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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.

2014 judges include: John Oates (Hall & Oates); Rosanne Cash; 3 Doors Down; Neon Trees; Black Francis (The Pixies); Ryan Bingham; David Crowder; Craig Morgan; Robert Smith (The Cure); Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); Of Monsters and Men; Aaron Shust; G. Love; Jason Gray; Alt-J; Dustin Lynch; The Mountain Goats; Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Christopher Weingarten (Senior Editor, Spin); and Chris Richards (Pop Music Critic, The Washington Post)

Mentors include a group of high-profile record company executives including: Monte Lipman (President of Universal Republic); Harve Pierre (President/Head of A&R, Bad Boy Records); Pete Ganbarg (Executive VP/Head of A&R, Atlantic Records); Shawn Holiday (Senior VP of A&R, RCA Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing); Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Label Group); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment and A&R/Capitol Music Group); Allison B. Jones (VP of A&R, Big Machine Label Group), Lisa Ramsey Perkins (Senior Director of A&R, Sony Music Nashville); Mio Vukovic (Senior VP of A&R/Head of Creative, Disney Music Group); Dre McKenzie (Head of A&R, G-Unit Records); and more to be announced.

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. Winners will be announced in July 2014.

Categories include:

  • AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
  • AC (Adult Contemporary)
  • Americana
  • Christian
  • Country
  • Folk/Singer-Songwriter
  • R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Rock
  • Pop/Top 40
  • Teen (for artists 18 years old and younger)
  • Vocal Performance

Judging Criteria: originality, songwriting, vocals, performance, and overall likeability.

So, if you're an artist and you don't write your own songs - or if you do write your own songs and want to show off your singing - this is the competition for you. All genres of music are accepted in both the Vocal Performance and Teen categories.