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<title>A free, open song contest idea </title>
<p>
I'm thinking about song contests, what a scam they usually are, but don't have to be.
</p><p>
By “song contests”, I mean all those ones that want a <strong>submission fee to enter, promising big prizes if you win, and whose judges are a small group of insiders</strong>.
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<strong>Doesn't it seem so out-dated, unnecessary, and greedy?</strong>
</p><p>
Why not make a <strong>totally-free annual song contest done only for the benefit of the art/craft of songwriting?</strong> Wide open and community-driven.
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It costs almost nothing to set up a simple site where songwriters can upload their best song, and people can vote on them.
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The listening, judging, and voting is best done by the largest number of people possible. (Read “<a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/features/wisdomofcrowds/">The Wisdom of Crowds</a>” if you disagree.)
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It'd be double-blind anonymous, so listeners won't know who they're listening to, preventing favoritism or ballot-stuffing. (They can find out who it is after they vote, so they can find more about the ones they loved.)
</p><p>
Every negative vote against a song would have to include a reason, so the songwriter can receive some constructive critique.
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Companies that provide services or products for musicians would be asked to contribute something as a prize. Every prize will be listed so that each songwriter uploading a song gets to choose which prize they would like if they win. Maybe you need a marketing consultation, but don't need a ProTools plugin.
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With lots of prizes, that means lots of winners, instead of just one.
</p><p>
Companies would get good advertising from thousands of musicians considering each of their offerings, and saying which they want.
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Songwriters would get good critique on their song, bragging rights and a prize if they win.
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Listeners would be both music-fans looking for great new music, and fellow songwriters who must judge a few anonymous songs for every one of theirs they want entered.
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The website interface would be in many languages, so songwriters and listeners from Japan to Brazil to Greece to Russia could all contribute equally.
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Have it funded by someone who isn't trying to profit off of this, but just thinks it should exist. (<a href="http://sivers.org/">me?</a>)
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I love how <a href="http://jpfolks.org/home.html">Just Plain Folks Music Awards</a> does it. I'd say they are closest to this vision.
</p><p>
Seems it'd take nothing but one programmer and one organizer to make it happen. <strong>What do you think? Any thoughts or ideas? I'm just thinking out loud. The idea is only a few minutes old, so be as critical as you want.</strong>
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