According to Sonicbids, judges will be selecting music from active artists that are "cafe-friendly" and "fresh," among other qualities.

STARBUCKS LAUNCHES TALENT COMPETITION

Unsigned Bands in New England Area Will Compete in American Idol Style Contest
Now that they've got Paul McCartney's career back on track, Starbucks is ready to take on American Idol.

With their splashy promotional campaign for the ex-Beatle about to land his new album at the top of the charts, Starbucks is planning an unsigned band competition in the New England area, according to Digital Music News.

The Starbucks Music Makers Competition will loosely follow the structure of American Idol, by soliciting music through an online destination powered by Boston-based web site Sonicbids. The promotion includes an in-store awareness campaign to encourage aspiring bands to upload their materials online through the site. The contest phase will last 10 weeks, featuring in-store promotions as well as recommendation and music-focused community startup Goombah, which will allow fans to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on contestants through its radio platform, integrated into the Starbucks destination.

Then, towards the end of August and into September, semi-finalists will be invited to perform at various New England venues. Starbucks is now determining the location for the last round competition, and actively considering a spot in or around Harvard University.

The concept itself was originally created by the Boston-based NEMO Conference, which initially carried Starbucks as a sponsor for the contest. NEMO is still playing an integral role in the effort, though Starbucks is now spearheading the promotion. BMI is offering a prize package that includes airfare and accommodations to the upcoming Kauai Music Festival. Winners will also receive a $50 Starbucks gift card and two days of studio time at Q Division.

A MySpace destination has been created at www.myspace.com/musicmakerscompetition. According to Sonicbids, judges will be selecting music from active artists that are "cafe-friendly" and "fresh," among other qualities. Each upload will cost $10, though a $14.95 payment includes a three-month Sonicbids membership.

The contest will also feature a panel of music industry judges.

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