Oliver Anthony received 0 nominations at the 2023 Country Music Awards despite dominating the charts with “Rich Men North of Richmond.” Here’s what’s happening.
Although country singer-songwriter Oliver Anthony is dominating the charts — and perhaps more than his share of the political discourse — with his viral hit, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” fans might be surprised to learn that he was not among the nominations announced for this year’s Country Music Awards.
Despite a meteoric rise to cultural prominence over the last month, the Virginia-based factory worker-turned-musician who records under the moniker Oliver Anthony Music does not meet the qualifications for eligibility this year — or at least had yet to reach national prominence by the end of the eligibility period.
“Awards criteria, rules of election, and balloting procedures are established by CMA’s Board of Directors,” explains the CMA website. “Singles, albums, music videos, and qualified music products for the annual show must have been first released or reached peak national prominence during the eligibility period, which for the 2023 show is July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.”
Anthony’s live performance of “Rich Men North of Richmond” was uploaded to RadioWV’s YouTube channel on August 7, 2023 — well past the eligibility cutoff.
But Oliver Anthony has been releasing videos on YouTube for almost a year, so while the song that made him famous is ineligible for an award this year, the artist himself may be technically eligible for several other categories. Still, the fact that he was all but unknown before RadioWV uploaded his video on August 7, it remains unlikely that he would have received enough votes to be eligible.
Unlike the Grammy Awards, the CMA Awards’ ballot is based on voters writing their selections according to eligible criteria; artists and their representatives cannot submit them for consideration.
Anthony’s early material would also not have been eligible for categories like Single of the Year despite being released during the eligibility period. According to CMA’s criteria, tracks must have reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart, Hot Country Songs Chart, or Country Aircheck’s Chart for the first time within that eligibility period.
Since its debut on YouTube last month, “Rich Men North of Richmond” has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100 Chart. Further, the song has topped the Hot Country Songs Chart and debuted at No.45 on the Country Airplay Chart. Despite his ineligibility this year, Oliver Anthony could become a significant 2024 Country Music Awards nominee.
This year’s nominations are led by Lainey Wilson with nine, including Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year, and Album of the Year. Jelly Roll follows behind with five nominations for Single of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Musical Event of the Year, Music Video of the Year, and New Artist of the Year. Other artists with several nominations include Luke Combs, HARDY, Chris Stapleton, and Morgan Wallen.