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Monday, May 16, 2011

SpinTunes #3: Official Rules

These rules are not up for discussion at the moment. That time has passed. If something is confusing, needs clarification, if you just think I made a mistake or forgot something (it happens...it is late) feel free to mention your concern in the comments below. It will be addressed within 24 hours. (a draft of the schedule will be posted in a couple days)

It will have a similar schedule to SpinTunes #2. There will be 4 rounds. You will have 8-11 days to write, record & send in your song. There will be a short break between each round. During this time the song will be voted on, reviewed & prep for the next round will be made. For more info click: HERE.

Judges Voting:
There will be 5 judges who are not participating in the contest & who will not shadow rounds. Each round they will individually rate all the songs from favorite to least favorite. Then the judges scores will be posted & added up. Here's an example of what the judges scoring would look like:

Popular Vote:
Popular vote will still be a tie breaker, but it will also be a way for people to earn points toward their overall round score. In rounds 1 & 2 the popular vote will be scored like a judges ranking. In rounds 3 & 4 the popular vote only counts as a tie breaker.

If there is a tie in the popular vote in rounds 1 or 2, whoever turned their song in first will rank higher.

Each round people will be eliminated from the competition. The number of eliminations each round will not be known until after the round 1 songs are turned in. I want the number of people eliminated in rounds 1-3 to be the same (or close to the same), and 4 people left for the final round. So if 25 people submit songs for round 1: 7 people would be eliminated in round 1, 2 & 3....leaving 4 people in the final round. More details to be posted when the round 1 deadline has passed.

This is not a head to head contest, each round the competitors with the lowest vote totals are eliminated. After the eliminations all the point totals goes back to 0. You don't get to keep points from previous rounds.

Ties are settled by a popular vote in the form of a poll I'll start for each round. If somehow that is a tie as well, the point totals from the previous round will decide the winner. If by some miracle everything is tied, the final deciding factor is me.

Final Round:
In the last round, everyone who has been eliminated (who also submitted at least 1 song) will be allowed to rank the songs. This round the judges have no say in matters, but they will still be required to review each song. Rules for a tie are altered just a bit. Popular vote is the first deciding factor, then the judges, and then I am the last deciding factor.

The challenges will be similar to the old Song Fu & "Non Optional" Nur Ein challenges. If you go through the old challenges you'll see that they could be anything. You could be given a theme, restrictions, a technical challenge and hopefully you're forced to do things you've never done before. The challenges will be created by myself & the other judges before the contest even starts.

Submitting Entries:
- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox 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. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late people.

- 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. You do not have to send in MP3's.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- File sharing options if you need them: YouSendIt, Sound Cloud, Drop Box, RapidShare, ZShare & MediaFire. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. 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!

Each round I'll be uploading the songs onto BandCamp as an album. The songs will be set for free download only. BandCamp will make it easy to download songs, you can share 1 song individually or the album as a whole.

If you want to be entered into the contest, your song must be on the album made available to everyone for free. Otherwise you are DQed from the contest.

I didn't plan on there being a prize. No trophy. No cash. I wouldn't be against someone designing & donating a T-shirt for the winner. But the real prize is knowing you won & the music itself. If you need gifts & thousands of fans to motivate you to write songs in this competiton...it ain't for you.

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

Listening Party:
I'm planning on hosting a listening party for each round. Hopefully much like Song Fu we can all get together in one virtual place while the songs are played for the very first time for people. Usually this took place shortly after the submission deadline, and the songs were posted onto the site after the listening party.

I plan on holding the listening parties HERE, and the date & times for the listening parties can be found on the schedule.

Meet The Judges:
Here's a list of the people that will be making the challenges, reviewing your work & of course voting on the songs:

1. Mitchell Adam Johnson - The current champion of SpinTunes.

2. Mike Lombardo - Last Masters Of Song Fu champion.

3. Dave Santucci - is a professional whistler, songwriter, musician, and recording artist from Southern California. He has a small but loyal following on YouTube and recently released his first album, "My Lucky Day," on iTunes. Dave was recently diagnosed with chronic music-on-the-brain syndrome.

