Where Music & Dance Fall Face First Into The Internet

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Song Fu Withdrawl?

Ok...ever since Ken Plume pulled the plug on Masters Of Song Fu, some people that used to participate have been sort of wondering what to do now. I've been in chats with a number of people where the subject turns to starting a Song Fu replacement. I've suggested people try Song Fight & Nur Ein, but most were more interested in having their own thing. Russ Rogers is attempting a project called "The White Elephant" over on Facebook. That has interested some, while others seem to want a simpler more structured approach.

I know Jeff MacDougall toyed with the idea of starting something, but thus far it was only discussion with a few of the old TMA crew (as far as I know). Lots of ideas have been floated around by many people. A few have suggested I do something with Spintown, and I've always come up with many excuses for not doing it. A recent discussion over at ArtiFiction with Bryce, Heather & JoAnn finally got me to thinking it's something I can handle on a small scale here at Spintown.

If I do this, and right now I'm just seeing if there's interest from people to participate, it will NOT be Song Fu. It would be a cross between Song Fu & Nur Ein, hopefully taking what most people like best about each.

Official Sign Up Info

It will have a similar schedule to Song Fu. There will be 4 rounds. You will have 9-12 days to write, record & send in your song. There will be a short break of 5-7 days between each round. During this time the song will be voted on, reviewed & prep for the next round will be made. A final schedule will be made when we see how many people are interested in participating. (Rough Draft Of Schedule)

The voting will be done like Nur Ein. There will be 5 judges who are not participating in the contest (probably all from the old TMA community). Each round they will individually rate all the songs from favorite to least favorite. Then the judges scores will be posted & added up. There will be NO popular vote. Here's an example of what the scoring would look like:

Each round people will be eliminated from the competition. I can't say how exactly the break down will go until I know how many people are participating. But lets say 20 people enter; 6 would be voted out the first round, 6 the second round, 6 the third round, and then the last round would be the final two competitors. If you are eliminated or fail to enter the contest, you can still enter shadow entries. This is not a head to head contest, the competitors with the lowest vote totals are eliminated. Ties are settled by a popular vote in the form of a poll I'll start for each round.

Final Round:
In the last round, everyone who has been eliminated will be allowed to vote. Again, a popular vote will be used as a tie breaker. This round the judges have no say in matters. However they will still be required to review each song.

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, and hopefully you're forced to do things you've never done before. The challenges will be created by myself & the other judges. You will be required to send in your entries as MP3's along with the LYRICS of your entry.

In the past when people suggested I do something like this, hosting was one of the excuses I used not to do it. However...I think BandCamp a long with a widget Heather Zink found will handle any problems I had. Each round the songs would be uploaded onto this blog with this widget:

Band email marketing
With this you can listen to all the songs right here at Spintown without going anywhere. The songs will also be uploaded onto BandCamp each round as an album/EP. So the songs will be posted on a temp basis here, but permanently on BandCamp. The songs will be set for free download only, and everyone would have to be ok with this going into the competition. BandCamp will make it easy to download songs, share 1 song individually or the round as a whole. I set up an account, but I am not very familiar with the ins & outs of copyright. So anyone with a BandCamp account that knows a little more about doing compilation albums...drop me a line.

I didn't plan on having there be a prize. No trophy. No cash. When we come up for a name for this competition 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 & hundreds of popular votes to motivate you to write songs in this competiton...it ain't for you. Nothing against those things, we just ain't having it. (aside from tie breakers) If this goes well, I will consider bringing in a popular vote in some form if people demand it.

Wrap Up:
I could get sign ups started as soon as next week if the interest is there. I mean I'm ready, my partner Heather is ready, I could get a couple more judges & everything started very quickly. One thing I promise is that I'll be more open & reachable then a certain someone who's name sounds like doom.

Your Input:
Most of this stuff is set in stone as far as I'm concerned. I could use input from yall in a couple areas though:

- Are you interested in competing? Give me a definate 'yes' or 'no' if you can participate....if you can that is.

- What should this competition be called?

- A little advice about BandCamp, and setting up a compilation album.

- Have I overlooked something or need to explain something a little more?

- If you don't have a Blogger account & want to leave a comment below that's fine. But leave your name in the comment or contact me via e-mail @


  1. Sounds like fun. Boffo Yux Dudes is in.

  2. I am in too...because somebody has to come in last.

  3. I am excited cause it means more new songs!

  4. I'll be a judge, if you still need 'em.

  5. Of course I'd love to participate if you can organize the rest. Love doing this kind of thing and it's been too long since SongFu forced me to write and record songs...

  6. Judging others?
    Solely on their musical output???

    That is SO WRONG that I simply MUST do it !

  7. Oops, didn't see you could just comment if you were in or not, sent a mail... Anyway, I'd like to participate, or judge if there's nobody more qualified. XD

  8. Tom, Bryce, Densie, Chas & Bram are all in. That makes 5 for sure, and Caravan Ray, Ross Durand, Craig Bevan are maybes at this point. 7 more firm commitments, and I'll put up sign up info, and get things rolling by making a schedule etc..etc...


