Made in New York: Leading the Way in Online Music Competitions
For a long time the internet was the bane of the music industry, and for years it struggled to find effective ways to harness it. Upcoming musicians have particularly found it difficult to raise their profile in the digital age. The chances of creating a platform from where they can try to break into the industry have become smaller as the field becomes more crowded. Yet the future is looking bright and the Made in New York Jazz Competition, the first online jazz competition, is leading the way in giving artists the exposure they need to launch their careers without having to pay a heavy financial price. Speaking to E Jazz News in 2013, founder Misha Brovkin spoke of the need to use the internet to create awareness for jazz musicians. “There are many great international jazz talents who we may never know of because of their lack of access to the world jazz stage. Our competition is much different for it is conducted on the internet where artists do not have to pay hundreds of dollars for plane tickets and other expenses.” The first winner of the inaugural competition in 2014 was Anita Vitale who received wide recognition and publicity in her native Italy. Last year Portuguese accordionist João Barradas picked up the Grand Prize. The big draw of the competition is that it allows musicians from across the world to compete online and have their music heard unlike most competitions, which require the artists to be present from day one.
Other competitions are following in Made in New York's footsteps. This year the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del, has created an online competition that will allow a regional talent to fill one of the spots. According to At The Shore, the musicians will go through three rounds with fans voting for their favorite artists. The final five artists will then play in front of a panel of judges. Like Made in New York Jazz Competition the festival is aiming to bring attention to musicians who are struggling to raise their profile. Music competitions have of course become a mainstay of popular culture in recent years. Talents shows such as American Idol, X Factor, and The Voice have all successfully used the competition format to create reality TV. Unlike other music competitions the reward for taking part was a significant rise in the profile of the artist. The finale of Season 2 of American Idol was watched by 21.74 million. The televised competitions also had the benefit of increasing awareness through other platforms. For example, Britain’s Got Talent constantly keeps awareness of the show active through joining up with companies such as online gaming site Betfair Slots, creating officially licensed Britain’s Got Talent games to appeal to the fans of the reality competition. This ensures that it always has an online presence. While online competitions can’t compete with the advertising power of the commercial competitions they are making a positive dent.
The internet which was for a long time seen as a curse for upcoming musicians is now being used as an effective platform to launch their careers. Of course, compared to the big reality competitions an online competition is still in it's beginning stage. But for artists participating in competitions such as Made in New York Jazz Competition, it can be game-changing stage!