Open Questions about the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions
On December 17th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2016 performer inductees: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and N.W.A. Here are some open questions about this year’s induction class that hopefully can be answered by those in charge of process: Rock Hall Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman, Rock Hall Museum President Greg Harris, Nominating Committee Chairman Jon Landau, and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner. (Transparency and accountability are two of the tenets of non-profit organizations.)
- This year’s performer class includes only five artists, down from the six that have been inducted in recent years. Given the backlog of deserving artists, why the reduction?
- Was the number of inductees reduced to shorten the length of the induction ceremony?
- If so, why did you schedule the induction ceremony at Barclays Center the day before a hockey game? The last time the ceremony was at Barclays, you had to cancel the end of show jam session because of the curfew.
- Regarding the inducted members of Deep Purple, can you explain the rationale for how vocalist Rod Evans can be inducted but bassist Nick Simper is not, despite being in the band during the same era (1968-1969) and performing on the same albums?
- We have our theories, but can you explain why Steve Miller has been inducted solo, with no one else from the Steve Miller Band?
- Do bands with a complicated membership history have a disadvantage in getting nominated or inducted?
- Who were the “experts” you used to determine which members of the inducted artists got in?
- The official fan poll effectively ended on October 15th after you instituted limits to protect against volume voters (human or otherwise). Why was the fan poll created with no protective measures in the first place?
- When it was determined that the fan poll had fatal flaws, why wasn’t the poll scrapped in favor of a new, secure poll?
- Why did you create a poll with unlimited voting (that has almost zero impact on the actual results) that takes advantage of fans’ passions for their favorite artists by wasting their time?
- Did the fan poll last year have similar unusual voting activity?
- It has been reported that the Voting Committee was expanded this year. How many new voters were added? How many of the new voters are women? (Of the dozen or so new voters we have seen, none are women.)
- One of the new voters this year is Howard Stern Show producer Gary Dell’Abate (aka Baba Booey). What are the qualifications for becoming an official voter?
- Speaking of women, of the 25 people inducted in the Class of 2016, zero are women. Do you feel the Rock Hall has a gender diversity problem? If so, how do you plan to address it?
- Some of the members of the Nominating Committee have recently complained that the Voting Committee isn’t knowledgable enough about the broad history of rock and roll, and ignores the clear wishes of the Nominating Committee (Chic is example #1). Are there plans to change the composition of the electorate (most of whom are Rock Hall inductees) that would be more in line with the Nominating Committee’s views of rock and roll?
- Speaking of voters, how many of the over 800 ballots were actually returned this year?
- Who counted the votes and will you release the voting totals?
- Official ballots were due from voters on December 15th, but it seems clear that the inductees were determined and notified prior to the voting deadline. Given the reported low return rate of ballots, how could you be sure late ballots wouldn’t change the results?
- Only inductees in the “performer” category were revealed. When will inductees in the other categories be announced?
- The induction ceremony locations were previously going to be on three year cycles between New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles. This year was to be an L.A. year. Why was the L.A. ceremony scrapped? Are there currently plans to return to L.A.?
If you have additional questions about the Rock Hall process that go beyond the usual “why isn’t [my favorite artist] in the Rock Hall?”, leave them in the comments.