SAMPLE PACK CONTEST X: "SPCXmas"


Past deadlines: Sample submission, Wed. November 6th @ 00:00:01 EST
Song submission, Wed. December 25th @ 00:00:01 EST
Voting, Sat. January 11th @ 00:00:01 EST

IT'S OVERRRRR! Check out the results with everyone's scores and comments here!
The full Sample Pack Contest X album is out on Bandcamp!
Lastly, Sample Pack Contest XI is underway hosted by zenkusa at the link provided.

Overview

Sample Pack Contest is a series of original music-writing contests hosted via VGMusic.com that began in 2005, originally on VGMusic's forums and now on its Discord server.

It follows a fairly straightforward 3-phase structure:

Phase 1: Sample submission. The community are initially asked to submit sound samples (WAVs) 5 seconds or less (details explained below), which are collected by an organizer and then re-released as a sample pack (ZIP archive). You are free to submit samples even if you don't write music for the contest and vice versa. Samples can be nearly anything (music, memes, sound effects, etc) but the organizer is free to reject samples for certain reasons (see below).

Phase 2: Track submission. The entrants download the sample pack and use the samples to create original music (not remixes) using whatever tools they have available (DAWs/samplers/trackers/DSPs/etc), but they are not allowed to use any other sample libraries or synthesizers.

Phase 3: Voting. The tracks are anonymized and released for scoring. In order to keep voting impartial, everyone is advised to not reveal which track(s) they created (or which tracks they think others created). Tracks are rated on a 100-point scale by everyone who cares to do so, even people who didn't participate in the contest. After scores are submitted, the organizer will announce the winner and reveal who made what. The completed album will eventually go on Bandcamp. Speaking of which, SPCX has arrived on Bandcamp - check it out!




Phase 1: Sample Submission

First off: Please send in your samples for SPCXmas to @damifortune#0407 on Discord (preferred) or to hvb@hvbmusic.net via email. The deadline is Wednesday, November 6th @ 00:00:01 EST, or right after Tuesday concludes in Eastern Standard Time. The pack will be posted shortly thereafter.
Sample submission has closed for SPCXmas; get the sample pack here (60 samples)!

Guidelines for submitting samples:

* Submit up to two (2) audio samples - fewer is fine. Submitting samples does not oblige you to enter songs into the contest, and you can still enter SPC even if you did not submit samples. Please keep your submissions anonymous - they will be publicly revealed after song submission is closed. [Note: This is a change from past SPCs allowing 3 samples due to growth of the contest.]

* The samples can be of almost anything - everything from synthesizer/rompler presets, drum samples+loops, vocals/singing/speech, ambience, sounds you've recorded yourself, found sounds/plunderphonics from games/TV/popular music, dank memes etc. The most important exception is blatantly inflammatory and uncool material (anything prejudiced/racist/sexist/etc).

* Sound format must be WAV @ 44.1KHz, 16-bit PCM or higher - stereo or mono is acceptable. If you are adamant about submitting a specific sound that is unavailable in the desired quality, it will be converted to the aforementioned format. It's also recommended that you trim beginning/end silence from and normalize your samples.

* Samples must be limited to 5.0 seconds in length, and should not be pitched up to get them under the permitted timeframe.

* Samples must be "one-shots"/a continuous recording from one source - in the interests of fairness please avoid combining lots of distinct sounds into one WAV file. For example, a drumbreak is acceptable, but multiple distinct percussive sounds played in succession is not. Hopefully this is clear!

* It is preferred that you avoid shortlooped or "chip" samples for the purposes of SPC. This is because literally any sound can be shortlooped into a square wave anyway.

* While this gets relatively more difficult with every contest, avoid submitting sounds that appeared in previous SPCs.

* Because this SPC coincides with Christmas, you are encouraged (but not required) to submit samples that are Christmasy, wintry in any way, or otherwise embodying the holiday season.




Phase 2: Track Submission

First off: Download the sample pack here! There are 60 samples this time. They have been normalized, cleaned of silence and stripped of metadata. Because this is a Christmas contest, the deadline for track submission is the start of Christmas Day (in EST).
[Note: If you downloaded the pack within the first 45 minutes of its release, you will be missing two samples; please redownload the pack and sorry for the inconvenience. Double check that you have 60 total samples.]

