FUTURE SOUND OF NOTTINGHAM

—————— FUTURE SOUND OF NOTTINGHAM 2017 ————————–

Information on the 2017 Future Sound of Nottingham will first be announced (as always) on the Nusic New Music Podcast.

Followed by announcements on our social media – FeelTheNusic on facebook, twitter and youtube.

#FSN2017

—————— FUTURE SOUND OF NOTTINGHAM 2016 ————————–

Information on the 2016 Future Sound of Nottingham will first be announced (as always) on the Nusic New Music Podcast.

Followed by announcements on our social media – FeelTheNusic on facebook, twitter and youtube.

#FSN2016

Supported by Nottinghamshire Music Hub and Nottingham Music Hub.

GENERAL UPDATES:

The Future Sound of Nottingham 2016 is up and running, with the chance to play the Rock City main stage up for grabs as usual, not to mention the Splendour main stage too! As always, 24/7 365 days a year, our role in curating the Nottingham side of things at Splendour is transparently outlined in our FAQs (no 34) HERE.

LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW WITH THE #FSN2016 CHAMPS SUPER FURNITURE HERE.

KEY DETAILS ANNOUNCED:

630pm 190616 – The #FSN2016 final took place at Rock City.

11am 060616 – The #FSN2016 final judges have been announced on the New Music Podcast.

11am 230516 – The finalists for #FSN2016 have been announced on the New Music Podcast.

11pm 090516 – The #FSN2016 R2 public vote has begun. Go to the NMP to vote and hear the Semi-Finalists.

11am 090516 – The New Music Podcast has announced the #FSN2016 Semi-Finalists and two auto-finalists. The vote goes live 11pm tonight!

11am 250416 – The New Music Podcast has announced the Round One judges, and further R1 details. This is the show you need to listen to to find out how to enter.

11am 230416 – In partnership with Nottingham Music Hub and Nottinghamshire Music Hub, an FSN special Nusic Academy Workshop took place at Nottingham Academy.

11am 110416 – The New Music Podcast has announced entry details for Round One.

11am 110416 – Round One Rules are live. They can be found at the bottom of this page.

11am 280316 – The New Music Podcast contains the details on the first way to enter this years FSN – #SpreadTheLove2016, listen here, details here.

11am 140316 – The New Music Podcast contains the first mentions of this years FSN. Including details on a FSN related #NusicAcademy Workshop, deets HERE.

We recommend checking out FAQ34 in our FAQs HERE.

DETAILS ON PREVIOUS FSNs:

FSN 2015
FSN 2014
FSN 2013
FSN 2012
Scroll down the FSN tab for 2011, 2010 and 2009

FINAL (ROUND THREE) RULES – PUBLIC & INDUSTRY EXPERT VOTE

The voting process is quite complicated, there is method in the apparent madness though! Every rule is about trying to create as epic an experience as possible for the musicians taking part, hopefully the best gig of their lives, one that might even change their lives.

It’s a mixed voting system, half being audience vote, half being ‘expert’ Judges vote. This is an attempt to get the best of both worlds in terms of fairness and also to create a system that helps stimulate a vibrant gig. We appreciate there is a risk we simply end up pissing off everybody.

HAVING JUDGES:

– Addresses the natural numerical advantage of bands with public votes, and so re-balances things a bit towards the solo artists.
– Makes sure raw talent, yet to build any following, is recognised.
– Gives you a chance to perform in front of well connected, music industry humans, who can help your career. On the Nottingham level this Judging Panel is huge, pretty much every major player in Nottingham is represented {the one exception is Dean Jackson from the BBC, who prefers to stay neutral (as we do, so we empathise)}. This in itself is a big opportunity regardless of the result. For example in both 2013 and 2012 FSN artists have so impressed the judge representing Splendour, that they have booked them for Splendour even though they didn’t win (Sam Jones in 2013, Indiana in 2012). In 2014 two of the six finalists secured management from judges, off the back of their performance.

Those Judges are:

  • Find out on the New Music Podcast HERE.

Our brief is to curate a judging panel full of the Nottingham residents most able to help our finalists, we also seek to ensure demographic diversity too. Our brief is to find:

– Individuals who have a significant audience (which we define as thousands to tens of thousands) plus the freedom to give exposure to local musicians. E.g Drowned in Sound’s Dom G, LeftLion’s Ali E, Simon Wilson at The Post etc.
– Individuals with significant professional music industry connections, such that could lead to high profile gigs or even management/ label introductions. E.g. Anton Lockwood & Craig Chettle, who have both worked full time in the music and media industries for two decades, over which time they’ve accumulated a large number of contacts in live, media, labels, management etc.
– The majority of our judges will have both.

AUDIENCE VOTE:

– Helps mobilise your fans. Knowing they can make a difference encourages friends, family and fans to come down and support, in the process creating a vibey crowd and better atmosphere for all. That’s really key, it’s a better vibe for everyone.
– Ensures that talent talented enough to have built a following gets recognised. It is ironic when people moan, ‘they only won because they have more fans than us’, why do they have fans? A significant following implies you’re creating music that is connecting with people, our ‘no covers’ policy ensures good looks and the ability to play some one else’s three chord hit is not enough.

