The day after Unset played their first show in March (at Brick By Brick), the band was notified by Verizon Wireless that they'd been selected as a finalist in the corporation's "Calling All Bands" contest.
"I was on MySpace and saw the 'Calling All Bands' contest," says vocalist Frank Torres. "I'm a skeptic, and I don't join contests or the whole battle-of-the-bands thing...and I'm not a big fan of corporate America either. I figured, what the hell, we'll never get picked, so I nominated myself and totally forgot about the contest, and the next thing you know, someone hits us up and says, 'You're in the top 15.' "
Unset's song, "The Wait Is Over," was selected from more than 4000 submissions. Judges narrowed that number down to 15 bands and posted their songs on MySpace so listeners could vote on their favorite.
"[We were one of] the top five bands that received the most votes, then corporate people came in and decided which song was most viable," says Torres. The Parlour Boys from Lexington, Kentucky, took first place, winning a trip to L.A. to film a video to be released on V CAST, Verizon's mobile music service. The company will also market a ring tone and a ring-back tone based on a sound sample of the band's music.
Verizon's V CASTs cost either $0.99 or $1.99, and ring tones generally cost $0.99. The contest winner received no cash prizes for their accomplishment.
"The trade-off is...you're getting your name out there, and for an unsigned band, a lot of times that could be worth a lot more," says Torres. "The funny thing is, we didn't even win, but we've gotten so much publicity from this whole Verizon thing, we're getting mail from all over the world, our [MySpace] plays have gone up, people are asking for CDs...even this interview...it's all because of this contest."