With the promotional season for Eurovision 2017 coming to a close, OnEurope looks at how the contest has become more than a 'one shot' career boost.

In the 'old days', the only chance we had to hear the songs taking part in each Eurovision was through televised 'previews'. The contest rules insisted that each broadcaster dedicate time to showing official presentations of each competing song in advance of the show. The BBC dedicated Sunday tea time to this. Some broadcasters (mostly Nordic) still continue the tradition, but most of us get our first look in different ways.

For those taking part, Eurovision was a week of rehearsals in an empty hall (no fans on hand to Tweet your every move) and three minutes exposure on a Saturday in May.

Everything started to change thanks to fan sites, YouTube and a circuit of live 'preview' parties.

This year, more than before, the party circuit has become 'a thing'. Eurovision in Concert - the Amsterdam grand daddy of them all - welcomed a record 35 (of 43) entrants to its stage. Smaller - though equally well-reported - parties took place in Latvia, the UK, Spain and Israel.

Streaming

With streaming now a viable form of revenue for songwriters and performers, preview parties offer Eurovision entrants a chance to generate 'sales'.

Although it isn't big money - recent figures suggest that a million Spotify streams generates around €4,000.

Just a few days back, Swedish entrant Robin Bengtsson had racked up over 10 million Spotify streams. Bookmaker's favourite Francesco Gabbani from Italy wasn't far behind. Fans might not rate Manel Navarro from Spain, but he's still enjoyed 4.2 million Spotify streams.

And then there's YouTube. Gabbani has chalked up close to 100 million streams (making it the most watched Eurovision video on the channel of all time). His nearest competition comes from Hungarian entrant Joci Pápai, who can claim one tenth of that. The Google-owned service stays cagey around how much it pays for each play - and our figures includes non-official uploads - but insiders suggest a million streams will earn around €1,700.

Missing in action

More importantly, the promotional circuit provides a chance for musicians to advertise their wares and (more importantly) to establish brand loyalty across the Eurovision fan circuit: many unofficial sites tip off readers about album or single releases by former Eurovision entrants.

It's also a time to network with fellow musicians - Spanish singer Manel seems to be everyone's best friend this year.

Of course, not every singer or group takes part. This year, we've seen nothing of Jacques Houdek - though let's be honest, the anticipation of his stage show is best maintained. Portuguese singer Salvador Sobral has also shied away - citing concert commitments and health concerns. And it's probably a bit far to travel for Isiah from Australia.

It's no longer the one-off show. Played right, it can provide performers with valuable experience, the start of a fan base and enough pocket-money for beers if it all goes wrong on the night.

Coming soon

OnEurope kicks off its rehearsal blog on Sunday, 30 April and we'll be telling it as we see it each day leading up to 13 May. Join us and contradict every word. It wouldn't be the same without you.

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