AUDIENCE VOTE METHOD – Three announced ‘audience votes’ throughout the night via a decibel-o-meter on stage taking precise Db readings of audience volume level (from the same location). The thinking:

– A decibel-o-meter on the stage encourages the crowd to come to front and get boisterous, not awkwardly stand quietly at the back like a school disco.
– Taking three ‘audience votes’ throughout the night ensures fans of all artists are encouraged to watch all artists thereby creating a better atmosphere for all.
– Having three specific announced ‘audience vote moments’ means everyone will know when the vote is being taken and when to make extra noise for their fav. It also means at all other times they can get behind all artists not worrying about being seen as ‘unfaithful’! Creating a better atmosphere for all.

We will announce these audience vote moments on stage, will then read out each artist name and measure the noise from the crowd for each artist. This will be done near the start at 7pm, near the last artist and one time at random.

The Judges will be marking you out of ten on these criteria:

– Stage Presence – swagger, presence, engagement with audience.
– Raw Talent – as perceived by the individual judge.
– Quality of Performance – in time, in tune, hitting notes etc
– Quality of Songs – as perceived by the individual judge.
– Splendour Suitability – would you ‘work’ opening the main stage?

Eight judges scoring you out of 50, the top score and bottom score will be removed, the remaining six will form a score out of 300. We remove the top and bottom score to help ensure independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its IMPOSSIBLE to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites. By excluding the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 50 out of 50 given to the act who features one of the judge’s neighbour’s sons girlfriends does not bias the result. By excluding the bottom vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 0 out of 50 given to the act who features the bully of one the judge’s kids at school does not bias the result.

Each of the three ‘audience votes’ will be out of 100, scores will be allocated like this:

Highest Db – 100
2nd – 90
3rd – 80
4th – 70
5th – 60
6th – 50

After three votes we will have a second score out of 300 giving each artist an overall score out of 600. Needless to say the highest score out of 600 wins that main stage slot at Splendour.

Complicated yes, but all aimed at creating the best possible atmosphere for all as well as seek a winning artist talented enough to win the love of the ‘experts’ and the people.

Should there be a tie. The artist with the highest overall ‘Splendour Suitability’ score from the judges, becomes the FSN Champ.

FINALLY… Performance rules:

– Sets must be no longer than 15 minutes.
– Sets may comprise no more than 3 songs.
– No covers.
– Samples must not be so long they sound like covers, our broad rule of thumb is that a sample longer than four bars starts to raise eyebrows, longer than eight bars and we may well feel unable to allow it. Obviously the sample can be looped ad finitum. Official HipHop term that.
– Be nice.

PRE FINAL PROMOTION

We try hard to secure as many unique promo opportunities as possible for the finalists, in fact it’s one of the big ‘music helping’ features of FSN – musicians get a big boost in profile from all the promo that comes with making the final. We treat all artists equally and offer all opportunities to all artists, whether they take up those opportunities or not is obvs up to them. In other words any significant differences you observe in artist promo levels will be down to the artists level of proactivity and/ or their strategy, some artists don’t like doing promo, they don’t feel it’s part of their brand. The other ‘extenuating circumstance’ is musicians from parts of Notts that have their own ultra local media outlets, places like Mansfield that have their own paper and radio station. Artists from those areas may secure extra promo from their ‘home support’,  student musicians may secure support from student media etc.

SEMI FINAL (ROUND TWO) RULES – THE PUBLIC VOTE

In contrast to Round One which was an expert Judges vote, the Semi-Finals are a public vote. We deliberately mix things up, an expert vote ensures new talent yet to build a fanbase gets a chance (as well as solo artists who often miss out in public votes simply due to there being less of them in the ‘musical entity’), a public vote ensures local musicians who have been good enough to build a fanbase get to acknowledge that, additionally the public vote is accompanied by a dedicated version of the NEW MUSIC PODCAST offering the public an easy way to hear all the Semi-Finalists.

The public vote is open from 11pm Monday 9th May through to 11.59pm Wednesday 18th May (2016). It will be an ‘open’ vote (in that you can see who is winning) until 11.59pm Tuesday 17th May 2016. At this point we intend to (technology allowing) make the vote private, this will drive audience to the NEW MUSIC PODCAST (giving more exposure, to more musicians) where we will announce the results exclusively, from 11am on Monday 23rd May 2016.

Re our musical inclusivity rules:

– Solo artists. At least two solo artists must make the final six. This would normally mean if four bands (definition = non session musician featuring musical combos of two or more) take the top four places in the public vote then the 3rd and 4th place bands will be replaced by the highest placed solo artists.

But.

The Indi Rule means two artists are already in the final, and this year they both happen to be solo artists (as defined below). Therefore the twelve artists in the Semi-Final vote will be competing for four places, with no ‘solo artist rule’ in play.

Our definition of a band (above) does allow for solo artists who are not playing solo. An act with more than one person playing on stage that is named after the lead singer (who writes their songs without contribution from any session musicians they play with), and in which the other musicians are effectively session musicians (and so are significantly less motivated to put the effort in to secure a Final place), is deemed a solo act. We’ll be direct with you, this is probably the trickiest grey area to address in the whole of FSN. Over the years we have found this definition to be the best compromise, we know it’s not perfect.

– Musical Diversity. Our enhanced musical diversity rules (which you can read about in full in the Round One rules) have proved effective in the best way possible, they have encouraged a doubling in entries from the targetted genres, but then weren’t actually necessary as two artists from the targetted genres topped the expert Judges vote, and so go straight through to the final via the Indi Rule. An additional three artists from the targetted genres made it in to the Round Two Public Vote, again of their own right, with no need for the musical diversity rule.

