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Welcome to Unsigned Only

WHAT IS UNSIGNED ONLY?

If you are an unsigned artist and think you have what it takes to land a record deal, then you should enter the Unsigned Only Music Competition. Since Unsigned Only launched seven years ago, four Grand Prize winners have been signed to major label record deals, making Unsigned Only a leading source for transitioning new talent into major label record deals. However, getting a record deal isn't the only success Unsigned Only artists have achieved. Many winners have also secured licensing deals, publishing deals, better gigs, and more recognition after winning the competition. This could be your chance!

Unsigned Only is designed for solo artists, bands, and singers all over the world who are looking for exposure, recognition, and a chance to be noticed by industry professionals. 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. 

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.

Unsigned Only offers many categories/genres for you to enter, including Screen Shot which is geared toward getting your music into film, tv, video games, and other licensing opportunities. You can enter as many songs as you like in as many categories as you like. Since Unsigned Only is looking for an artist, it is advantageous to enter multiple songs so that the listening committee can know who you are as an artist.

2019 Judges include: Aimee Mann; Garth Hudson (Founding Member, The Band); Grouplove; Taj Mahal; Sanctus Real; BØRNS; Bow Wow; Robert Smith (The Cure); The Secret Sisters; Boney James; Gareth Emery; O.A.R.; Jack Ingram; Lionel Loueke; Simón Mejía (Bomba Estéreo); Oumou Sangaré; Janiva Magness; Fred Hersch; Francesca Battistelli; Frank Foster; Cedric Gervais; Aaron Shust; Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Metals); Ruthie Foster; Lucero; Mariza; Tinariwen; Craig Campbell; JD McPhereson; Carter Burwell; Zbigniew Preisner; Russ Landau; Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Anthony Decurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Mac Randall (Editor, JazzTimes); Marcos JuÁrez (Head of Latin Music, Pandora); David Sikorski (Senior Editor, EARMILK Media INC.); Jeff Zuchowski (Vice President, Artist Marketing & Industry Relations, Pandora); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Jed Gottlieb (Music & Theater Writer, Boston Herald); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Art Tipaldi (Editor, Blues Music Magazine); Nigel J. Farmer (Editor-In-Chief, Jazz In Europe); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); Miriam Di Nunzio (Arts Editor/Entertainment, Chicago Sun-Times); David Silbaugh (Talent Buyer, Summerfest); Angel Romero (Founder / Sr. Editor, World Music Central); Brandon Chitwood (Assistant Director, EDM Joy); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Management); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Music Nashville); Deborah Klein (JV Partner and Artist Manager, Primary Wave Entertainment); Chris Sampson (EVP, Programming Superfly Presents (Bonnaroo, Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival); Kristyn Ciani (Talent Buyer, C3 Presents (Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Shaky Knees)

2019 Screen Shot Judges include: Connie Farr (Music Supervisor / Creative Director, ThinkSync Music); Evan Stein (Owner, Experience Music Group); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Jessica Cole (Founder / President, Lyric House); Rachel Levy (SVP, Film Music at Universal Pictures); Sheryl Louis (Artist Manager, CSM Management)

Mentors have included: Dan Chertoff (VP A&R, RCA Records); Riggs Morales (VP of A&R and Artist Development, Atlantic Records); Nick Haussling (Senior Director A&R, Concord Music); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment); Zoe Young (VP of A&R, Epic Records); Doug Johnson (VP of A&R, Black River Entertainment); 2019 mentors will be announced soon.

The Grand Prize Winner will be awarded $20,000 (US) 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 and will be awarded 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 2019 competition will be announced by early September 2019.

Due to popular demand, Unsigned Only is expanding the competition to include five new categories to enter: Blues, Instrumental, Jazz, Latin, and World Music. This will make Unsigned Only accessible to more artists (including bands, duos, solo artists, etc).

The complete list of categories includes (*New): 

  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Americana
  • Blues *
  • Christian
  • Country
  • EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • Instrumental *
  • Jazz *
  • Latin Music *
  • Pop/Top 40
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • 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 
  • World Music *

NOTE: Unsigned Only accepts original and cover songs in all categories, except for the Screen Shot category which accepts 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.

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LAST CHANCE TO ENTER UNSIGNED ONLY 2019
June 5, 2019

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