When it comes to recognition and record sales, 2012 was an excellent year for electronic dance music. As we have pointed out, EDM was added as a category for multiple well-known awards over the past year – the VMAs and American Music Awards – and received a more prominent spot at the Grammys.

Catching this trend and running with it is the Soundplate Awards. Through U.K. website Soundplate.com, formerly known as UKFunky.net, fans and users, in the fall, had the opportunity to nominate performers, clubs, and labels over nine categories. Unlike the top of the charts performers at the VMAs, Grammys, and AMAs, those nominated for the Soundplate Awards are practically all underground.

Fans, again, have the opportunity to choose the winners for all nine categories. Voting is open until the end of December.

To talk about this new award for electronic dance performers, Crossfadr.com interviewed Soundplate.com’s founder and owner, Matt Benn, who started the site in 2008 after being behind some of the biggest student club nights in the U.K.

Why did you decide to start the Soundplate Awards?
Matt Benn: To be honest, it wasn’t my idea! Over the past year or so, we have had loads of tweets and messages from our readers asking us if there was awards for underground electronic music or telling us we should do some. Then, as the end of the year approached and we started thinking about special features looking back on 2012, it just seemed like a good idea and a nice way to show a bit of love for the artists who have been smashing it this year.

How did you decide on the nominees?
Matt Benn: The nominees were completely decided by the readers of Soundplate.com. We put up a form on the site where everyone could nominate their favorite artist/track for each category. We received an overwhelming amount of nominations, some artists campaigned for nominations but most people just nominated their favorites! The artists with the most nominations became finalists. We have been very strict to make sure only one vote/nomination could be registered per unique email address and IP address.

Why did you decide to stick with independent artists for the awards?
Matt Benn: We didn’t! The nominations were totally open – it just so happened that the artists nominated are mainly independent — this reflects our site and the type of music we feature and what our audience enjoy. I think the finalists really are a true representation of the music on our site and how good our audience’s taste is!

What do the artists win?
Matt Benn: We will be making some physical award trophies but most artists are more interested in the kudos of being an award winning act. There will be a big after awards feature on the site, where all the artists involved will get some more promotion, and we are hoping to throw a big party in January to celebrate the whole process. We are also in talks with a few sponsors who may be interested in donating some bits and pieces to the award winners!

Why nine categories?
Matt Benn: The number of categories was not the important thing to us; we just wanted to pick categories that would let both up and coming and established artists/DJs shine. We may amend the categories a little next year and maybe add one or two more..

If the awards for 2012 go well, do you plan to continue with the Soundplate Awards in the future?
Matt Benn: I think so. So far, the response has been incredible – the EDM community have really got behind them, and we have had a HUGE amount of votes come in. It’s also been great to see that almost all the finalists (even the established bigger names) have been tweeting and Facebooking about the awards. This kind of shows us we are doing something that they feel is important and worthwhile. It’s a nice thing to do, and although there are loads of music awards, end of year top 10s, etc., we feel that these really represent the true underground house scene in the UK and the fact that they are 100-percent publicly voted right from the nomination stage to the voting makes them stand out. The fact that they are publicly nominated and voted for means a lot to the artists involved too.

If so, what kinds of changes will be made, if any?
Matt Benn: It’s all about going bigger and better – We will look into getting the artists involved even more attention, we may also slightly tweak the categories/add a few new ones and perhaps look into sponsorship and a proper awards ceremony – who knows…

The Soundplate Awards reflect a trend seen in 2012 – greater recognition for electronic music. Do you think it’s time EDM receive recognition?
Matt Benn: 2012 has been an exceptional year for house and electronic music. I think the artists and DJs involved deserve all the attention they get. EDM is now one of the biggest musical genres worldwide, but sometimes it is not treated that way. Growth in the scene is important, so I am all for any positive attention it receives!

What would you like to see happen for EDM in 2013?
Matt Benn: More of the same. 2012 has been an incredible year for new talent and the music in general. I hope the scene and the music continues to get evolve and improve. I would also like to see more of the UK underground talent get exposure on a global level. It’s been great seeing DJs like Eats Everything, Disclousure, Jamie Jones, etc. break it on a global level — hopefully this trend will continue!