Unsigned Only is proud to announce our 2015 winners. Click here for a complete list. Congratulations to all our winners and a big thank you to everyone who entered this year!

UO 2016 is NOW OPEN for entry!

Welcome to Unsigned Only


Unsigned Only is a unique music competition designed for solo artists, bands, and singers all over the world who are not signed to a major label record company or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or imprints. The goal of Unsigned Only is to find an outstanding, talented performer: a band, singer, or solo artist...a newcomer or veteran...raw or polished - the “gem” that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package.

Conceived of and produced by the team who bring you the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only is a fresh and novel approach to other music competitions. Yes, it offers great prizes, recognition, exposure, and the chance to be heard by a group of judges consisting of high-profile recording artists and industry professionals. But, Unsigned Only also takes it a step further and puts the Grand Prize winner in direct, personal contact with the influential record label executives who are the ultimate decision-makers. For the first time ever, a music competition offers the Grand Prize winner the unprecedented opportunity to be mentored by a group of record company presidents, A&R reps, and more. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to directly network with the top echelon of record company professionals and get guidance, advice, feedback, and networking opportunities.

2015 Judges include: Aimee Mann; alt-J; Robert Smith (The Cure); Sinead O'Connor; Kem; Aaron Shust; Rosanne Cash; The Killers;  Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); Dustin Lynch; Rapsody; Jason Gray; Ray Wylie Hubbard; David Crowder; Lucero; Colt Ford; Frank Foster; Kool & The Gang; Kelly Price; Kyle Anderson (Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly); Shirley Halperin (Music Editor, Billboard and Hollywood Reporter); Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Lucy Jones (Deputy Editor, NME); Hardeep Phull (Music Critic, The New York Post); Michael Hann (Music Editor, The Guardian); and Chris Richards (Pop Music Critic, The Washington Post)

Mentors include: Pete Ganberg (Executive Vice President/Head of A&R, Atlantic Records); Mike Elizondo (Senior Vice President of A&R, Warner Bros. Records); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment and A&R, Capitol Music Group); Lenny Santiago (Vice President of A&R, Roc Nation); Taylor Lindsey (Director of A&R, Sony Music Nashville); Dino Paredes (Senior Vice President of A&R/GM, American Recordings); Katie Welle (Senior Vice President of A&R, RCA Records); Gary Paczosa (Vice President of A&R, Sugar Hill Records / Vanguard Records); and Allison Jones (Senior Vice President, Big Machine)

Screen Shot Mentors include: Michelle Bayer (Shelly Bay Music); Michelle Silverman (Modern Planet); Evan Stein (Experience Music Group); Velma Barkwell (East End Music Productions); Jen Taunton (Level Two Music); James Kempner (JMK Connections); Randy Powell (Kicksta Music Group); Carlos Muhammad (Egyptian Man Entertainment Group); Richard Kirstein (Resilient Music LLP); and Jessica Cole (Lyric House Publishing)

The Grand Prize Winner will be awarded $10,000 in cash (plus additional prizes) and one-on-one mentoring by an elite group of record company executives. First Place and Second Place winners will also be selected in each category. First Place winners in each category will receive $1,000 in addition to other prizes. Second Place winners will also receive prizes. The First Place winner in the Screen Shot category will also be mentored by a group of music execs who place songs in film, tv, ads, and video games. All prizes are listed on the Prize page. Winners for the 2015 competition will be announced in early September, 2015.

The 2016 Categories include:

  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Americana
  • Christian
  • Country
  • EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • Pop/Top 40
  • Screen Shot (original songs in all genres suited for placement in Film/TV/Advertising/Gaming)
  • Teen (for artists 18 years old and younger)
  • Vocal Performance 

NOTE: Unsigned Only accepts both original and cover songs in all categories, except Screen Shot, which requires original songs only. Entries in the Vocal Performance category will be based solely on the quality of the vocals. Unsigned Only accepts all genres of music in the Teen, Vocal Performance, and Screen Shot categories.




September 25, 2015

Unsigned Only has released a new promotional video.  Check it out here - https://youtu.be/Zr5rELbcDaY

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