WHAT IS UNSIGNED ONLY?
Unsigned Only is a unique annual international music competition designed for solo artists, bands, and singers 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.
Unsigned Only is a fresh and novel approach to other music competitions. 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. 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.
WHAT IS THE SCREEN SHOT CATEGORY?
“Screen Shot” was a special promotion started in 2014 geared toward the placement of music in film, TV, advertising, and video games. Due to its popularity, “Screen Shot” is now a permanent category in Unsigned Only, offering the opportunity for artists to have their music heard by some of the top music execs who are looking to place music in various projects. Screen Shot accepts original songs only, no covers. First and Second Place Winners will participate in cash and prizes, as well as have their songs made available to almost 1,000 industry contacts who are looking for music for upcoming projects. The overall winner will get the opportunity to directly network with a group of execs who specialize in music placement. When entering the Screen Shot category, you must enter the same song in at least one additional category.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO ENTER?
The Extended Deadline is April 29, 2016. All entries must be postmarked/mailed on or before this date. If you are entering online, the deadline is midnight EST (US) on April 29, 2016. Unsigned Only reserves the right to extend the final deadline after this date.
WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES?
Categories include AAA (Album Adult Alternative), AC (Adult Contemporary), Americana, Christian, Country, EDM (Electronic Dance Music), Folk/Singer-Songwriter, R&B/Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop/Top 40, Vocal Performance, Teen and Screen Shot. Unsigned Only now accepts both original and cover songs in all categories except Screen Shot, which is original songs only.
WHAT ARE THE JUDGING CRITERIA?
Judging criteria includes originality, songwriting/arrangement, vocals, performance, and overall likeability. The Vocal Performance category will be judged solely on the vocals.
DOES MY SONG HAVE TO BE AN ORIGINAL SONG?
Unsigned Only accepts both original and cover songs in all categories except Screen Shot, which is original songs only.
CAN I ENTER MY SONG(S) FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE U.S.?
Yes, Unsigned Only accepts and welcomes entries from all over the world. Songs can be in any language.
ARE THERE ANY AGE REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER?
There are no age requirements. However, if the entrant is under 18 years of age, the signature of a parent or guardian is required on the entry form. Teens must be 18 or under on December 31 of current year's competition (e.g., 12/31/16) in order to enter the Teen category. If it is a band, then only the front person/lead singer must be 18 or younger on or before Dec 31. Please note: teens may enter any category they want; it is not required that they enter the Teen category only.
HOW MANY SONGS CAN I ENTER?
There is no limit to the number of songs you may enter. You may enter as many songs as you wish in as many different categories.
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE TO ENTERING MORE THAN ONE SONG?
Since Unsigned Only is a music competition and is looking for the complete package, it is often difficult to evaluate an artist based on one song. it is advisable to enter as many songs as you think accurately represents you overall as an artist.
WHAT DOES AAA SIGNIFY?
AAA stands for Triple A (Adult Album Alternative), which is a radio format. AAA playlists are much broader than the limited playlists of hit radio, and therefore depend on album tracks as well as on music released as singles. Stylistically, such stations may play rock, folk-rock, country-rock, modern rock, singer/songwriter, and blues music. Examples of artists in the AAA category include: Jewel, John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac, Jason Mraz, Ben Harper, Beck, The Jayhawks, Pete Yorn, Tori Amos, Coldplay, Train, etc.
IS THERE A MAXIMUM TIME LENGTH TO AN ENTERED SONG?
No, you may enter songs of any time length.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ENTER?
The entry fee is $35 per song/category.
DO YOU SEND OUT CONFIRMATION THAT AN ENTRY HAS BEEN RECEIVED?
All entrants will be notified by email that their entry has been received. If you have not received an email confirmation, please check your junk mailbox. If you do not receive any notification from Unsigned Only within a few weeks of sending out your entry, feel free to contact us to confirm receipt.
HOW AND WHEN WILL WINNERS BE NOTIFIED?
All entrants will receive notification of winners via email. Winners will be emailed and/or phoned. 2016 Winners will be announced in September 2016.
DOES UNSIGNED ONLY GIVE FEEDBACK?
No, feedback is not given to entrants.
AM I ALLOWED TO ENTER SONGS THAT HAVE BEEN ENTERED INTO OTHER COMPETITIONS?
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE ENTRY?
If you are using mail to send in your entry, please put all your songs on one CD or tape. It is more affordable for you and easier for us. Please make sure the names of the songs are clearly marked on the CD or tape case. If you are sending a CDR, please put a piece of masking tape on the spine of the case and write your name in black magic marker. Use a regular-sized case, not an ultra-thin one. Use the same procedure if you are sending in a cassette tape or video. Also, please make sure that the entrant's name is clearly marked directly on the CD, CDR, tape, or video. Finally, it will help us if you insert a track listing into the CD or tape case.
