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College Music Competitions Go Virtual with Social Media, Online Juries and More

Making room for more genres and retaining prize offerings, institutes are working with music discovery app Humit

Anurag Tagat Dec 29, 2020

Photo: Okan Caliskan/Pixabay

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If music festivals and gigs can go the digital way with livestreams, music competitions aren’t too far behind in innovating. College band contests were especially fertile grounds for artists to showcase their newfound sound and win prize money for it, finding an enthusiastic audience and funding for studio time along the way. 

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc in the way educational institutes fundamentally serve students, even cultural events were affected. While some fests did go digital, it’s music discovery app Humit who are tying up with institutes to give a new spin on music competitions, involving social media, jury voting and more.

Heal the World, which was incepted earlier this year, is now accepting entries across hip-hop/R&B, rock and electronic music in the form of 30-second snippets of audio-visual material, which will be uploaded as Instagram Reels and open to public voting. From the tallied final shortlist of 10 artists, jury members will pick the top three for cash prizes of ₹50,000 (first place), ₹30,000 (second place) and ₹20,000 (third place) for each competition. Humit co-founder Prithvi Sankar says the goal is to “take the blinders off and level the playing field for passionate indie artists.” 

Entries for the first college competition — Rocktaves, as part of BITS Pilani’s Oasis festival — are now open for bands, producers, artists and beat-boxers until January 3rd. Oasis festival organizing committee member Nishchay Shopurkar says, “Given the virtual format of competition this time, we are able to reach out to bands from across the country adding a lot of variety and making the competition more enthralling.” The jury for Rocktaves comprises rock veterans Parikrama‘s Subir Malik, singer-songwriter Suraj Mani, fusion band Lagori‘s frontman Tejas Shankar, rock band Parvaaz‘s vocalist-guitarist Khalid Ahamed and indie/folk band When Chai Met Toast‘s Ashwin Gopakumar. 

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With a total prize pool of ₹7 lakh, the competition will roll on to include festivals such as Searock at BITS Goa in January, Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) – Kharagpur’s Springfest in February and I.I.T. – Madras’ annual fest Saarang in March. 

Entries for ‘Heal the World’ at Rocktaves — BITS Pilani close on January 3rd. Apply here.

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