This article investigates the tension between originality and success for 'emerging composers' involved in composition opportunities in the British contemporary classical music scene. It utilises survey responses from 47 new music composers to better understand their experiences of these very public signs of compositional success. Though the narrative of the original artist is still significant, conflicts arise between 'uniqueness' and the realities of the composition opportunity. Composers aspire to be original, but are aware that a number of other, more instrumental, factors play a crucial role in being chosen. Despite the continuing importance of opportunities to many composers' development, there are areas that could be made more transparent to ensure they are benefitting an aesthetically diverse range of artists.