Sunday, May 7, 2017

SpinTunes #13 Official Rules


Welcome to another SpinTunes, and the first for which I am your host. I'm Dave Leigh, the vocal half of the band, "Dr. Lindyke".

For those that have competed before, this first time out I'm going to try to keep things familiar, but there will be a few significant changes. As has previously been the case, if something is confusing, needs clarification, if you just think I made a mistake or forgot something feel free to mention your concern in the comments below. It will be addressed in good time.

There is also a Suggestion Box that you can use to submit suggestions for challenges or rule changes at any time. Be aware that your suggestions would not be used in the current contest unless the challenge requires your feedback. I don't say that this will happen, but I can think of a few possibilities...


Schedule:

The schedule will be similar to past contests. The schedule will be posted separately, and will contain instructions for signing up. There will be 4 rounds. At the beginning of each round a challenge will be posted on this website. You will then have a set number of days (usually a little more than a week) to write, record & send in your song, which should meet the conditions of the challenge.

There will be a short break between each round. During this time the songs will be played at a listening party, and the judges will voted on them, review them, and prep for the next round.


Judging:

Judges will not compete in the contest, but will be allowed to shadow if they choose.

Judges will collectively determine whether each song met or failed to meet the challenge. Songs that fail to meet the challenge will be disqualified. Songs that met the challenge will be ranked.

Each round, the judges will rank all the songs of that round from their favorite to least favorite. Although judges are encouraged to take how well the songs met the challenge into account, ultimately, judging is by personal preference, and the criteria for ranking is the prerogative of each individual judge. JUDGES' RANKINGS ARE FINAL. They need not be explained.

I will not officially rank songs unless one of the judges cannot judge that round. Then I may step in.


Scoring:

Scoring is by rank. Each judge will rank the songs 1 (most favorite) to (least favorite)  Then the songs will be sorted according to total score (low to high). The winner of the round has the lowest total score.

If there is a tie, I will determine the winner. If I am acting as a temporary judge, then in case of a tie the songs will be ranked in the order they were submitted.

Scoring is not cumulative.


Eliminations:

There are several ways to be eliminated from the contest:

  • If you fail to meet a deadline,
  • If your official entry is disqualified for failing to meet the challenge,
  • If you score is below the elimination cutoff
  • If you exhibit poor sportsmanship

The cutoff is determined by the number of competitors at the start of the competition. There will be 4 competitors in the final round. So I'll subtract 4 from the number of competitors in Round One and divide the remainder by 3. That's the number of people who will be eliminated each round. It will not matter how they are eliminated, so even if you don't score well you might get lucky if a lot of people fail to meet the deadline or challenge. That makes it worth your while to submit a song even if you don't think it's good or if the challenge is particularly hard.


Final Round:

SpinTunes is "first past the post".  The top-ranked four competitors in Round Three will pass on to the final round.

If one of the top four fails to submit a song, then a Round 4 shadow posted by the next highest ranked competitor will be promoted to official entry. (See Wild Card Reinstatement, below)

In this round, the judges do not vote, although they'll still review the songs.

Instead, everyone who has been eliminated in any of the preceding rounds (who also submitted at least 1 song) plus the contestants themselves will be allowed to rank the songs.

If there is a tie, the judges will vote to break the tie.

If there is still a tie, then I will choose the winner.


Challenges:

Challenges can be anything. You could be given a theme, restrictions, a technical challenge, a song title, a mood, a story, a character type... anything.

There are some basic requirements for all challenges. They won't be listed every time, so here they are:
  1. For the purposes of this contest, a "song" is defined as having lyrics and music. Unless specifically stated otherwise, you must include both.
  2. Rap is ok, but the music must be substantially original. 
  3. Spoken word is risky, but it might be ok, so long as the music is distinctively original and integral to the piece. 
  4. Unless specifically requested, instrumentals are not ok.
  5. You must provide written (that is, readable) lyrics when you submit your song (see below). Those lyrics must actually appear in the song as performed. Minor deviations are common... people sometimes sing a few words differently from the written lyrics... but you cannot submit an instrumental and a separate lyrics sheet.
  6. You are not required to use the title of the challenge in the song.
Hopefully you're forced to do things you've never done before.

The challenges will be chosen or created by myself and the judges before the contest starts. The SpinTunes Suggestion Box has been active for a while now and some of the challenges may be taken from or inspired by suggestions there. You're encouraged to continue submitting suggestions as they come to you.

As we choose challenges, the judges an I will make an effort to devise judging criteria. You may get hints when the challenge is posted, so read carefully. Keep in mind that anything you're told to do, you must do, so getting too "clever" with the challenges can be risky. However, anything not spelled out is up to interpretation, and creativity is important. The judges may or may not be forthcoming on what is valuable in their eyes. Make your choices and do your best.


