BERLIN, GERMANY – September 1, 2022
During the pandemic, BiTHOUSE Group / UNITED17 Venture Lab relaunched its Beyond the Music Label Series® franchise alongside music industry experts organized workshops, and organized online assessment performances by female led bands and singer/songwriters in order to increase talent awareness, creator representation, artist equity and strategic partnerships for musicians. The finals take place September 1, 2022 in Berlin at Riverside Studios. Finalists include KOKA, Blurry Future, Cristina Russo, and Riley Holland. There were a total of 650 female songwriters and bands who applied for a chance to participate in the series and a total of 45 acts were chosen to perform. Jury members will assess artists via the following criteria: Appearance, Crowd Interaction, Vocals, Arc of Suspense and Overall Performance.
“I’m so thrilled and honored to be able to bring Beyond the Music Label Series® back on track,” said Jewell Sparks. “It’s a development showcase that enables artists the opportunity to monetize their creativity simply by identifying and understanding various touchpoints that can enable their growth and development as musical talent and entrepreneurs.”
The relaunch was sparked by Spark’s involvement with underrepresented groups in the areas of tech and innovation as well as her passion for music and media
“The last two years have been very difficult for creators, freelancers and entrepreneurs, BiTHOUSE Group / UNITED17 Venture Lab wanted to relaunch our initiative “Beyond the Music Label Series®’ in Europe in order to support female musicians and their bands,” Jewell Sparks the founder of the series states.
The organization conducted online performances starting in 2021 during the pandemic. Artists had an opportunity to receive feedback from global music, media and licensing experts such as Chris Zippel (producer /Holzmarkt 25 GUK Collective / investor SoundCloud) , Daniel Kamps (Tripon Entertainment / Ex Sony), Eric Seats (producer / Patti LaBelle / Next Great Drummer), Lars Döring (Gretchen), Alex Boyce (DASH Radio), Brent Harvey (Executive Producer HMMA), Sandra Bjurman (singer/songwriter) and others.
“To expose these musicians to globally established music professionals has been the best part about this edition of the Beyond the Music Label Series® - Diversity Edit which relaunched out of Berlin in January 2021,” states Sparks.
Juror, Chris Zippel, once accompanied the Gap Band and Midnight Star. Zippel produced vocal legends such as Ruth Brown, Yma Sumac, and wrote music for the Pet Shop Boys, Norah Jones and others. Kamps began his career as a Senior Product Manager at Sony Music Label Epic in 2020 he launched Tripon Entertainment after spending nearly 20 years in the music industry. For over 10 years Kamps was responsible for the local marketing and album release campaigns for artists like e.g. AC/DC, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Foo Fighters, Jamiroquai, Justin Timberlake, Kings Of Leon, Oasis, Pearl Jam and Pink. Other jury members such as Brent Harvey, and Eric Seats, an accomplished drummer who has written and produced for artists such as Aaliyah, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Nas, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, Rule, DJ Reflex, DJ Dense, Yung Joc, Diddy, Pharell, Busta Rhymes, Chingy, Fabolous, Lupe Fiasco, Rick Ross, Tank, Keyshia Cole, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Mary J. Blige, and others, were also quite advantageous for the artists who had a chance to perform during the past year.
“Having female musical talent, Sandra Bjurman onboard as a jury member was also one of the highlights of this particular series,” states Sparks.
Malmo based Sandra Bjurman has written for artists like Rob’n’Raz, Rednex, Nightwish, Kat von D, Tess (La Cream), The Sinderellas, Dr Alban, Latin Kings, Maverick, Jack Mittelman, Safura, Sahlene, Louise Hoffsten, 69 eyes and many more.
“There is no formula or model for a hit song”, says Sandra: “I sit by the piano and play, often very plain, stripped down and suggestive. Then a melody and words find their way through me in some magical beautiful way. It’s all about inspiration, about personal experience and emotions”. “I live my songs”, says Sandra.
To further support the focus of this edition of Beyond the Music Label Series® - Diversity Edit, in March of this year the Recording Academy alongside, University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, found that women are severely underrepresented in the music industry, accounting for just 21.6 percent of artists, 12.6 percent of songwriters, and 2.6 percent of producers.
“It is no surprise that women face unique challenges as a result of their gender, '' states Sparks.
Approximately 57 percent of music creators felt they should be further along in their career, compared to those working in music education (48.5 percent), event/tour production and management/promotion (41.7 percent), music business (37.4 percent), and music media and technology (32.9 percent). Across all racial identities, 84 percent of respondents had faced discrimination. Music creators and performers experienced this the most, with 65 percent experiencing discrimination. Sixty percent of respondents said they had been discriminated against for their age.
"As an organization, we are committed to artist equity and authenticity. We are committed to meeting the unmet needs of underrepresented music creators everywhere, and will continue to build up our creator franchises to build awareness and ensure generational wealth for creators across the globe,” said Jewell Sparks, Managing Director of UNITED17 Venture Group / BiTHOUSE Group. "We value creatives and their capability to bring communities together.”
Categories being recognized and voted on during the Beyond the Music Label Series® - Diversity Edit taking place in Berlin on September 1, 2021 are: Best Vocals, Best Engagement, Best Lyrics, Best Brand Icon, and Best Global Talent. Winners will receive various support throughout the next year, meet with brands, receive product support, and press visability.
About Beyond the Music Label Series®
The music pitch and performance competition which was created by Jewell Sparks first launched in 2010 in the San Francisco Fillmore with a monthly residency at the Boom Boom Room which was founded by Zander Andreas and blues icon John Lee Hooker. The series took place monthly over a six month time period with the goal to provide emerging artists in the United States an opportunity to achieve high-profile recognition. The jury included people from Epic Records, William Morris Talent Agency, Jimi Hendrix Foundation, Eric Seats, ElectroSpit co-founder Bosko Canto and others. Notable contestants included Greg Scott, Semaj the Poet, Dmitry Wild and others. Greg Scott is a singer/songwriter who most recently appeared and won S2E8 of NBC’s Songland where his song "Miracle" was chosen for pop recording artist Bebe Rexha. Semaj has been featured on BET jams, VH1 soul, MTV jams and NBC. He has racked up over 1.5 million streams as a result of his music.