Key Points:

Vodafone will change the nomination system for the People's Choice Award at next year's music awards after a little known Dunedin band forged their way to the top of the nominee list.

Student band The DFenders, whose music has never featured in the New Zealand charts, are leading nominations for the award after campaigning vigorously, pleading for fans to vote repeatedly for them.

Vodafone music manager Morgan Donoghue admitted his team had made a mistake opening the nominations to all and sundry and they would look to change the system to prevent a similar upset next year.

"It's not what we were aiming for at all," he said of the result. "What we wanted to do was open it up. We may have gone too far that way. It's a little sad people have abused it."

The DFenders bandmember Adon Moskal said his band had lobbied fans, but denied they had manipulated the system.

"No one is more surprised than us," he said of their lead.

Nothing could be done to change the system this year but Mr Donoghue said they would place stricter controls next year. He said he appreciated the band's initiative but did not think it was what fans really wanted.

Voting for nominees closes on Monday, with the top five bands or artists becoming official finalists.

The People's Choice Award will be presented at the New Zealand Music Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland, on October 8.

LEADING THE WAY

Top five nominees

1. The DFenders.

2. Nesian Mystik.

3. Antiform.

4. Horsemen Family.

5. Kora.