Shadows:

SpinTunes is unique in that you're encouraged to play along even if you're not competing. Sometimes it's just fun to try a challenge... sometimes you might want to "test drive" the contest before signing up as a competitor. Or you may have been eliminated in an earlier round, and still want to continue.

You can still submit your effort as a "shadow" entry. These unofficial entries will be played at the listening party and will be included in the album, but they will not be ranked. Individual judges may choose to review shadows, but they are not obligated to do so.

Shadows don't have to be new. Since they're not ranked, there's no risk in taking more liberties with the challenge. HOWEVER...


Wild Card Reinstatements

IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE REINSTATED into the competition after having been eliminated. Here's how that works:

If the number of people who submit songs in a round is less than the pre-defined cut-off, I may re-instate a competitor who has provided a "shadow" for the current round (see Shadows, below). For instance, if there are 8 competitors in Round Three, but only 7 of them submit entries, then I may "promote" a qualifying Round Three shadow from someone who was eliminated in Round Two. If nobody from Round Two shadowed, but someone from Round One did, I may promote their shadow. This holds true for every round, including the final round.

Once promoted, that shadow is judged and ranked on equal footing with all of the other entries from that round. Furthermore, that competitor may move forward in the competition as if they had never been eliminated.

It is conceivable that a person who was eliminated in an early round could shadow, be promoted, and win the competition, but only if the shadow they submit meets the challenge.

So SHADOW.


Submitting Entries:

  1. An entry must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it will be posted as a shadow, and the competitor will be eliminated. "Received" means that I must have received a link to the finished song by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. One minute late is too late.  Deadlines are given in the US Eastern time zone.
  2. You are allowed to send in a "safety" draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens and you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song and send in a better version closer to the deadline. If you miss the deadline for the polished version, then the safety version will be used for judging. However, after judging is done, then the polished version will be included in the album.
  3. SUBMITTING BY EMAIL:
    1. Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE. Do not send MP3s.
    2. Name your file the song's title + the bandname, but without spaces & punctuation. Like this: "SummerRain-DrLindyke.wav"
    3. Title of the e-mail should identify the challenge and your band's name. Something like this would be fine: "ST13R1 - Dr. Lindyke".
    4. Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (remember, no instrumentals)
    5. Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collaborated with someone.
  4. SUBMITTING BY BANDCAMP:
    1. If you have a BandCamp account you can just send me a link to your song if you include all the info I mentioned for emails. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION! It guarantees that your file will contain all the proper information and will be in the right format.
  5. ALTERNATE FILE SHARING OPTIONS:
    1. Sound Cloud
    2. Drop Box
    3. Something I haven't thought of
    4. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Include in the email any required information (such as lyrics) that you couldn't include in the file. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.


Song Hosting (the BandCamp Album):

Each round I'll be uploading the songs onto BandCamp as an album. The songs will be set for free download only. BandCamp makes it easy to download songs, you can share one song individually or the album as a whole.

If you want to be entered into the contest, you must agree to the following:

  1. You allow your song to be on the album and made available to everyone under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This license allows us to re-distribute the songs and publish them on our Bandcamp page, but leaves you with all other rights. You retain all commercial ownership of your songs. If additional permissions are required for other purposes, we'll ask you.
  2. You allow your song to be played at the listening party and repeated on the recording of the LP on YouTube. (the license allows this)

Otherwise, best of of luck to you, but this is not the contest for you.


Prize:

If you are fortunate enough to win the contest, you will win the admiration and respect of your peers and a Highly Coveted No-Prize.

No trophy. No cash. We might come up with some token, but the real prize is knowing you won and the music itself. If you need gifts and thousands of fans to motivate you to write songs then this competition ain't for you.

The winner will be allowed to be a judge in the next competition, unless they wish to compete.


Listening Party:

Tom Giarrosso ("Tommy G") will be hosting the listening party (the "LP") for each round (he will also help with uploading). This will be live-streamed on YouTube shortly after the submission deadline for each round and will be recorded for replay on demand. Recordings may be made accessible through public access channels under the same Creative Commons license. Tommy G will explain how that works at the first LP or in the SpinTunes Facebook group.

This is your chance to get together with the other competitors in one virtual place while the songs are played for the very first time. SpinTunes is a very supportive community, so come get your ego stroked.


Meet The Judges:

List of judges: TBA

  • I am the alternate judge. If a judge is unable to do his/her job, I'll step in and take over. If the judge has to withdraw from the contest totally, I'll fill in until I can find a replacement. If I happen to have a guest judge lined up already, there will be no need for me to step in as alternate.
  • There could be "Guest Judges" who drop by from time to time. I'm not promising anything, but if I can swing something cool for you all I want to leave that open as a possibility. When a guest judge ranks and reviews a round, it does count toward the scores for the round. If a song is disqualified by the regular judges, the guest judge's rankings will be edited to stay in line with the judges decision. 



