The Unsigned Music Awards


The Unsigned Music Awards are a new, televised award show specifically aimed at, as the title says, unsigned artists. The launch event last June at London’s ‘The Borderline’ saw founders Georgina Thomas, Ben Connor and Simon O’Kelly explain the voting process and the motivation behind the awards, with the strong belief that unsigned talent should be equally celebrated as the signed music.


The Unsigned Music Awards really aim to be an all-encompassing award ceremony, which the structure of their awards has reflected greatly. The Awards celebrate all genres of music, with categories specifically dedicated to award urban, electronic/dance, rock, country/folk, and blues/jazz music.


Another award is the “Youth Music Award,” as a result of the UMA’s partnership with Youth Music UK, supported by The National Foundation for Youth Music. This is an award for 11-17 year olds who show particular talent in the music industry at a young age, designed to recognise the next generation of the music industry. Other voting categories range from “Best EP,” and “Best Live Act” to the “Musicpreneur” Award, which is all about the artists’ creative marketing and brand development skills, on top of the music.  The awards also celebrate producers, engineers, and songwriters, as well as a couple of categories dedicated specifically to international artists.


Another partnership the UMAs have developed is with Universal Music’s Spinnup programme, which consists of A&R scouts looking to find unsigned talent to… well, sign, to Island Records! The UMAs will help the unsigned talent who are interested in the awards connect with these scouts, one of the scouts even being a judge for the awards.


Although the Unsigned Music Awards have A&R scouts out and about seeking musicians to put forward for an award, artists don’t have to be scouted to be considered. The way the awards work is that artists nominate themselves for an award through the “Apply” portal on the Unsigned Music Awards website, which requires them to send in links to their social media and music. When judging begins, artists then either “Advance” or “Drop” to the next round of voting, depending on how many judges send them through. Judges and A&Rs also have the option of “Fast track A&R,” where they can chose to send an artist through to the next round without having the approval of the other judges too, if they have such a strong belief in them.


Applications to apply have now been extended to 30th November, so all unsigned artists, get applying now HERE!