There’s a great deal of controversy over the efficacy of music competitions amongst musicians. Opinions like ‘we shouldn’t have to pay to play a gig’ or ‘we don’t want to be a part of a commercial competition’ are common. These opinions are perfectly valid, but here’s the other side of the coin which I’d urge anyone reading to consider before deciding that all music competitions are a waste of time.
Music competitions tend to provide a really valuable opportunity – they gather incredibly powerful and valuable music industry professionals in the same room as artists, provide musicians with real tough-love feedback, give artists an opportunity to perform in front of new fans, and gain a fair amount of publicity for the band’s performing. How much is that worth to your band?
When I judged at Live and Unsigned last year I was amazed by how few musicians took the chance to come and meet the judges or promote their music. I watched over 200 bands perform their song in a single day and not one artist made the effort to talk to the judging panel in the breaks. Even the bands who were playing amazing songs and were asked to come and keep in touch with the judges forgot to bring their demos or business cards – a huge opportunity missed.
Here’s what I think – if musicians fully exploited the opportunities provided by good music competitions like Live & Unsigned or the Unsigned Only music competition, they wouldn’t care about paying a small fee or making excuses, because the value provided by participating would have been so great.
If you want to meet music industry professionals, music bloggers, A&R people and the likes, go to music industry conferences, take part in music industry forums online, and get yourself involved in music competitions.
Remember, all music competitions from your local battle of the bands all the way up to the national music competitions are all just a bit of fun and a great opportunity to pick up your instrument and enjoy the experience of performing your music, ultimately that’s what it’s all about.
If you haven’t already, search on Google and find some relevant music competitions in your city and get in touch to take part. You can also start entering for Unsigned Only, which takes place in April this year.
Image Credit: BodgerBrooks