Competing on a reality singing competition like The Voice isn’t for the faint of heart…only the truly committed.
At the end of each season, after weeks of grueling competition, coaching, and performances, viewers are often left wondering if the stress is worth it. What is the pay off for a contestant on The Voice?
Truth be told, far fewer Voice contestants have found post-show success than American Idol. But, that doesn’t keep hopefuls from lining up for their chance to sing in front of an all-star coaching panel and America. Sometimes the bragging rights along is enough. For others, they want the prize package awarded to The Voice champ.
What does the winner of The Voice win?
In addition to a stunning trophy, winners get a paycheck of $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Music Group.
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But, past winners are often released from their recording contract prior to releasing music. For instance, Sundance Head who won the show in 2016 told the Washington Post that his record deal included a clause that his first single would be released within seven months. But, the singer was free to walk away if his single wasn’t released….and that’s exactly what he did.
Other former winners such as Sawyer Fredericks and Alisan Porter also split from their record labels shortly after their wins due to lack of support.
“I feel like they’re trying to cookie-cutter every person that comes out of The Voice ’cause they think they’re all the same. I don’t think they put the time into figuring out what kind of artist I was,” Fredericks told the NY Post.
In a 2020 interview, with winner Todd Tilghman and Blake Shelton, Shelton shared frustrations about the lack of support from the record labels toward winning artists.
“One of the most frustrating things for me, as a coach on this show year after year, is they win this record deal with Universal,” he said, “and so many times the ball’s been dropped. And there hasn’t been a lot of follow-through with the record deal.”
Why compete on The Voice?
For many artists the exposure a national singing competition can provide far outweighs the benefits of a record deal. And sometimes it’s best to NOT win The Voice.
For instance, Morgan Wallen competed on Season 6 of The Voice, but was eliminated during the Playoff round. Without the burden of a record contract, Wallen was able to used his time on the show as a stepping stone in his career. He is now one of the most successful solo artists to have ever competed on The Voice. Had he been tied down by a contract, who knows if or when Wallen’s career would have taken off.
Hear Blake call out record labels and their lack of “follow-through” for Voice winners in the interview below.