Re our ‘new talent gets the opportunity’ rules:

– Previous FSN Finalists – One artist who has already played the Rock City FSN Final, has already made it through to the Final. FYI another artist who played a pre Rock City Final, is also in the mix.

– Artist who have already played Splendour – None of the artists in the Semi Finals have played Splendour before.

BREAKING NEWS

– No awkward ties this year, mean there are twelve artists in the Semi Finals, with four places up for grabs to join the two artists already in the Final at Rock City on June 19th.

– Transparency declarations: No member of any of the Semi Finalists are current interns members of the #NusicVolunteers team. One member, of one band, is a Confetti student who has filmed on one of our Future Sessions in this academic year. One member, of one band, is a Confetti student who has recorded audio on one of our Future Sessions in this academic year.

ROUND ONE MAIN RULES and JUDGING PROCESS:

– All valid #FSN2016 entries so far are listed HERE.

STOP PRESS 2300 010516 – 25 Hours to go! 

​​​​​With just over 24 hours to go, for those unable to listen to the New Music Podcast, here are the entry details:

– Pick your strongest, most approriate, original track (no covers) and email it to us, one track only, along with confirmation of your ‘Nottingham-ness’ and that you are available to play on June 19th (Rock City Final) & July 23rd (Splendour).

– For full rules PLUS definition of NOTTINGHAMNESS look below at the rules. As Nusic is all about raw talent, we accept you tube links if you do not have studio recordings yet. But if you do have studio recordings, send us those.

– Email that MP3, or you tube link, with SUBJECT TITLE “FSN ENTRY”, confirmation of availability, your NotinghamNESS plus contact details, to the email address nusic@leftlion.co.uk

Do the above before 11.59pm on Monday 2nd May 2016.

This link guides you to the page where we will confirm if you have successfully entered FSN, click here.

For further guidance check out this advice video at our youtube channel FeelTheNusic, click here.

YOU MUST BE FROM NOTTS – This means you (if more than one of you, the majority of you i.e half or more) either LIVE (studying at Uni DOES count) in the Great County of Nottinghamshire and / or Greater Nottingham Urban Area, and /or were born / brought up here (whilst now living somewhere else e.g. you are at Uni elsewhere). You must cite Notts as your hometown on all social media (we will check), you are allowed to state more than one place e.g. Notts and London.

ALL INCLUSIVE – To encourage all musical genres, and musical combinations, to seize this opportunity, we have a number of rules that aspire to encourage a diversity of participants in FSN that reflects both the incredible musical diversity across Nottinghamshire as well as our own founding princple about supporting all genres. FSN is not just about bands, as awesome as the bands of Notts are. So:

  • We have a rule to ensure solo artists are not disadvantaged.
  • We have a rule to make FSN accessible to electronic artists, rappers and MCs (in other words, musicians who often perform purely with pre-recorded backing).
  • We have two rules to ensure artists performing Hip-Hop, Grime, Soul, Reggae, World, (any form of) Electronic Music plus any genre related to these six musical families, from who we classically have less entries (proportionally), are encouraged to seize this opportunity.

Details on these rules below.

SOLO ARTISTS

  • There is no potential disadvantage for a solo artist in Round One, the rule to ensure solo artists are not disadvantaged in FSN, kicks in at the Semi Final (Round Two) stage. This will be clarified when the Semi-Final (Round Two) rules are announced, and will take a similar form to last year.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • The minimum requirement for playing live is a live vocal, singing over a backing cd, Ableton etc.

MUSICAL DIVERSITY

  • At least two of the twelve semi-finalists will be artists who perform Hip-Hop, Grime, Soul, Reggae, World, (any form of) Electronic Music plus any genre related to these six musical families. This (we acknowledge subjective) judgement call on which artists qualify will be made by Jackie P from Kemet FM and Mark Del. This rule is not perfect, but it comes from a good place, trying to make sure FSN is open to all genres.
  • Strictly speaking this is a Semi Final (Round Two) rule but as it is new we thought you should know upfront… At least one of the six finalists will be an artist who performs Hip-Hop, Grime, Soul, Reggae, World, (any form of) Electronic Music plus any genre related to these six musical families. This (we acknowledge subjective) judgement call on which artists qualify will be made by Judging Chairwoman Jackie P from Kemet FM and Nusic Founder Mark Del. This rule is not perfect, but it comes from a good place, trying to make sure FSN embraces all genres.

RAW TALENT – We have three rules to ensure raw talent is recognised, to ensure that FSN recognises stand out raw talent and to ensure that FSN does not end up featuring purely artists who have already had the opportunity of playing either Splendour or the FSN Final.

Details on these rules below.

ENSURING NEW TALENT GETS THE OPPORTUNITY:

  • No more than six artists who have already played Splendour (in previous years) can make it through to the Semi-Finals. This means that should the judges (who vote ‘blind’) vote through seven acts who it turns out have played Splendour before, the seventh act would not make it through.
  • No more than two artists who have already played the Rock City FSN Final can make it through to the Finals.
  • Across the three rounds of FSN we try and mix democracy (public votes) with expertise (Judge votes), we feel this has worked quite well since 2009, for example the FSN2012 winners THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT were in the top two in all three rounds. But we are always trying to make it better. In 2012 we also had an extreme case, an incredible raw talent who’d never done a single gig in their life entered FSN and rightly (as shown by their subsequent success) won Round One (the Judge vote) by a mile, the largest points victory ever in fact. Despite their clear stand out talent they did not get through Round Two, they were so new they had no following yet and not enough neutral voters took part to see them through. As Nusic is all about uncovering new talent we were frustrated that FSN was not able to ‘cope’ with such an extreme scenario (by extreme we mean so good whilst simultaneously so unknown, thereby winning Round One but totally out of it in Round Two), so we brought in a new rule in 2013, which we extended in 2014. The top two in the Round One expert vote will get automatic byes through to the final.

