Billboard, Fluid develop music competition

Collaboration will discover emerging musicians

Billboard has teamed with music-services company Fluid Music to develop a reality competition series, marking the publication's first venture into unscripted television.

"Billboard Next" will combine a televised music competition and Web site specifically created to discover emerging artists across a range of music genres. Aspiring artists will submit performance footage via the "Billboard Next" Web site to be judged and voted on by the public; those with the most votes will compete live on television. Details of the prize are being kept under wraps.

Associated Talent Management will consult on the show's format, facilitate the search for a production team and handle licensing and distribution deals. The companies are planning to shop the project to TV networks.

" 'Billboard Next' will give musicians from all backgrounds and genres a chance to gain exposure for their craft, build a fan base and possibly grab the attention of music moguls, tastemakers and other influencers in the music industry," said Howard Appelbaum, publisher of Billboard, which is owned by The Hollywood Reporter parent the Nielsen Co.

Added Fluid CEO Lorne Abony: "The Billboard brand combined with our capabilities and ATM's experience in both the entertainment and music industries is key to making this show a success."

For ATM, Dan Levin will coordinate the production and distribution of the show. Todd Optican will head the licensing, and Kevin Raleigh will be working on the artist development side of the project.