Traditionally, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees are determined by the hall's voting body of roughly 600 artists, historians and music industry professionals. But for the first time since its 1986 inaugural ceremony, fans will have a say in the outcome.
A small say.
Beginning today and through Dec. 5, fans are invited to cast votes for the 2013 class at rockhall.com, hbo.com, cnn.com and rollingstone.com. The top five artists selected by the public will comprise a single ballot to be tallied with membership picks. The five will be culled from this year's slate of 15 diverse artists, announced today.
They include Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, Chic, Heart, Donna Summer and Kraftwerk. Deep Purple, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Albert King, The Marvelettes, The Meters, N.W.A. and Procol Harum also made the cut. The fan vote was modeled after the Heisman Trophy selection process, in which results of a public survey count as one vote among hundreds of media ballots.
"There have been times that something has come down to one vote," says Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "One vote can carry pretty great weight. We wanted to give people a small voice in the process as opposed to just an opinion on a website. We'll see how it goes. If everyone's comfortable with it, it could be expanded.
"It will be interesting to see how it matches up with the votes (of members). It could be in sync or we could see a huge disconnect."
The 28th annual induction ceremony will take place April 18 in Los Angeles for the first time since Cream was inducted 1993. The event at the Nokia Theatre will be broadcast at a later date on HBO.