WHO CANNOT ENTER? –

  • Group One -Those who have won / headlined any previous NUSIC or NOTTS UNSIGNED ‘musician helping events’. For the avoidance of doubt this means SUSPECT ALIBI, JOY MUMFORD, THE GORGEOUS CHANS, THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT, KAPPA GAMMA, KAGOULE, THE MONEY, LONG DEAD SIGNAL, DOG IS DEAD, FRONTIERS and THE TURF. Previous runners-up and finalists CAN enter.
  • Group Two – Any Nottingham artist already announced on the bill for THIS year’s Splendour.
  • Group Three – Musicians who are unable to perform at least three original tracks live. To clarify the minimum requirement for playing live is a live vocal, singing over a backing cd, Ableton etc.
  • Group Four – Artists who only play covers, no covers are allowed to be entered or performed, FSN (and Nusic generally) is all about encouraging original song writing.

Grey Area/s – What if you are a new act that includes members who use to be in one of the artists listed in ‘Group One’? This is where it gets reeaaalllll complicated. It wouldn’t be fair to have pretty much the same artist get to play that main stage again would it? But also it wouldn’t be fair for a band of six to be excluded because one of them played triangle as a session musician back in 2011 for THE MONEY. So. If your new act contains the same humans as before, you cannot enter. If your new act has two or more members of an act listed in ‘Group One’ it must be at least five years since your old act got through. If you are the only member of a ‘Group One’ act, in your new act, and there are at least three of you in total, you may enter now. Unless you are the lead singer / front person, in which case again it must be five years since your ‘Group One’ act made it. Sorry singers, but you are the key distinguisher of any act. Sometimes there are downsides to being the star, but hey, you get all the groupies.

JUDGES – Will be announced Monday 25th April via the New Music Podcast. As always we will put together a panel of the most ‘able-to-help’ industry peeps we can find in Nottingham, this means whether or not you ‘win’ you get your music heard by people who can help you. Our main concern with the panel is filling it with people who can help you, reflecting the broader music industry this does often result in our panels being quite male dominated. That said we know it’s important to have relatable role models so we do try hard to ensure that the panels are not all blokes.

JUDGING PROCESS – Each judge will twice mark each act out of ten, after listening to one track from each artist without knowing who the artist is. The first mark will be for ‘raw talent’ as perceived by that individual judge. The second mark will be for ‘ability to nail it playing the main stage at Splendour’ as perceived by that individual judge. Scores from the judge giving the highest score will be excluded (explained below), as of 2015 the lowest score is also excluded. The other three Judges (as there will now be five in total) will have their scores all added together giving each act a final mark out of 60. The top two (subject to the criteria outlined above and below) acts will go straight through to the FSN Final at Rock City (see raw talent rules above), the next ten acts go through to Semi-Finals (Public Vote). The 11th and 12th acts in the Semi-Final Public Vote will be the SPREADTHELOVE and NOISE GEN winners. None of the Nusic team vote.

WHO ARE THE JUDGES? – Listen to the New Music Podcast on 25th April to find out.

Our brief is to curate a judging panel full of the Nottingham residents most able to help the musicians entering FSN, ‘ability to help’ is the defining factor in our judge selections. We define that as:

– Individuals who have a significant audience (which we define as thousands to tens of thousands) plus the freedom to give exposure to local musicians.
– Individuals with significant professional music industry connections, such that could lead to high profile gigs or even management/ label introductions.
– The majority of our judges will have both.

WHY DO YOU EXCLUDE THE HIGHEST SCORE? – It’s about ensuring independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its intrinsically impossible to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites. By excluding the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 10 out of 10 given to the act who features one of the judge’s ‘neighbour’s son’s best friend’s girlfriend’ does not bias the result. This score will only be used if there is a tie.

WHY DO YOU EXCLUDE THE LOWEST SCORE? – This was a new idea in 2015, and it worked well, it is about our continued efforts to ensure independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its intrinsically impossible to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites AND their prejudices. By excluding the bottom vote as well as the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 0 out of 10 scores given to an act who features the kid from school who used to bully the judge’s son, that makes music in a genre that a particular judge absolutely hates etc does not bias the result. This means there is a fifth judge this year to ensure we have three ‘valid’ votes for each artist. There is also impact simply by virtue of having this rule re lowest score and the rule re highest score, as judges now know there is no point giving a ridiculously low or high score, hopefully the mere existence of the rule makes judges score more fairly and accurately.

I’M CONFUSED NOW! CAN YOU SUM THAT UP BRIEFLY PLS? – Well as you asked so nicely. Five judges. Top judge score excluded to prevent bias. Bottom judge score excluded to prevent bias. Remaining three judge scores make the traditional Round One score out of sixty.

