NBC have acquired the rights to a unique new type of music talent show that decides the winners based on how many streams they get online.

The Stream was a fascinating talent show from Norway that used Spotify rankings to judge contestants and received support from all 3 of the major labels. The show has been snapped up by NBC to bring their own version of the show to the U.S..

According to NBC the show will feature “music industry titans working together to uncover the next superstar artist”. Going off of the original we assume these judges will be executives from major labels, all of which have shown support for the show, or notorious music industry figures.

President of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC, Paul Telegdy said: “The Stream brilliantly uses technology and social media to draw music lovers in and make them a part of the process. We’re excited to discover talent in this modern way and connect the best artists with the industry’s top starmakers.”

A press release explains how the concept works:

Everyone will be able to upload their video to The Stream online platform, where it instantly becomes available to the public.

Once the performance is online, it’s up to users to spread, share and stream their favourite music. All musical talent can participate – whether they are a solo singer, rap-duo or electronic group.

Out of the selection to most popular 100 will be chosen to attend a showcase performing in front of the judges. Out of those 100, 30 will be chosen to continue in the show and go to A&R bootcamp with their “music industry titan”. From there the label executives will each decide on the 3 best artists out of their bunch to sign to a record deal, for the 9 finalists who will perform on the weekly live show.

Norwegian Norway tv talent show streaming music the stream spotify
The Judges and presenter for the original Norwegian version of The Stream

Once the weekly live TV shows start each act will perform as you’d expect on a talent show, the difference is after the episode the amount of streams for each artist dictates if they return or face the boot. Whilst the original show used Spotify for rankings it’s not clear which service will be used for the US version.

Norway TV 2 said to Music Business Worldwide: “The deal with Spotify is a non-exclusive one in the sense that the music from the show can be made available through all streaming services, such as Apple Music and Tidal, as well as Spotify. This is up to each label to decide. There are nothing in the contracts between Spotify, broadcaster TV 2, production company Monster and the record labels that restricts where songs from the contestants can be made available.”

It’s a smart move as streaming services are quickly prioritising the user over the labels. For example streaming trends and sharing music is more likely to make a hit these days than pumping big label money behind launching a track. As users now have the choice of listening to whatever they want they’re becoming more active listeners, so streaming seems like a natural progression for music talent shows.