Track submission has closed for SPCXmas; download the votepack here (.flac lossless) or here (.mp3 320cbr) (56 tracks) and put your scores and comments here (now closed)!

Guidelines for creating tracks:

* Use only the provided samples in your DAW/VSTi sampler/tracker of choice. Do not use any other synthesizers or sample libraries in your songs.

* Use as many or as few of the samples as you wish. You are encouraged to use an audio editor to edit the samples and derive original sounds; think about looping, pitch, selection work, dynamics, baked-in effects etc.

* VST effects such as reverb, delay, distortion, chorus, phaser, flanger, pitch-shift, auto-tune etc. are all permitted and encouraged in your arrangements.

* Effects that also generate audio for a carrier signal (i.e. vocoders) are a grey area, but we've allowed them in previous contests and they are permitted.

* Avoid the cop-out of ultra-shortlooped (or "chipped") samples/generally avoid making chiptunes - more of a request than a hard rule. It's generally recommended that the sample retain some of its character.

* Keep your entries a secret from everyone as authors will be revealed when results are announced.

* Collaborations are permitted.

* This contest is intended for original music only - not remixes or covers.

* Final catch-all rule: for anything else not covered, the basic rule is if you feel you are taking unusual liberties you probably are.

* Good luck and have fun!

How to submit a track:

* Please send in your tracks for SPCXmas to @damifortune#0407 on Discord (preferred) or to hvb@hvbmusic.net via email. The deadline is Wednesday, December 25th @ 00:00:01 EST, or the very beginning of Christmas Day in Eastern Standard Time. Tracks will be uploaded shortly thereafter.

* Submit as few or as many tracks as you wish.

* Please clearly state your Artist Name and Song Title(s) with your submissions. Metadata will be stripped, but try to avoid tagging the file with your artist name.

* File format should be CD-quality audio in FLAC or WAV. Avoid lossy formats if at all possible.

* IMPORTANT: By submitting songs to Sample Pack Contest X you consent to your music being freely redistributed as a part of its resulting compilation album. All other rights with respect to your music are unaffected.




Phase 3: Voting (Score and Comment Submission)

First off: There will be two weeks for voting because Christmas through New Years is a very busy time for many people. Two weeks means a deadline of Wednesday, January 8th @ 00:00:01 EST for track scoring and commenting.
Download the votepack here (.flac lossless) or here (.mp3 320cbr)! Google Forms is being used to collect scores and comments. The voting form is here. You are allowed to edit your votes until the deadline once you have submitted; be sure to bookmark the editing link URL after submission to retain access.
VOTING IS OVER! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

How voting works + guidelines for voting:

* Scores will be submitted via a form which will be made available after the entries are collected. You will find a link to it here on this webpage when the "votepack" of anonymized tracks goes out on Christmas Day (Dec. 25). Here is the voting form. (voting is over now)

* Voting consists of a) scoring the tracks 0-100 and b) writing comments. You are welcome to provide only one or the other if you so choose, and though feedback is encouraged, you do not have to comment (or vote) on every track.

* You are free to use any sort of scoring system you wish as long as it does not involve knowing the identity of another entrant. (The range of scores is integers 0-100.)

* Comments are not anonymized and should be kept civil.

* Do not vote more than once or under multiple names.

* Do not vote for your own entries. You are, however, encouraged to leave comments on your own track(s) with whatever notes you wish.

* The organizer reserves the right to remove votes if they seem suspicious or bot-like.

* It is recommended that you not publicly say who you think made a given track during the voting period. For SPC veterans, there may be obvious tells; consider replacing their name with "author", "this person" etc. if you wish to discuss. Listing your guesses within your comments during voting is totally fine.

* During this time frame, the list of samples and their submitters will be released. (Check out the sample submitter list here!) Shortly before voting concludes, a list of participants with the number of tracks they made will be released (note: collaborations will be listed separately as just "Collaborations").




Album Release

Sample Pack Contest X is out! Grab the full album with all artist attributions here!

Some time after scores are released, the full album will go up on Bandcamp with all artist attributions.

Scores, comments and final results will be shared in a Google spreadsheet after the voting round concludes, and a winner will be announced!

An SPC tradition is to have album art featuring as many visual representations of samples in the pack as possible. There will be a spreadsheet for sample submitters to fill in their sources as well as possible images to use as representation. We will need someone to make an album cover; if this winds up interesting you at all, please let us know!