CAN PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH/ FOR YOU ENTER? – After some thought on this one, yes, ish. We have a large number of volunteers from the Nottinghamshire scene who help and support us in helping you, many are musicians themselves. Not letting them enter would effectively ‘punish’ them for helping out. We will declare any potential internal conflicts of interest so that things are transparant. It’s worth remembering that none of the Nusic team vote. Any current member of the Nusic team who enters FSN will be asked to take time out from Nusic for the duration of their time in FSN.

2016 FSN Transparancy Declarations = 

  • No artists have entered this year that are related, living with or in love with current members of the Nusic Team.
  • Any Nusic volunteers linked to FSN entries will be ‘firewalled’ from the judging process.
  • Any Nusic volunteer entering FSN will be asked to stand down from Nusic for the duraction of FSN.

CAN PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE JUDGES ENTER? – Yes, and that’s why we exlude the top vote to prevent any bias (see above).

OK HOW DO YOU ENSURE NO BIAS? – By trying our best. Three specific points to the answer. None of us (those of us working on Nusic on a day to day basis) will be judges, in fact all our judges are music and/ or media professionals connected to Nottingham, who work elsewhere. Secondly, any acts who have specific links with us and make it through to the Semi-Finals (Round Two) we will declare so everything is transparent. Thirdly our cunning judging mechanics explained above.

CLARIFY YOUR DEFINTION/S OF ‘NOTTINGHAMNESS’ PLEASE? – Check FAQ19 in our #NusicFAQs: nusic.org.uk/faq

WHAT’s THE INDI RULE? – Across the three rounds of FSN we try and mix democracy (public votes) with expertise (Judge votes), we feel this has worked quite well since 2009, for example the FSN2012 winners THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT were in the top two in all three rounds. But we are always trying to make it better. In 2012 we also had an extreme case, an incredible raw talent who’d never done a single gig in their life entered the competition and rightly (as shown by their subsequent success) won Round One (the Judge vote) by a mile, the largest points victory ever in fact. Despite their clear stand out talent they did not get through round two, they were so new they had no following yet and not enough neutral voters took part to see them through. As Nusic is all about uncovering new talent we were frustrated that FSN was not able to ‘cope’ with such an extreme scenario (by extreme we mean so good whilst simultaneously so unknown, thereby winning round one but totally out of it in round two), so we now have this rule. The top two in the Round One expert vote will get automatic byes through to the final.

The ‘semi-final twelve’ will be announced on Mon 9th May via the New Music Podcast. The judges decision is final, by entering #FSN2016 you agree to accept this and all the above.

We will not publish the specific scores for all artists for two reasons:

1) We want the judges to be able to score honestly and not worry about getting grief when musicians see the scores they gave them.
2) We don’t want to discourage people, if you see you came last with 3 points out of 60 that’s not very encouraging, and we’re all about encouraging.

That’s it, keep listening to the New Music Podcast for the latest!

Have we mentioned you need to listen to the New Music Podcast?

—————— FUTURE SOUND OF NOTTINGHAM 2015 ————————–

Listen to this year’s FSN Finalists here .

All you need to know about the June 14th #FSN2015 Final here.

Information on the 2015 Future Sound of Nottingham will first be announced (as always) on the Nusic New Music Podcast.

GENERAL UPDATES:

The Future Sound of Nottingham 2015 is up and running, with that Splendour main stage up for grabs as usual. Not to mention the Rock City main stage too! As always, 24/7 365 days a year, our role in curating the Nottingham side of things at Splendour is transparently outlined in our FAQs here: www.nusic.org.uk/faq , FAQ34 is particularly relevant.

KEY DETAILS ANNOUNCED:

At 11am on 250515 the New Music Podcast will announce the industry judges for the final of #FSN2015, listen here.

At 11am on 110515 the New Music Podcast will announce the finalists of #FSN2015, listen here.

At 11pm on Monday 27th April semi final voting will go live, click here. The voting link is located within the podcast post, at the top.

This year Voting is direct via our website nusic.org.uk. We are using an online poll verified by email submission that:

– Drives people to the website, hopefully building audience and therefore resulting in more people listening to your music (we acknowledge this aspiration is undermined once artists work out the direct link to the vote and start sharing that link, we ask them not to, let them know it makes us sad and kills a New Music Fairy everytime they do it, but can’t stop them – banning them from doing so is impossible to police so not an option).
– Lets you see scores (helps artists know how they’re doing).
– Lets peeps share and publish the poll all over social media (if that functionality is working).
– Requires a verified email address to vote (which means once a vote is placed a link with be sent to that email address requiring verification), this is to stop multiple voting.
– We also have some code that let’s the website recognise emails, this serves a dual purpose of preventing multiple voting and helping you work out if your vote has counted.
– Let’s us see a list of all emails registered so will be able to see any cheating.
– Allows us to keep the votes secret in the last 24 hours of voting, we do this to drive audience to the podcast (wanting to find the result) giving your music more exposure.

We ask voters if they’d like to sign up to the Nusic and the LeftLion email newsletters, this is optional, any voter not wishing to do that will miss out on the joy of our newsletters in their inbox but their vote will still count.

For the record Nusic team members do vote in the public vote, before it goes live, as part of the testing of the system, their votes will be discounted. At no point in the whole of FSN do Nusic members actually vote (for real) themselves.

You should also know that Al G from LeftLion is running this poll for us and he is a bit of an IT genius, if you cheat he will spot it. We will issue one warning if we see any suspicious emails (any more than five starts to raise eyebrows), two strikes and sadly you are out of FSN.

