IDEA & OPPORTUNITY > Online talent show: Fans call the shots

Aspiring musicians and filmmakers now have yet another new venue to vie for their big breaks. Part YouTube, part American Idol, OurStage provides a forum for artists to audition their talent directly to prospective fans, who vote for their favourites through a patent-pending judging process. Winners get more than just recognition-they can also win cash and other cool prizes.

Here's how it works: artists upload their songs or films and enter them into the appropriate channel competition. There are channels for just about every category or style, such as Acoustic, Indie/Alternative, Electronic, Metal, Solo Performance and Reggae for music and Animation, Comedy, Short Films, Trailers, Documentaries and so forth for films and videos. Fans judge works side by side, casting votes for their favourites as they go along. At the end of the month, the top 20 and top 10 in each channel go head-to-head, followed by a site-wide contest to pick the Grand Prize winner for that month. Channel winners get American Express gift cards in the amount of USD 100. And the Grand Prize winner receives a whopping USD 5,000. There are also special prizes and awards given by sponsors, which can be anything from books and other merchandise to one-on-one sessions with industry professionals or opening gigs for established bands.

Funded in part by partnerships with companies such as Paste Magazine and other supporters of independent artists, OurStage is poised to revolutionize up and coming film and music scenes. What's more, putting the power in the hands of the people who are actually purchasing CDs, concert tickets, movie passes and DVDs is a smart move for the industry. Entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry may want to keep an eye on this one as a meter for the everchanging music and movie tastes of the their target audiences. However, the bigger picture question here might be what other industries could benefit from a little healthy competition where consumers pick the winners.



Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen
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