There was once a time when social media was hailed as the greatest thing to happen to musicians and creatives of all sorts. Just imagine these online platforms with tens of millions of active users, all mingling across a level playing field.

Well, skip forward a few years and that playing field isn’t exactly level. Like traditional media avenues, the big boys with the big budgets have a head start. You’re still competing for eyes and ears against an endless parade of nonsense. What makes things go ‘viral’ is up for debate and you can just forget about trying to figure out algorithms.

In short, yes social media has endless advantages for the everyman, for the underground, but it also lacks advantages of traditional media.

Step forward YouSat - a unique new platform that takes the best of both worlds, fusing them into some kind of satellite TV/social media mishmash.

Launched as recently as September, YouSat is very simple in its concept, but unlimited in its potential. As a satellite TV channel, it allows content creators from all walks of life to showcase their content to a global audience. Currently broadcasting across MENA via Nilesat (11096/27500) and streaming through its website and Facebook page, 2021 is going to be a big year for YouSat, when it will become available to anyone with satellite TV access on the planet.

There are of course rules and regulations to ensure it maintains a respectable and inoffensive existence, but for underground musicians, YouSat is their oyster. In fact, YouSat has been so popular with musicians across the region, that some have been locked in a sweeping music video tournament on YouSat called Battle of the Rock. Some of the competing names that will be familiar to SceneNoise readers include Palestinian-Jordanian rapper, The Synaptik; East African retro pop band, Al Sarah & the Nubatones; 47Soul stalwart, ElFar3i; Dubai-based R&B singer, Shebani; Egyptian rappers like VLI Weezy and Hisham Raptor; and Sudanese rappers such as TooDope.

Taking place quite literally as a knockout tournament, judges have included the likes of rapper and certified ‘Cairo gangster’, Kordy, and regional hop-hop guru, Big Hass. The final judging panel, however, has looked beyond the region and will see ‘Mr. X to the Z’, Xzibit (final), the unforgettable Coolio (semi-finals), and popular German rapper, Nana (quarter finals), also judge the videos.

The winner of the competition will get a $10,000 prize, a new fully YouSat-produced video and a promotional campaign, signalling that YouSat is very much looking to push the Middle East’s emerging talent, regardless of genre.

Competition aside, the utter freedom, the minimal commitment and the potentially global audience of YouSat proposes a new kind of promotion, a new kind of way to be seen and heard for all underground musicians.

Click here for more information on YouSat.