11am 270415 – The current New Music Podcast announces the semi finalists for this years FSN (at 11am on April 27th), listen here .

A list of all entries received so far can be found here.

11am 130415 – The New Music Podcast announces the Round One judges, final deets on how to enter plus shares a wee FSN secret, listen here.

11am 300315 – The New Music Podcast contains details on how to enter FSN Round One, listen here.

11am 160315 – The New Music Podcast contains the details on the first way to enter this years FSN – #SpreadTheLove2015, listen here.

11am 020315 – The New Music Podcast contains the first mentions of this years FSN.

We recommend checking out FAQ34 in our FAQs – nusic.org.uk/faq

DETAILS ON PREVIOUS FSNs:

FSN 2014
FSN 2013
FSN 2012
Scroll down the FSN tab for 2011, 2010 and 2009

FSN 2015

FINAL (ROUND THREE) RULES – PUBLIC & INDUSTRY EXPERT VOTE

The voting process is quite complicated, please let us explain the method in the apparent madness, every rule is about trying to create as epic an experience as possible for the musicians taking part.

It’s a mixed voting system, half being audience vote, half being ‘expert’ Judges vote. This is an attempt to get the best of both worlds in terms of fairness and also to create a system that helps stimulate a great event. We appreciate there is a risk we simply end up pissing off everybody.

HAVING JUDGES:

– Addresses the natural numerical advantage of bands with public votes and so re-balances things a bit towards the solo artists.
– Makes sure raw talent, yet to build any following, is recognised.
– Gives you a chance to perform in front of connected, music industry players, on the Nottingham level this Judging Panel is huge, pretty much every major player in Nottingham is represented {the one obvious exception is Dean Jackson from the BBC, Dean prefers to stay neutral (as we do, so we empathise and understand that approach)}. This in itself is a big opportunity regardless of the result. For example in both 2013 and 2012 FSN artists have so impressed the judge representing Splendour that they have booked them for Splendour even though they didn’t win (Sam Jones in 2013, Indiana in 2012). Last year two of the six finalists secured management from judges off the back of their performance.

Those Judges are:

Confirmed in the New Music Podcast, listen here.

We are aware the judging panel is not massively diverse. Our brief is to curate a judging panel full of the Nottingham residents most able to help our finalists, demographic diversity is not a deciding factor, ‘ability to help’ is. We define that as:

– Individuals who have a significant audience (which we define as thousands to tens of thousands) plus the freedom to give exposure to local musicians. E.g Drowned in Sound’s Dom G, LeftLion’s Ali E, Simon Wilson at The Post etc.
– Individuals with significant professional music industry connections, such that could lead to high profile gigs or even management/ label introductions. E.g. Anton Lockwood & Craig Chettle who have both worked full time in the music and media industries for over a decade, over which time they’ve accumulated a large number of contacts in live, media, labels and management.
– The majority of our judges will have both.

AUDIENCE VOTE:

– Helps mobilise your fans. Knowing they can make a difference encourages friends, family and fans to come down and support, in the process creating a better atmosphere for all. That’s really key, it’s a better vibe for everyone.
– Ensures that talent talented enough to have built a following gets recognised. It is ironic when people moan, ‘they only won because they have more fans than us’, why do they have fans? A significant following implies you’re creating music that is connecting with people, our ‘no covers’ policy ensures good looks and the ability to play some one else’s three chord hit is not enough.

AUDIENCE VOTE METHOD – Three announced ‘audience votes’ throughout the night via a decibel-o-meter on stage taking precise Db readings of audience volume level. The thinking:

– A decibel-o-meter on the stage encourages the crowd to come to front and get boisterous, not awkwardly stand quietly at the back like a school disco.
– Taking three ‘audience votes’ throughout the night ensures fans of all acts are encouraged to watch all acts thereby creating a better atmosphere for all.
– Having three specific announced ‘audience vote moments’ means everyone will know when the vote is being taken and when to make extra noise for their fav. It also means at all other times they can get behind all acts not worrying about being seen as ‘unfaithful’! Creating a better atmosphere for all.

We will announce these audience vote moments on stage, will then read out each artist name and measure the noise from the crowd for each artist. This will be done at the start at 7pm, near the last act and one time at random.

The Judges will be marking you out of ten on these criteria:

– Stage Presence – swagger, presence, engagement with audience.
– Raw Talent – as perceived by the individual judge.
– Quality of Performance – in time, in tune, hitting notes etc
– Quality of Songs – as perceived by the individual judge.
– Splendour Suitability – would you ‘work’ opening the main stage?

Eight judges scoring you out of 50, the top score and bottom score will be removed and the remaining six will form a score out of 300. We remove the top and bottom score to help ensure independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its IMPOSSIBLE to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites. By excluding the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 50 out of 50 given to the act who features one of the judge’s neighbour’s sons girlfriends does not bias the result. By excluding the bottom vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 0 out of 50 given to the act who features the bully of one the judge’s kids at school does not bias the result.

Each of the three ‘audience votes’ will be out of 100, scores will be allocated like this:

Highest Db – 100
2nd – 90
3rd – 80
4th – 70
5th – 60
6th – 50

After three votes we will have a second score out of 300 giving each artist an overall score out of 600. Needless to say the highest score out of 600 wins that main stage slot at Splendour.

