UncharTED 2009 finals

People queue to get in at Oxford Art Factory

People queue to get in at Oxford Art Factory

I photographed the uncharTED Grand Final for Peer Group at Oxford Art Factory last Thursday.

UncharTED is a band competition sponsored by Tooheys Extra Dry that offers the opportunity to play Splendour in the Grass along with a $25,000 development package. The next round offers a spot on the Big Day Out bill.

The bands that made it to the final were Foxx on Fire, The Deer Republic and Hot Little Hands.

The winner was The Deer Republic, a pop-rock act from Sydney.

To finish the night, Kram performed show the young bands how this rock’n’roll thing is really done.

Hot Little Hands

Hot Little Hands

Hot Little Hands

Hot Little Hands

Mic and Andy

Mic and Andy

Felix and Demi

Felix and Demi

The Deer Republic

The Deer Republic

The Deer Republic

The Deer Republic

Excited Deer Republic fans

Excited Deer Republic fans

The Deer Republic

The Deer Republic

Foxx on Fire

Foxx on Fire

Foxx on Fire

Foxx on Fire

Foxx on Fire

Foxx on Fire

Winning band The Deer Republic with Rosso

Winning band The Deer Republic with Rosso

Kram

Kram

UncharTED has been around for 3 years now, and is part of a trend for big brands to sponsor music talent competitions.

You’ve got Virgin Mobile sponsoring Garage to V, Vitamin Water sponsoring the National Campus Band Competition, Jack Daniels sponsoring the JD Set, the discontinued Nokia Be Heard competition, Jagermeister sponsoring Jager Uprising.

Some might say it’s unfortunate the way corporations and advertisers are piggy backing on the music scene, aligning their brands with the cool, youthful and partying image.

‘Sell outs’ used to be one of the worst criticisms you could label a band with.

But in an era where no one’s making money selling music, i think it’s a positive thing there’s money being spent promoting new artists. It’s a good move putting money into young bands, not just sponsoring safe established acts.

And it’s not just the bands it supports, it’s the whole scene; sound people, lighting techs, venues, music press, designers, photographers, videographers, etc…

The only problem is, with so many different competitions, the quality of the acts diminishes.

There’s so many uninspiring, middle of the road acts out there – do we really need to give them any more attention than they deserve?

4 thoughts

  1. Tell us what you really think D… :)

    I agree with you on this. I DO think it is good that businesses who DO still make money (!!) and have healthy sized marketing budgets are willing to spend a part of that cash on incentives such as this. HOWEVER, i agree with your issue with the mediocre bands who often make their way to the top of said competitions. I am not commenting specifically on THIS one, but I have been involved in judging a few similar competitions in the last few years and am seriously considering not doing it anymore, having been SO disapointed with either (a) the bands that made it through to the finals in the firts place or (b) the bands the other judges ended up voting for and therefor who ended up winning. It just makes me depressed.

    But I guess the good thing for all involved (both the good bands and the shit ones) is that often they are proivded with a well-promoted gig with lots of kids there to see them play / possibly flights/accom to cities they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to play yet etc… so yay for that! We just have to NOW work out how to get the extremelty AWESOME bands (a) into the comp in th first place and (b) get them into the finals. but perhaps there is your problem… many of those bands actually WOULDN’T enter competitions like that… maybe we will see that trend change in the coming years…

    ok bye!

  2. A good perspective you have there.

    I think in the past some of the ‘incentives’ on offer have actually scared off decent bands from entering.

    Things like a record deal (which is no longer part of the prize package) often aren’t what an upcoming band wants.

    If they’re good enough to get signed, they’ll do it on their own terms and merits, not because it’s won in a competition.

    Also, i tend to think the winners of panel voted competitions are often better than popular voted ones.

    Publicly voted competitions hold appeal for organisers though because it means much more reach and pageviews, but often at the expense of a quality result.

    Still – a spot on the bill at Splendour, The Big Day Out or V Festival is a major draw for any band. So that ought to mobilise good talent.

  3. Also, with the proliferation of comps, the shelf life on a win seems quite short … It’s very hard to remember who won last year’s comps. Little Red won Garage2V (I think?) but I could not tell you won Uncharted or any of the other ones …

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