4. Ben Davila is the co-founder of The Song Club and has bin writing a song a week for over two years. He studied music at LIPA in Liverpool England before moving to San Fransisco. Ben is currently a member of Okay Jose a six piece indie rock band and is working as a music teacher at the bird school of music.

5. Glenn Case - Is the champion of the very first Nur Ein.

* 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. (Buck stops with me, but then I blame Heather.)

* There could be "Guest Judges" who drop by from time to time. A guest judge has to be approved by me ahead of 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 & 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. There could be as many as 4 guest judges in a round...but no promises.

* If judges want me to post a short bio or links to Twitter, YouTube or a band web site just send me the info and I will. Make it 500 characters or less like the competitors have to do though.

Judge Responsibilities:
- 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. You can even send a video review to me, and I'll upload it onto the SpinTunesMusic YouTube channel.

- Making the challenges via a super secret website I set up.

- After the songs get posted each round the judges will be allowed to post their thoughts on who failed to met the challenge. (in the super secret location) 48 hours after the songs get posted we need to have a decision on what songs did or didn't meet the challenge. If you don't speak up in that window of time you'll have to live with a decision I make on my own. More details will be shared in the super secret location when the time comes.

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. 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:
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 & get feedback. So if you want to share with a few friends or fellow competitors before the listening party feel free to do so.


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.

Rerecording & Remixes:
In the previous contest some people sent their song in ON TIME, but then after the deadline wanted me to post an updated version onto the album (they added bells & whistles). My response to that is ok, BUT you will be judged by what you turned in before the deadline. 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. Now I'm not going to have someone send me a new mix every month because they like remixing their own stuff all the time, but I'll allow 1 update of each song down the road. 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.

Multiple Songs:
You can enter 1 song each round until you are eliminated. There is no limit on how many shadow songs you can enter each round though. If you are still in the contest & have multiple songs you wish to enter, you just have to pick 1 song to be your official entry, while the other is listed as a shadow song.

If you are in 2 different bands, and wish to enter the contest 2 times that is fine. You can not just enter as yourself twice, or as the same band twice though. The bands need to be completely different not only in name, but they need to have contributing members that are different from each other who play a big role in the creation of the songs.

Wrap Up:
SpinTunes #2 went better than SpinTunes #1 in almost every way possible. My goal was to not repeat mistakes I made in the previous contest. That's pretty much going to be my goal again. You can ask questions by leaving a comment here on the blog, on Twitter or even on Formspring. (links in sidebar) I would rather people didn't use my e-mail UNLESS you're a judge or competitor.

Oh and remember, if anything does go wrong...it's STILL Heather's fault.


  1. Thank you Spin, you sure got this out FAST! Nicely detailed too, I can't see any way that someone couldn't understand the rules.
    Looking forward to it!

  2. Awesome, can't wait.

  3. Good stuff, Spin. Great to see Mitchell Adam Johnson returning to judge too.

  4. Challenge Suggestion:

    Write a song where there are no sounds lower than A440. (That's 440 Hertz, in case you didn't know.) That means instruments, vocals, ambient sounds -- all must be at a pitch of 440 Hz or higher. (And remember -- male voices sound an octave lower than they're usually written in sheet music, so don't get fooled. Use an electronic pitch-finder if you're not sure.)


  5. Challenge Suggestion:

    Write a song (in any style) that recycles the lyric from Rebecca Black's viral hit, "Friday." More specifically? You may ONLY use words that appear in "Friday"'s lyric, and you must use EVERY word that appears in the lyric. However, if a word appears multiple times (i.e. "We, we, we so excited..."), you do not have to use it as many times as ARK Music did. You may NOT, however, use a word MORE often than ARK Music did!