Complicated yes, but all aimed at creating the best possible atmosphere for all as well as seek a winning artist talented enough to win the love of the ‘experts’ and the people.

FINALLY… Performance rules:

– Sets must be no longer than 15 minutes.
– Sets may comprise no more than 3 songs.
– No covers.
– No samples longer than four bars.
– Be nice.

PRE FINAL PROMOTION

We try hard to secure as many unique promo opportunities as possible for the finalists, in fact it’s one of the big ‘music helping’ features of FSN – musicians get a big boost in profile from all the promo that comes with making the final. We treat all artists equally and offer all opportunities to all artists, whether they take up those opportunities or not is obvs up to them. In other words any significant differences you observe in artist promo levels will be down to the artists level of proactivity and/ or their strategy, some artists don’t like doing promo, they don’t feel it’s part of their brand. The other ‘extenuating circumstance’ is musicians from parts of Notts that have their own ultra local media outlets, places like Mansfield that have their own paper and radio station. Artists from those areas may secure extra promo from their ‘home support’,  student musicians may secure support from student media etc

SEMI FINAL (ROUND TWO) RULES – THE PUBLIC VOTE

In contrast to Round One which was an expert Judges vote, the Semi-Finals are a public vote. We wanted to mix things up, an expert vote ensures new talent yet to build a fanbase gets a chance (as well as solo artists who often miss out in public votes simply due to there being less of them in the ‘musical entity’), a public vote ensures local musicians who have been good enough to build a fanbase get to acknowledge that, additionally the public vote is accompanied by a dedicated version of the NEW MUSIC PODCAST offering the public an easy way to hear all the Semi-Finalists.

The public vote is open from 11pm Monday 27th April through to 11.59pm Wednesday 6th May (2015). It will be an ‘open’ vote (in that you can see who is winning) until 11.59pm Tuesday 5th May 2015. At this point we intend to (technology allowing) make the vote private, this will build some tension and drive audience to the NEW MUSIC PODCAST (giving more exposure to more musicians) where we will announce the results exclusively 11am Monday 11th May 2015.

Re the earlier point re solo artists. At least two solo artists must make the final six. So if four bands (definition = non session musician featuring musical combos of two or more) take the top four places in the public vote then the 3rd and 4th place bands will be replaced by the highest placed solo artists.

The Indi Rule means two artists are already in the final, and this year they both happen to be bands (as defined above). Therefore the thirteen artists in the Semi-Final vote will be competing for four places.

Our definition of a band (above) does allow for solo artists who are not playing solo. An act with more than one person playing on stage that is named after the lead singer (who writes all the songs totally by themself), and in which the other musicians are effectively session musicians (and so are significantly less motivated to put the effort in to secure a Final place), is deemed a solo act. We’ll be direct with you, this is probably the trickiest grey area to address in the whole of FSN. Over the years we have found this definition to be the best compromise, we know it’s not perfect.

BREAKING NEWS

– Due to a quintuple tie for the final place in the semi-finals there are thirteen artists in the Semi-Final vote.

– Transparency declarations: No member of any of the Semi Finalists are current interns members of the Nusic team, one half of The Hargreaves did do an internship with Nusic in 2013.

Artists entering FSN are welcome to enter the comp that will run to play the main stage of No Tomorrow Festival. Should you win that comp, and still be in the running for Splendour, we will high five your awesomeness and then kindly ask you to step down from FSN. It wouldn’t be equitable to have the same artist play the main stage at both festivals.

ROUND ONE MAIN RULES and JUDGING PROCESS:

YOU MUST BE FROM NOTTS – This means you (if more than one of you the majority of you i.e half or more) either LIVE (studying at Uni DOES count) in the Great County of Nottinghamshire and/ or Greater Nottingham Urban Area, and/or were born/ brought up here (whilst now living somewhere else e.g. you are at Uni elsewhere). You must cite Notts as your hometown on all social media (we will check), you are allowed to state more than one place e.g. Notts and London.

ALL GENRES – to ensure we live our Third Commandment and represent a diversity of genres at least two of the twelve semi-finalists will be urban artists (definition of urban = would be played on Radio 1Xtra/ Kemet FM, Chair plus Jackie P from Kemet FM make this judgement call).

WHO CANNOT ENTER?

Group One -Those who have won/ headlined any previous NUSIC or NOTTS UNSIGNED competitons. For the avoidance of doubt this means JOY MUMFORD, THE GORGEOUS CHANS, THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT, KAPPA GAMMA, KAGOULE, THE MONEY, LONG DEAD SIGNAL, DOG IS DEAD, FRONTIERS and THE TURF. Previous runners-up and finalists CAN enter.
Group Two – Any Nottingham artist already announced on the bill for THIS year’s Splendour.
Group Three – Musicians who are unable to perform at least three original tracks live. To clarify the minimum requirement for playing live is a live vocal, singing over a backing cd, Ableton etc.
Group Four – Artists who only play covers, no covers are allowed to be entered or performed, FSN (and Nusic generally) is all about encouraging original song writing.

Grey Area – What if you are a new act that includes members who use to be in one of the artists listed in Group One? To be able to enter this year it must be either at least four years since your old act got through or over half the members of the current act must not have been in the last act.

ENSURING NEW TALENT GETS A CHANCE – No more than six artists who have already played Splendour (in previous years) can make it through to the Semi-Finals. This means that should the judges (who vote ‘blind’) vote through seven acts who it turns out have played Splendour before, the seventh act would note make it through.

