The Fan Vote on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was so Off-Base, Is Google to Blame?

Doobie Brothers by David Gans
Doobie Brothers - Photo by David Gans

Commentary by DONNA BALANCIA

It’s the first time in recent memory that the top fan votes did not give an indication as to who would get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s also the first time the online fan vote was hosted by Google.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 includes the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston and Nine Inch Nails, none of whom got anywhere near the top in fan votes. The highest number of fan votes went to Dave Matthews Band, which placed first with more than 1 million votes, followed by Pat Benatar, close behind with more than 800,000 tallies and neither made it into the class.

The Doobie Brothers, in third place, were the top fan vote-getters to make it into the Hall with 784,729 tallies.

Houston who is a member of the 2020 class, got 593,374 fan votes and fellow inductees Depeche Mode got 563,612, Nine Inch Nails received 380,869 fan votes, T. Rex got 365,290, and Notorious BIG secured 275,982 fan votes.

Rock Hall fan vote no indicator this year
Rock Hall fan vote was so off, is Google to blame?

While all the inductees are worthy and deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the numbers seem skewed. And yes, the fan vote doesn’t really count for very much in the overall voting tabulations. But the fan vote has been a steady indicator as to who would make it into the Hall.

This year, it was so off base, it’s difficult not to speculate that the new fan vote system — where fans were sent to a Google-hosted platform to click on their favorite musicians — could actually be the issue.

Read about The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of previous years here.

Rather than host the fan vote at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Website, the vote was hosted by Google this year. In previous years, the link for the fan vote went to the Rock Hall website. 

It is not known if the Rock Hall of Fame vote tabulators were able to monitor the number of hits the fan votes generated. It is also unknown whether the Rock Hall website and servers actually received the hits and data or if the data was maintained by Google and then shared with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

bottom half fan vote

The Dave Matthews fans and the Pat Benatar fans likely voted early and often to put their favorite musicians into the running, but as the fan vote was hosted by Google servers and not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website, who got all the hits?

Last year the top vote getters, Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks got a place in the class and the year before, Bon Jovi who also captured the top fan vote, made it into the class, along with other top fan vote-getters the Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits.

A Rock and Roll Hall of fame spokesperson was not available to comment on Wednesday.