There seems to be no doubt that recent elections in a number of countries have been influenced by outside sources. Given the enormous scale and difficulty of doing that, it seems like something as inconsequential as a music award would be easy to affect. It looks like that actually happened in the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards Awards (MAMA) to a degree where the balloting had to be shut down and the entire voting system checked for fraudulent votes.
Mnet is the Asian MTV and MAMA is an international award that’s somewhat pan-asian but tends to focus on K-pop. The music award ceremony will be held on multiple dates in three countries starting in Vietnam on Nov. 25, Japan on Nov. 29 and two Hong Kong shows on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Fans from 180 countries vote on the nominees.
The inspection found that fraudulent votes came mostly via automatic-bots. Along with removing votes, the accounts of Mnet users found to be rigging the system were deleted and their IP addresses blocked, as reported by Yonhap. Following the inspection, multiple rankings shifted as votes in question were cleared from the system. The results show that almost all artists in all categories were affected by voter fraud to a certain degree. Some artists had a minor drop in votes, having little to no effect on their ranking, while others were drastically impacted. In some cases nominees lost more than a million votes.
The scary thing here is that with most music award voting now online, it seems like it wouldn’t take much to influence those votes. While it’s true that the voting for awards like the Grammy’s are limited to a select group of members, that still doesn’t eliminate it from outside influences.
While an award don’t necessarily make a career, it does provide a huge temporary boost in earning power, and the smell of money can be enough to tempt someone to buy some bots or use some other method to change the voting. After all, it’s already been done, as we’ve seen with MAMA.