    We have enough judges now. There is a chance I may pass on being a judge & pick 1 more to take my place before it starts. I'll decide that later though.

    Thanks for those who have expressed interest in competeing, judging or just following along.

  9. It's been a while since my Fu was stretched.... I'm up for this!

  10. I would consider doing this as long as it wasn't in the summer.

  11. Hey, Travis!

    Since you're inviting folks on Twitter (and since I'm not a Twit), could you tweet an invitation to some of the other folks I really enjoyed in Song Fu that might not be aware of this? I'm thinking in particular of Jason Morris (@JasonLMorris), Jarrett Heather (@SpaceParanoids), Caleb Lee (@thecaleblee), and Josh Holober-Ward (@I-don't-know-his-Twitter-name-but-I-really-liked-his-songs...).

    I'm most likely along for the ride on this. The set-up sounds quite good. I'm just secretly hoping that the challenges themselves are much more like Song Fu challenges than Song Fight or Nür Ein challenges. I'm not really a big fan of "Here's the title..." It was fun once (IAMSATE), but I thought the other challenges were much more fulfilling, as they were more diverse, and had greater potential to stretch and push musicians in new and exciting directions that they might not otherwise have explored...

    That's just my two cents. If it's really just a penny for my thoughts, I'll leave it to you to decide what to do with the change. (Maybe start a fund to get Sammy an iMac?)


  12. Very interested in this -- BUT, we are in the midst of moving, and all my gear is in boxes in preparation for setting up a new home studio room in the new house. So it isn't likely I could actually be able to do any decent recording until July. (Paul/CommonLisp)

  13. I would LOVE to judge. Of course, I also like the idea of a popular vote being the "fifth judge" as well, but I understand your not wanting a popular vote at all. As a Song Fu contestant, the worst part of the competition (for me) was all the self-promotion that went into it. It tended to distract from the creative element.

  14. I'm in, I'm in, I'm in. I'm sooooo in.

    I'm in.

  15. Ok, right now I've got 9 firm commitments from:
    Tom, Denise, Bryce, Bram, Chas, Mick, Edric, Sara & Kevin.

    Craig Bevan, Caravan Ray & Ross Durand are still maybeish leaning toward yes.

    Once I get 3 more firm commitments I'll post a sign up blog, and get to work.


    PS: Thank you.

  16. Josh Holober-WardJune 2, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Hey, just got your email and read your post.

    Yknow what, I've written far too little (see: one song) since Song Fu ended... so what the heck, I'll do it! :D I love the new voting system (based on quality, not quantity? WOO!)

    I'm doing a lot of traveling and stuff this summer so I might miss one or two rounds, but I'll do as much as I can :)

    Looking forward to hearing everyone's music again,

  17. Uh oh, the heavy hitters are rolling in...

  18. Nice idea, Travis. When would the competition start? I won't be able to commit to something like this until the end of June.

  19. I'd definitely be interested.

  20. OK, it's official we have enough to give this the green light. Kylie, Josh & Godz Poodlz have given us 13 firm commitments, and we got 1 more maybe.

    The Official Sign Up Page (along with more details) will be posted around 12-1AM EST tonight & sign ups will last until Thursday, June 10th 11:59 PM EST.

    The first challenge will be posted Saturday, June 12th 1AM EST.

    That's the most I can tell you now about the schedule. I'll get to work on the rest of it shortly.


  21. YAY!!!!! I just facebooked it for the Austin folks on my end. No promises. but I'd really like some local blood from here. :)

  22. Thanks for the invite - I'm in. -Glen Raphael

  23. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait until the second contest. Vacation planned from 6/14-6/30, so I'd miss the first two rounds. I'll be sure to follow as best I can though. Good luck all!

  24. Oh well. Way too soon for me. I'm fried from Nur Ein. Hopefully I could do the next one. I'll be paying attention though. Sounds like fun.

  25. It starts after school gets out? Inn like a small motel with a bar and restaurant owned by an elderly couple. Or whatever. In.

  26. Call me a definite maybe. I'm pondering whether I need to commit to forcing deadlines on myself or entering into something where deadlines are external.

  27. Godz Poodlz are in for this one! Yeah!

    And as far as #NAMETHISCONTEST goes, call the contest "Songtown." Use the phrase, "Who will be the next Mayor of Songtown?" I think "Mayor of Songtown" has a nice ring. It references "Spintown," and it has a cadence like "Master of Song Fu."

    BTW, Denise Hudson made a perfectly silly and wonderful video/song about Godz Poodlz and this contest. It's called "Poodlz... OR DIE." Check it out, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmXXSIoVfQQ

  28. Hey Travis, thanks for the heads-up. I'd love to do this. Count me in. --Jenny

  29. I'd love to give this a try too! Count me in. :-)

  30. For those that have said they wanted in, you need to send me an e-mail with all the required info. Details here: http://spintown79.blogspot.com/2010/06/official-sign-ups-start-now.html