Please take a look at 'REGISTER'. There you'll find all information necessary.
What's there to win? ▼
A lot! Please take a look at 'Awards'! Beyond the opportunity of up to 5 live shows, industry contacts, helpful jury feedback and great experiences, all bands have the opportunity to gain up to $250 in cash per show through their pre-sales. When the venues are crowded, the same goes for your cash box. Additionally, all our bands get our artist support package (from 2018 onwards) with valuable coupons and free services. The content of our support package has a total value of up to $500.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to benefit from all our prizes & awards worth $250,000 (for all SPH Nations) such as the best artist awards, studio recordings, festival slots, equipment, amps, speakers, gigs, instruments, microphones, in-ears, CD pressings, worldwide online sales, music and lyric videos, shootings, promotions, sampler slots, vouchers, merchandise, endorsements, workshops, design packages and much more!
In which cities does the SPH Band Contest take place? ▼
The number of venues all over the US increases constantly and we give our best to give you as many stages as possible. Please have a look at 'Venues'. Each month, new cities are added. We are always happy to learn about new locations near you. Robin Werner (firstname.lastname@example.org) is happy to receive your emails on this!
Do you pay attention to which music genres are performing on each showcase? ▼
We try to create a cool and balanced program for each showcase, but we can't make promises on that beforehand. Great musical variety is part of our concept.
We don't have a lot of band experience, can we still participate? ▼
Yes, of course! Particularly because you are a newcomer band, this is the perfect opportunity for you to present yourself in front of a big crowd with a critical audience to build up your own fanbase. Our jury is happy to give helpful feedback, improve your songwriting and your live performances.
I am a solo-artist. Can I still participate? ▼
Yes, of course! We are also very happy about solo-artists, singer/songwriter, etc.!
We are signed by a small indie-label. Are we still able to participate? ▼
Yes, you are. We're trying to give a platform to as many musicians as possible.
Another band that we are friends with is also participating. Can we perform on the same day? ▼
We can't promise that beforehand, but of course we'll give our best to fulfill your wishes. If it doesn't work out, it might be due to the availability of individual band members. From our side, it should be fine. Please ask your band manager soon after your application.
I play in 2 bands. Can both bands participate? ▼
That is allowed, unless more than half of the band members play in both bands. Repeated participation in following seasons is also allowed.
Why are cover bands eliminated from participation? ▼
We want to support the independency and creativity of artists.
Do we have to send you a song beforehand? ▼
No, everybody can participate, even smaller bands without their first recordings. We're not a 'song contest', we are a LIVE contest. We want to give the same opportunities to all our bands. We think this is fair, since not every band has the means to produce their first songs beforehand.
Why should we participate specifically at the SPH Band Contest? ▼
If you take a closer look at our homepage you will see that we founded the SPH Band Contest out of an idealistic nature and with specific values. We are musicians and we wanted to create something different in comparison to other strongly commercialized talent contests. This is shown by our prizes & awards, how bands are being treated, the personal supervision, the fairness and the transparency of the contest. We work hard to create the best band experience we possibly can.
One example is that you can gain $250 for your band each show, if you bring your fans - after all they are coming because of you! It's not without reason that we have an enormous increase in participating bands each year. We know (from our own experience as band members) what others are doing wrong and are trying to improve exactly these things. But of course we are not perfect. We want to achieve that your band gets the best possible supervision, atmosphere, team spirit, support opportunities and the most awards, feedbacks and performance experiences. For this, we give our very best!
Is there a limitation regarding the music genre? ▼
No! Every age, language, instrument and genre is welcome!
Section: Your Shows
Who decides which bands get into the next round? ▼
The decision is made to 50% by the audience and to 50% by a jury which is made up of experienced show managers, partners in the music business, venue owners & operators, festival and club organizers, sound engineers, bookers, label representatives and many more. The following criteria will be evaluated by the jury: A) composition / arrangement / songwriting, B) vocals / musical skills / interplay, C) presentation / show.
How long should our set be? ▼
20 - 30 minutes (depends on the number of artists per show).
Is there a sponsored backline at the SPH Band Contest shows? ▼
No, in our case there is no backline sponsored. We have thought about it in the past years, since it is more comfortable for you. We've decided that the backline is organized by the participating bands. We want you to learn to work with one another, to organize and to experience all aspects that belong to a concert (the backline is usually shared among bands during 'normal' concerts).
Of course we will help you with the organizational aspects! We rather want to invest the enormous costs that would come with sponsoring all backlines on all our shows (several backline sets consisting of 2 guitar cabinets, bass speakers and drum sets respectively, as well as packing the gear up in a van and traveling to concerts in many cities) in cool cooperations and prizes for you. It's a win-win situation! This procedure has been successful over past 10 years and if all bands are cooperating with one another, the organization of the backline is a piece of cake.
Can we also play instrumental tracks? ▼
Of course! Whether single tracks or pure instrumental bands, everyone is welcome!
