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'Soundtracks' Winner Says MSG Struck A Sour Note

 Dorian Spencer wasn't celebrating Cablevision Systems-owned MSG Network's local Emmy for NYC Soundtracks, even though he won the reality show's competition among 16 New York City street musicians.

"The irony of the situation is palpable," Spencer told The Wire in an e-mail. "MSG has won awards for a show where it wasn't able to give out its own award."

Spencer complained the eight-episode program promised the winner (picked by Web voters) "the opportunity to play as an opening act on the stage of one of Madison Square Garden's prestigious venues," as says.

He took that to mean performing before a concert at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall or WaMu Theater at MSG.

He ended up with an offer to sing two songs, without pay, at halftime of a New York Knicks basketball game at the Garden. He declined.

Spencer, describing his sound as "bohemian soul," said he felt taken advantage of "by a multimillion-dollar conglomerate."

Concerts at MSG venues are produced by promoters such as Live Nation or AEG, so MSG might not have been able to make Spencer an opening act, a music-industry expert says. Spencer said if that was the case, promises shouldn't have been made.

A source close to the show said Spencer's performance would have aired on MSG during the game and his CD would have been promoted at the arena. An MSG rep said the network "is currently in discussions" with Spencer "about finding an opportunity for him to perform at one of our renowned venues and showcase his remarkable musical talents."

Kent Gibbons
Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.