Judge Responsibilities:

  1. Before the contest starts, the judges will...
    1. Make and choose challenges in the soooper-secret virtual batcave they'll be invited to.
  2. Each round, the judges will
    1. Weigh in on whether entries failed to meet the challenge. Typically we'll have 48 hours after the songs get posted to do that. I am the final arbiter for disqualifications, so if you don't speak up in that window of time you'll have to live with a decision I make on my own.  I typically go with the majority decision of those who speak up.
    2. Rank the entries for each round. 
      1. If a song has been disqualified, it is ranked last, even if you think it shouldn't have been disqualified.
      2. If a song has not been disqualified and you think it should have been, you're free to rank it as your conscience dictates.
    3. Reviewing entries each round. Shadow entries don't have to be reviewed, but it would be nice if you found the time. You can type up your review or you can vlog it on YouTube. If you decide to vlog your review on YouTube, it needs to be kept private until after I post the reviews on the blog.
  3. Judges are responsible for checking their e-mail, and being generally accessible, especially on deadline nights. Sometimes issues requiring a decision just pop up.

Twitter:

For those of you that don't want to check this blog every day, but also use Twitter, I'll be posting updates on Twitter as well. @SpinTunes was created just for this contest, so we'll use it. You can unfollow it right after the contest if you want, my ego can take it.

There is a Twitter list that includes all the judges & competitors (SpinTunes List). Well, at least all the ones I know that are on Twitter.


Song Sharing:

They're your songs.  You are allowed to share your songs before the LP. In my opinion the songs will be better if you can go to another musician in this contest, share what you've got and get feedback. So if you want to share with a few friends or fellow competitors before the listening party feel free to do so.

Feel free to use your entries elsewhere, such as FAWM, Song Fight, Nur Ein, etc., keeping in mind the requirement that SpinTunes entries must be original, newly written, and meet the challenge.

However...

I would prefer it if you kept it low key, and not pimp it all over the net (via Twitter, YouTube, etc...) until after the LP, but that's up to you as well. It does take a little excitement away from the LP if people have already heard the songs. Common sense.

Just don't try to get feedback from a judge, or from me since I'm an alternate.


Re-recording & Remixes:

In previous contests some people sent their song in on time, but then after the deadline wanted to post an updated version onto the album (they added bells & whistles).

That's fine, but you will be judged by what you turned in before the deadline, which is also what will be played at the LP. Remixes will not be added to the album until after the judging is finished for that round.

So anyone who decides they want to make a better mix of their song, and have it replace the one they sent before...that's fine. Send me the info, and I'll switch the files out. I might not do it instantly, but it will be done. These songs are something you should be proud of, and some people are bugged by not being able to add everything they want in that small window I give them...so hopefully this helps...while still being fair.

In the end, album order is determined by how you scored in the round. But until the judges have scored the round, album order is originally determined by submission order.

Your order on the album will change if you send in an updated file. Keep in mind that this can be important to tie-breakers!!!


Multiple Songs:

You can enter ONE official entry each round until you are eliminated. There is no limit on how many shadow songs you can enter each round. If you are still in the contest and have multiple songs you wish to enter, you just have to pick of them to be your official entry, while the others are listed as a shadows.

If you do submit more than one shadow to a round after you've been eliminated from a previous round, you should indicate which shadow you would have submitted had you been a competitor.

Collaborations are OK. In fact, you're encouraged to collaborate with other competitors. Each band, though, should have a separate email address and a separate contact person.


Wrap Up:

I sadly live in the Real World, as do all of you. At times I may be busy with work and other responsibilities. I will enlist the help of judges and a few other trusted members of our community to help out from time to time. Don't be shocked if someone other than myself responds to you via one of the SpinTunes social media outlets.


Banned Individuals:

There have been banned individuals in the past. With the change of host, I'm declaring "Jubilee" and lifting those bans. There are no banned persons at this time.

That doesn't mean it couldn't happen again. It would take a lot, but reasons for banning someone include but are not limited to egregiously bad sportsmanship. I won't give a list of reasons because I'm sure that people are much more adept at causing trouble than I am at predicting it. So I reserve the right to ban anyone at any time should I determine they've given me just cause.

If someone is banned from SpinTunes it means they are banned from competing, shadowing, judging, & all the social parts of SpinTunes I administrate. They are also not allowed to collaborate on songs.  Anyone collaborating with a banned individual will be DQ'ed from the round & their song will not be played at the LP or put on the album.  Helping someone evade a ban can also lead to me banning another person.