  6. Challenge Suggestion:

    Write a fugue based musically on the song "Tequila," but based lyrically on the Atlantis space shuttle launch -- the final launch of the program.


  7. Challenge Suggestion:

    Write a song that modulates often enough to use six different keys. (By "use," we mean at least eight contiguous measures in one key.) You may repeat keys throughout the song, but just switching back and forth from the key of E to the key of A three times won't suffice. And these aren't chord changes we're talking about here. Full-fledged key changes. Half-step modulations are fine. A shift between parallel minor and major keys is fine. But you should be able to list six different key signatures that occur in your song.

    (For the record? Singing a cappella poorly enough that you slide into and out of six or more keys doesn't count...)


  8. Easy. Start in A-double-sharp then goto B and C-flat. Then up a half-step to B-sharp then C and end on D-double-flat. Six completely different key signatures. What? You didn't say they couldn't be enharmonic.

  9. "They can't be enharmonic."



  10. (Although, I'd kind of like to see your sheet music that goes from 17 sharps to 5 sharps to 7 flats, then goes up a half step to 12 sharps, then no accidentals, to 12 flats. You show me the sheet music, I'll let the infraction slide...)



  11. I got your sheet music...
    (touches a button)

  12. Thanks for making me feel stupid, guys. Also appreciated.

  13. Edric just gets more evil all the time, doesn't he...

  14. The new multiple songs guidelines seems to leave the door open for an interesting situation. Imagine 10 people. ABC are one band. BCD another. CDE another. DEF, EFG, FGH, GHI, HIJ, IJA, JAB are the others. Each of those bands has unique membership compared to all the others, yet the new guideline would seem to allow these 10 people to each make 10 contributions to each round. A curious possibility :)

    Perhaps the issue shouldn't so much be that the various members of differently composed bands all need to "play a big role" as you say here, but, rather, basically the opposite, the inverse. That any individual person may only "play a big role" in a single non-shadow entry per round, and then may also play at most a secondary/supporting role on however many other entries. This would allow for the collaboration/camaraderie of participation in however many multiple songs while also ensuring that, from a contest standpoint, each entrant has undivided loyalties with respect to the competition among entries, since each person would have to stand most strongly behind just one entry, i.e., whichever one-and-only-one they "played a big role" in.

  15. The multiple song rule, also known as the 'Nur Ein Pop Machine debacle rule' shouldn't effect the principal idea that you can have as many people working on your songs as will fit sonically in the .mp3.

    So, if we, in a fit of madness, decide to include all the members of 'Madness' into our little troupe, as guest musicians or as regular members, they're welcome to join us, or play on any other group's material, as long as they pass the psychiatric exams.

    And for those of you who missed it, Al and I entered 2 bands in Nur Ein - Al as the Dr. Demento featured band 'Pop Machine' and I as 'Boffo Yux Dudes', with each guesting on the other's tracks. However, I don't think we'll be doing that for ST3.

    BYD has a rich history with SpinTunes and Nur Ein of either having a massive computer crash/power failure in a critical time frame, or just being voted off the island in the first round.

    Expect many shadow songs from us this time. We're inspired by Duality's record of 5 in one round, and aim to break it this year.

  16. I am entered as Menage' a Tune, but for me to manage to get a tune out I could really use some help from folks who can play something- piano, guitar, harp, bassoon, kettle drums, even a uke would be great! If you would be willing to have me send you whatever lyrics and tune I have created for that round so you can put a bit of instrumentation to it, or even to sing along, please let me know!

  17. SIDE CHALLENGE: Anyone who breaks the Duality237 shadow record will get one song written for them on the topic of their choice with either Denbrain, Joebrain, or both singing. Your choice.
    Duality will not be returning for competition but will show up as part of the supergroup Donutworthy, who will sign up when Den gets Internet at her hotel now that Nur Ein is over for her.
    ~Joe'n'Den~ cannot usually resist throwing a shadow in tho- or even just one of us as our own selves :) you never know what could happen this competition!