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Feargal Sharkey fronts Salute Music Makers, an unsigned artist competition he claims will shake-up TV talent shows

Feargal Sharkey

Former Undertones singer turned music executive Feargal Sharkey has teamed up with Salute Music Makers to launch a new TV talent show that is driven by user contributions to an app and which, Salute claims, will have the biggest cash prize of any talent show worldwide.

The UK competition – the brainchild of entrepreneurs Lars Bylehn, Michael Bylehn, Jean-Claude Charnier, Patrick Butterfield and Minesh Patel – will cover all music genres and task unsigned acts with uploading their tracks to the Salute Music Makers app for Sharkey and the team to judge before narrowing the applicants down to a top 100.

This will be whittled down further through a public vote on Salute, with the final six each receiving £10,000 and an invite to participate in a televised final. The winner will receive another £40,000 which, according to Salute, comes no strings attached.

The difference that the company is banking on to make it a success is that contestants are required to create original material to perform, moving away from what it calls “the ‘karaoke’ style of current talent shows,” and in doing so it will also be bringing about a shared equity scheme for all participating unsigned writers.

Sharkey, who spent time at Polydor and as chief exec of British Music Rights, said of his involvement: “British music can justifiably claim to conquer the world, but that incredible success is built upon one thing – talent.

“In an age of television static and bewildering musical consumer choice, it is now more important than ever that we give the right, focused support and opportunity to the next generation of great British talent. Salute is set to make that happen.”

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