Entries open for online music-video competition

Babelgum is continuing its mission to provide a platform for new talent—and attract viewers to its ad-supported website that streams videos online for free—with the launch of a music-video competition with Universal Music UK.

The Babelgum Music Video Award will run like its online film festival, now in its second edition, with participants uploading entries on to its website.

Like the film festival, winners will be chosen both by professionals and viewers.

It is yet another internet-age outlet for independent musicians, many of whom have been able to expand their following and consolidate their fan base on such sites as YouTube.

“This is a great opportunity for young musicians and video makers to expand their audience and find a new route into the industry,” Babelgum CEO Valerio Zingarelli said in a statement. “Today’s web users can’t get enough of new, non-mainstream music acts, so the internet is an excellent place to present strong musical talent and an original vision to a vast audience.”

In the music-video competition, a jury of professionals including French music-video director Michel Gondry, who has produced videos for such singers as Björk, and musician David Ford will choose the grand prize winner, who will get a record development deal with Universal UK, Babelgum said on Wednesday.

The video selected most by Babelgum viewers will get a chance to be performed live at one of the MAMA Group’s venues, including the Barfly network in Britain.

And the 40 semifinalists will appear in a new Babelgum application for smart cellphones, which is expected to launch by December.

Babelgum users already have been able to start registering to enter the video competition, with 205 subscriptions so far, the company said.

Entries close on November 16.

Another 300 aspiring filmmakers have registered accounts for the film festival. Entries close on December 31.

Babelgum, like its competitor Joost, has focused on professionally produced video in its online venture, contrasting with amateur footage that has fuelled YouTube’s popularity. Babelgum is delivered over broadband, using peer-to-peer technology that allows video to stream at higher quality.

It will take another technological step forward with the launch of channels designed specifically for smart cellphones—with music videos—aimed at young audiences and short in length, a natural fit.

Babelgum said it will include other longer content, with details to be released at a later date.—Sapa-AP

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