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The Real MI Industry Winners

Christian Wissmuller • EditorialOctober 2020 • September 28, 2020

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

I’ve been at MMR for 18 of the 28 years that this magazine has been presenting the annual Dealers’ Choice Awards (DCAs) – long enough to have a pretty decent understanding of what makes these honors unique.

Other organizations, programs, networks, sites, and publications hand out awards, of course, but there are almost always at least one or two elements of the process that could easily be said to fall under the categories of “fine print” or even “back-door dealings.”

Some engage in fairly shameless “pay for play” practices: “You want to be nominated in a particular category? Fork over some cash!” Still others take that approach even further (ever wonder why the “winners” of awards given out by some magazines and groups consistently seem to be those who advertise or contribute the most? Coincidence, I’m sure…).

Even when you take commerce out of the equation, there’s the matter of how champions are determined. Some awards are chosen by those lucky few who’ve been invited to become members in an exclusive group (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Recording Academy, et cetera), but others – such as many (most) presented by publications – are determined by “a panel of experts” or the editorial staff.

The DCAs represent none of the above. The nominations are determined by public suggestion (a process that begins in mid-summer and lasts roughly two and a half months) and the actual winners are selected by MMR readers – one vote per subscription.

That means that only MI dealers and suppliers can decide the fate of nominees. There’s no back room with myself and my associate editors huddled together with the sales staff to figure out which of the nominees we’re going to give a trophy to this year, for whatever reasons. With only one vote per subscription number, that also means no ballot-stuffing. Sure, if you have six employees at your store or 20 at your guitar-string company who are all subscribers, then they each get a vote, but you don’t get one person sitting at a computer filling in the same fields the exact same way and clicking “submit” over and over and over – or, as back in the olden days, a similar individual faxing the same form 30-plus times and actually having each submission accepted (side note: I do not miss the fax era for precisely this reason).

The winners of MMR’s Dealers’ Choice Awards are the real deal, the true champions in their respective categories as fairly and honestly determined by those in the MI industry. If you haven’t already noticed, the nominees were announced a couple weeks ago (see pages 22-26) and voting is currently open and will remain so until October 31 at 12:00 p.m. (PST). If you haven’t yet made your picks, please join the process (and fun)! Head over to and have your subscription number at the ready (located on the front of your magazine in the address box. If there are zeros in front of your number please omit them – for example, “001234” should be entered as “1234”). I’ll be announcing the winners – the deserving winners – in our December issue.

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