DOES UNSIGNED ONLY OWN MY SONGS ONCE I HAVE ENTERED?
No, absolutely not. The entrant retains ALL rights to the songs, and Unsigned Only does NOT own the song or any rights to it.
MAY I ENTER A SONG THAT I WROTE IF THE RIGHTS TO IT ARE OWNED BY A PUBLISHING COMPANY?
Yes, that is fine.
MAY I ENTER A SONG THAT HAS BEEN RELEASED BEFORE ON A CD?
CAN I SHOP A SONG TO A RECORD LABEL OR PUBLISHING COMPANY THAT HAS BEEN ENTERED INTO UNSIGNED ONLY?
Yes, of course. Since Unsigned Only has no ownership in any song entered, you may continue to do business as usual with any song entered into Unsigned Only.
IF I AM ENTERING FROM OUTSIDE THE US, WHAT TYPE OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
We cannot accept a personal check if your bank is from outside the USA. However, we do accept bank checks, international money orders, credit cards, or PayPal if you enter online. Payment must be in US funds. If you want to make a bank transfer or send funds with Western Union, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you want to pay with PayPal, please send the payment to email@example.com. Make sure you put the transaction ID on the entry form and the name of the entrant.
HOW CAN I ENTER ONLINE?
Unsigned Only offers multiple platforms for you to enter online including Unsigned Only's own platform, Sonicbids and Acceptd. Through the Unsigned Only website you can also enter using your Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or any other streaming page in lieu of uploading an mp3 as long as you make sure the songs you enter are on the page and listenable. Just go to our Enter Your Songs Now page and click the Online button.
DO THE JUDGES LISTEN TO ALL THE ENTRIES, OR IS THERE A SCREENING PROCESS?
There is a screening committee that listens to all entries and selects the group of finalists which are then sent to the judges. The judges then select the winners from this group of finalists. The screening process is carefully and respectfully implemented with the goal of selecting the best songs to send on to the judges.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ONLINE ENTRY PLATFORMS FOR UNSIGNED ONLY?
All online entry platforms charge the exact same fee to enter. All platforms accept credit cards and PayPal for payment. No matter which platform you enter, your songs are given the same amount of consideration in the competition. Sonicbids and Acceptd each offer free trial memberships when you enter Unsigned Only, and each platform has a list of services they offer for their members. For more information on these platforms, you can click on one of these links - http://www.sonicbids.com/. Of course, Unsigned Only also has its own online platform at http://www.unsignedonly.com/enter and you are welcome to enter directly through it. You can also enter your songs using your Facebook, Soundcloud, or Bandcamp page, which makes it so easy for you because you don't even need to upload your songs - Unsigned Only will go to your page and listen to them there.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MENTOR?
Unsigned Only has put together a group of record label executives in different genres who have all agreed to "mentor" the Grand Prize winner. From this group a minimum of five mentors will be selected and put in direct contact with the winner via meeting, Skype, or telephone. The method of contact may vary from mentor to mentor, depending on scheduling. Unsigned Only cannot guarantee a particular mentor's availability, so the group of mentors includes more than five individuals in order to accommodate any unforeseen changes in labels, personnel, or other circumstances preventing a mentor from participation. Mentoring must be completed by the end of the calendar year of the competition unless a mentor's schedule does not permit. Therefore, if the Grand Prize winner and mentor opt to meet in person, it must be done by the end of the calendar year; otherwise, the mentoring will be done by telephone or Skype.
WHAT IS FANDEMONIUM?
Fandemonium is an online public vote whereby fans, friends, etc. can vote for their favorite Unsigned Only finalist. The artist who receives the most votes is the Fandemonium winner and wins lots of cool prizes and bragging rights! This promotion is completely separate from the regular winners in the overall competition who are selected by the Unsigned Only judges.
WHAT IS THE TRIPLE PLAY SPECIAL PROMOTION?
Unsigned Only wil re-open entries after the deadline for three very special promotions, so if you miss the deadline and still want to enter, or if you want to enter more songs, you still have a chance to participate in this year's Unsigned Only Music Competition. The three different promotions will bring unique opportunities and benefits to entrants. Additionally, every entrant will also be entered into the overall competition and have the chance for their music to be heard by a high-profile panel of judges (see below). All entries must be original music for these promotions. You are welcome to enter any of these promotions or all of them. If you would like to re-enter a song you have already submitted you will need to choose a different category (e.g., Screen Shot or Vocal Performance).
Dates for 2016 Triple Play Promotion TBD
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