business professionals, locally and around the country and the world, who regularly refer to this issue. Make sure you or your band are listed.

The Chronicle is looking for a full-time proofreader, meager pay, and intense working conditions. We need someone immediately. Please see ad in the Employment Section of this issue's classifieds. n

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