JUDGES – Will be announced Monday 13th April via the New Music Podcast. As always we will put together a panel of the most ‘able-to-help’ industry peeps we can find in Nottingham, this means whether or not you ‘win’ you get your music heard by people who can help you. Our main concern with the panel is filling it with people who can help you, reflecting the broader music industry this does often result in our panels being quite male dominated. That said we know it’s important to have relatable role models so we do try hard to ensure that the panels are not all male.

JUDGING PROCESS – Each judge will twice mark each act out of ten, after listening to one track from each artist without knowing who the artist is. The first mark will be for ‘raw talent’ as perceived by that individual judge. The second mark will be for ‘ability to nail it playing the main stage at Splendour’ as perceived by that individual judge. Scores from the judge giving the highest score will be excluded (explained below), new for 2015 the lowest score will also be excluded. The other three Judges (as there will now be five in total) will have their scores all added together giving each act a final mark out of 60. The top two (subject to the criteria outlined above and below) acts will go straight through to the final (see ‘Indi Rule’ below), the next ten acts go through to Semi-Finals (public vote). The 11th and 12th acts in the Semi-Final public vote will be the SPREADTHELOVE and NOISE GEN winners. None of the Nusic team vote.

WHO ARE THE JUDGES? – Listen to the New Music Podcast on 13th April to find out.

WHY DO YOU EXCLUDE THE HIGHEST SCORE? – It’s about ensuring independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its intrinsically impossible to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites. By excluding the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 10 out of 10 given to the act who features one of the judge’s ‘neighbour’s son’s cat’ does not bias the result. This score will only be used if there is a tie.

WHY DO YOU EXCLUDE THE LOWEST SCORE? – This is a new idea for 2015 and is about our continued to efforts to ensure independence and fairness. We want our judging process to be impartial and independent, striving for that over time we have realised its intrinsically impossible to put together a judging panel of individuals with knowledge of the Nottingham Music scene who do not have connections with musicians in that scene, everyone has their favourites AND their prejudices. By excluding the bottom vote as well as the top vote you make sure any ‘freak’ 0 out of 10 scores given to an act who features the kid from school who used to bully the judges son, that makes music in a genre that a particular judge absolutely hates etc does not bias the result. This means there is a fifth judge this year to ensure we have three ‘valid’ votes for each artist.

I’M CONFUSED NOW CAN YOU SUM THAT UP BRIEFLY PLS? – Well as you asked so nicely. Five judges. Top judge score excluded. Bottom judge score excluded. Remaining three judge scores make the traditional Round One score out of sixty.

CAN PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH/ FOR YOU ENTER? – After some thought on this one, yes, ish. We have a large number of volunteers from the Nottinghamshire scene who help and support us in helping you, many are musicians themselves. Not letting them enter would effectively ‘punish’ them for helping out. We will declare any potential internal conflicts of interest so that things are transparant. It’s worth remembering that none of the Nusic team vote. Any current member of the Nusic team who enters FSN will be asked to take time out from Nusic for the duration of their time in FSN.

2015 FSN Transparancy Declarations =
– TBC – Number of artists entering this year that were related, living with or in love with current members of the Nusic Team. No one loves us – sniff, sniff.
– Any Nusic volunteers linked to FSN entries will be ‘firewalled’ from the judging process.

CAN PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE JUDGES ENTER? – Yes, and that’s why we exlude the top vote to prevent any bias (see above).

OK HOW DO YOU ENSURE NO BIAS? – By trying our best. Three points to the answer. None of us (those of us working on Nusic on a day to day basis) will be judges, in fact all our judges are music and/ or media professionals connected to Nottingham, who work elsewhere. Secondly, any acts who have specific links with us and make it through to the semi-finals we will declare so everything is transparent. Thirdly our cunning judging mechanics explained above.

The ‘semi-final twelve’ will be announced on Mon 27th April via the New Music Podcast. The judges decision is final, by entering the competition you agree to accept this and all the above.

We will not publish the specific scores for all artists for two reasons:

1) We want the judges to be able to score honestly and not worry about getting grief when musicians see the scores they gave them.
2) We don’t want to discourage people, if you see you came last with 3 points out of 60 that’s not very encouraging, and we’re all about encouraging.

WHAT’s THE INDI RULE? – Across the three rounds of FSN we try and mix democracy (public votes) with expertise (Judge votes), we feel this has worked quite well since 2009, for example the FSN2012 winners THE AFTERDARK MOVEMENT were in the top two in all three rounds. But we are always trying to make it better. In 2012 we also had an extreme case, an incredible raw talent who’d never done a single gig in their life entered the competition and rightly (as shown by their subsequent success) won Round One (the Judge vote) by a mile, the largest points victory ever in fact. Despite their clear stand out talent they did not get through round two, they were so new they had no following yet and not enough neutral voters took part to see them through. As Nusic is all about uncovering new talent we were frustrated that FSN was not able to ‘cope’ with such an extreme scenario (by extreme we mean so good whilst simultaneously so unknown, thereby winning round one but totally out of it in round two), so we’ve brought in a new rule. The top two in the Round One expert vote will get automatic byes through to the final.

That’s it, keep listening to the New Music Podcast for the latest!

Have we mentioned you need to listen to the New Music Podcast?

Google GmailEmailShare/Bookmark