Unsigned Only Music Competition, the premier music competition in the world for unsigned artists, is open to all artists (including solo artists, bands, and singers) who are not signed to a major record label (indie labels artists are eligible). Unsigned Only's goal is to give artists exposure, recognition, and validation for their artistry. A total of $150,000 (US) in prizes is shared among 38 winners, including a cash prize of $20,000 USD that is awarded to an overall Grand Prize winner.
Since Unsigned Only launched in 2012, many Grand Prize winners have been signed to record label deals, making Unsigned Only a leading source for transitioning new talent into major label record deals. Many more winners have also secured licensing deals, publishing deals, scholarships, better gigs, and more recognition after winning the competition. Previous entrants have included: Grammy nominee Ingrid Andress (Warner Nashville/Atlantic), Gabby Barrett (Warner Nashville), Gayle (Atlantic), Jordan St. Cyr (BEC/EMI), Tenille Arts (Reviver), Faouzia (Atlantic), Caitlyn Smith (Monument/Sony), Goodbye June (Interscope), Brett Young (Big Machine), Tyler Dial (Virgin), Grammy nominee Ari Lennox (Dreamville/Interscope), and more.
The list of categories includes: AAA (Adult Album Alternative); AC (Adult Contemporary); Americana; Blues; Christian; Country; EDM (Electronic Dance Music); Folk/Singer-Songwriter; Instrumental; Jazz; Latin; R&B/Hip-Hop; Rock; Pop/Top 40; Screen Shot; Teen; Vocal Performance; and World Music. The Screen Shot category accepts music that is appropriate for placement in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and more. Artists may enter as many songs or categories as they wish.
Judges also include: Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Jason Lipshutz (Music Editor, Billboard Magazine); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Christopher Scapelliti (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar Player); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Carl Loben (Editor-In-Chief, DJ Mag); Damian Fanelli (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar World); Jeff Zuchowski (VP, Artist Marketing/Industry Relations, Pandora); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); John Cameron (Editor-In-Chief, Selector); Angel Romero (Founder/Sr. Editor, World Music Central); Hilary Saunders (Managing Editor, No Depession); Art Tipaldi (Editor, Blues Music Magazine); Raoul Hernandez (Music Editor, Austin Chronicle); Brandon Chitwood (Founder/Writer, The EDM Scholar); Tom Lanham (Music Critic, The San Francisco Examiner); Mac Randall (Editor, JazzTimes); Paul Riario (Tech Editor, Guitar World Magazine); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Mgmt); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Leticia Ramirez (Sr. Latin Curator Programmer, Pandora); James Whitting (Partner, Paradigm Talent Agency); Angela Stefano (Music Journalist); Gaston Leone (Talent Buyer, Goldenvoice); Mark Garfield (Co-Director, Pop-Up Music UK Ltd.); Paul De Barros (Pop Music Editor / Jazz Writer, Seattle Times); Maura Johnston (Music Critic, Boston Globe); Emmanuel LeGrand (Editor, Creative Industries Newsletter); Alison Bonaguro (Freelance country music journalist): Dylan Berry (Owner, SmashHaus); Adam Weitz (Sr. Director, Film/Trailers/Sampling, AMP Music); Mike Locke (VP, Creative Synchronization and Marketing, Atlas Music); Debra Delshad (Sr. Director, Synchronization and Licensing, Angry Mob Music); Mike Torres (A&R, Position Music); and Daryl Berg (VP of Music Strategies / Licensing, Hallmark, Crown Media)