How does the audience voting procedure (50% of the decision) take place? ▼
There is no chaotic and inaccurate showing off hands. Every guest gets a voting ballot at the entrance. Then, every guests needs to make a first vote (2 points) and a second vote (1 point). Fans have to mark 2 different bands, otherwise the ballot is invalid. We believe that this procedure is the fairest (in combination with the jury). Since season 2015, we use an innovative and fast online voting tool for smartphones, which is used during most of our shows. We are proud that we were the first on the live market using an online voting system.
Is there a guest list? ▼
At our concerts, there are no guest lists for roadies or the crew. The press, photographers and representatives of the music business (label, producers, bookers, organizers) can get a spot on the guest list. In this case, please contact your band manager beforehand so that he can reserve a spot for this person on the guest list.
Is there a review of the show? ▼
Yes, the show manager of the respective event writes a review about the show in which the bands and the exact score is being published. Of course you are free to use this review for promotional purposes.
Is there a minimum ticket quantity? ▼
No. We will send you a certain number of tickets and you will sell as many of them as you can and want to. The remaining ones you will bring to your show (these you don't need to pay) along with the money of the sold tickets. Of course you will help to maintain all our performance possibilities with each sold ticket. For this we are thankful every year! Nevertheless, you have the possibility to earn a $250 band salary each show for your commitment during the ticket pre-sales. So, it's definitely worth it to sell tickets, since we are sharing with you.
Can we bring our own sound engineers to the show? ▼
From the area finals (third round) onwards and after consultation with us, it is possible for you to bring your own sound engineer. However, we always need to talk to the venues beforehand so we cannot be 100% sure.
Will we be involved in the earnings of the shows? ▼
It is clear to us that the success of the show not only on a musical note but also the atmosphere and the financials depend on your contribution and our contribution to the same extend. We want to appreciate that, which is why you can earn up to $250 in cash for your band for each show. More infos here.
What is the 'wildcard'? ▼
In general, the audience and the jury decide on a 50/50 ratio about the moving on of bands into the next round. Sometimes, when there is a band which we like but that doesn't get into the next round, we hand out a 'wildcard' to this band. This wildcard is given either during the show or directly after and gives the band a second chance. Through this, we want to give high quality bands the chance that many fans vote in their favor the second time around.
Why is there no age limit at the SPH Band Contest? ▼
We decided some years ago to cancel the age limit of 27 which was in place until then. We thought about this a lot and want to explain to you why we came to this decision. Again and again, we had ambitious, newly founded bands who were looking for performance opportunities and wanted to participate in our contest, but couldn't due to the age limit.
This made us think, since we characterize the word 'newcomer band' not through age, but more through the maturity of a band. Every relatively new band which neither has a big record deal nor the necessary support it needs can participate in the SPH Band Contest. Bands can use these performance opportunities to grow musically, gain experience and make contacts.
Since we have always wanted to give as many bands from as many different genres as possible a platform, we are of the opinion that this should not be restricted through an age limit. More importantly, all participating bands should live our contest values: community spirit, teamwork and friendship.
If the younger bands can learn something from the 'older' musicians (and the other way around), it's a win-win situation for all participants and complies with our philosophy: to support mutual learning, the organization of great concerts, communication between bands and gathering of experience for ALL ambitious bands.
Why don't you charge a participation fee? ▼
We do everything to support our bands. We try to give them back as much as possible as they are the center of our attention. The music scene suffers from the exploitation of musicians for the profit of certain promoters or producers. To stop that and to give any band the chance to play live in dope venues in front of an amazing crowd we do not charge the bands for anything. We do not want to create any boundaries. Some of our main values are community spirit, cooperativeness, friendship. If you share these with us you are very welcome to join in and enjoy a great time at SPH Band Contest shows.
What does SPH even mean? ▼
We get this question asked many times and always have to think back to our 'early days'. Originally, back in 2008, SPH was an abbreviation for 'Ska / Punk / Hardcore'. Those were the music genres with which our founders grew up, which shaped us and which were initially the target group of our support package. In the meantime, it is way more than that, and we have opened up for all genres and music styles. So today, it is rather a brand name. For us, every musician, regardless their age and genre, is an appreciated guest and participant.
WHY IS THERE A SMALL DEPOSIT? ▼
Your band's deposit for playing live is only $25. It comes back multiple times: First, we’ll confirm a gig for you. If you’re successful, you’ll play up to 5 live gigs with us. For each show you’ll earn up to $250 in cash depending on your pre-sales. You’ll benefit from our pool of prizes, awards & workshops worth $250,000. And there’s still more to that: Our best artist awards, feedback rounds, live experiences, industry contacts and our support package with valuable coupons and free services.
In the past (when there was no deposit), some bands booked their slot with us and then didn’t show up. That’s not our idea of working together. It wasn’t a good experience for anyone: Not for us, not for the venue, not for the other bands playing that night. And especially not for the bands, that couldn’t get a slot, because it was already filled and reserved for a band that didn’t show up! For us, the deposit is also a statement that you’re willing to take our shows seriously and that you respect our idealistic values of supporting each other and the live music scene. We promise: If you see yourself as a part of the project, you’ll earn the deposit back multiple times!