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About the Contest

by Rolling Stone on Feb 15, 2011

updated: 5/20/11

The editors at Rolling Stone picked 16 unsigned bands to compete for the most coveted prize in music - the cover of Rolling Stone.  It's up to you to choose the winner. 

In a tournament style, we'll narrow the bands down through elimination rounds, so check out the bands and vote for your favorites.  Then check back March 16th to see who advanced.  Those lucky eight will then go into the studio with a major producer, and you'll get to vote on the best four bands to move on.  The four survivors will play a live showcase in front of editors and music execs and fight for a place in the finals.

When we get down to the last two bands standing, the finalists will compete in a battle of the bands on stage at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN.  The ultimate winner, in addition to being the first unsigned band to ever appear on the cover, will also receive a recording contract from Atlantic Records.

In this contest, artists will advance as follows:
Round 1: 8 of 16 artists will advance from Round 1 to Round 2

4 artists will be chosen by the public based upon the quality and quantity of public ratings
4 artists will be chosen by Rolling Stone editors in consultation with selected music industry professionals

Round 2: 4 of 8 artists will advance from Round 2 to Round 3 based solely on the quality and quantity of public  ratings

Round 3:  2 of 4 artists will advance from Round 3 to Round 4  based solely on the quality and quantity of public  ratings

Round 4:  1 winner will be selected based upon public voting


Rounds 1 through 3:  Public Rating Q&A

What Factors Should I Consider in Rating An Artist?

  • You should rate artists based upon their musical appeal to you.  We have created an Artist Page for each of the artists, which include music by and background material about each artist.  The Artist Pages are accessible via The materials on those pages should help you determine your rating decision.

How often can I rate an Artist?

  • You may rate a particular artist only once per round.  There are four rounds altogether.

Can I Rate More Than One Artist?

  • You may rate each and every artist that is participating in any particular round.  Or rate just one.  The number of artists you rate is up to you!

Where Do I Rate an Artist?

  • You can rate an artist on the Rolling Stone site at:  You may also rate an artist on AOL’s Music Page at  Another place to rate an artist is on participating third party sites that have elected to embed our rating mechanism aka widget.  All ratings are received and tallied by Rolling Stone Magazine.

When Can I Rate an Artist Online?

  • You can rate an artist during the active voting periods of the promotion.  The active online voting periods for each round are:
  • Round 1: February 15 to March 2 (at 11:59 p.m. EST)
  • Round 2: March 16 to April 14 (at 11:59 p.m. EST)
  • Round 3: April 26 to May 13 (at 11:59 p.m. EST)
  • Round 4: May 18 to July 1 (at 11:59 p.m. EST)

Round 4 Voting:

  • During Round 4, the 2 finalists will perform at the Bonnaroo music festival.  These performances will be posted on  You can vote for which of the two finalists you want to win the contest. (Unlike in the other rounds of the contest, artists will not be rated).  Voting by text message may also be permited in Round 4.  If so, the short code for the text message will be broadcast at the Bonnaroo music festival.  Where multiple text votes are received by the same mobile number, only the first one will count.  Message and data rates may apply. 

We reserve the right to disqualify, block or remove any ratings emanating from the use of automated means, or that are otherwise tampering with the vote process. Rules and procedures are subject to change at the sole discretion of Rolling Stone.  All dates are subject to change at the sole discretion of Rolling Stone.

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