Remix competitions

There are plenty of remix competitions to be found on the web. They usually let you download the individual tracks (drums, bass, vocals…), thereby allowing you to use and abuse them as you feel like in your mix. In case you want to hunt for a good track to work on, here are two things you should be aware of.

The first is copyright. If it is a major artist it is probably stated explicitly. Around ten years ago I did a mix of Mariah Carey’s Lovin U Long Time along with around one thousand other hopefuls. The conditions were that Mariah Carey owned the rights to everything, EVERYTHING, produced by the participants. Strictly speaking, I am not allowed to play my own mix to a friend in my living room without permission. Nowadays I stay clear of remix competitions with such draconian terms. If it is a minor artist then usually there is nothing stated explicitly (“upload your mix to our SoundCloud page, and we will pick a winner”). It is important to be aware that by default the artist owns the rights to everything. Nevertheless, if the artist thinks it is okay to put the mix on their SoundCloud page where everybody can download it, then they are probably not going to sue you for uploading it somewhere else at a later date. After all, it is in their interest to get as much exposure as possible. Just make sure you give credit where credit is due.

The second is the problem of ‘fake’ contests. It sometimes happens that your submission, along with everybody else’s, disappears into a black hole. I once sent a mix by email to HipHop Canada. There were no updates on the site but out of the blue several months later a winner was announced without any further details. Chances are the remix was assigned to ‘the winner’ in advance and genuine submissions were ignored. I was really happy with my mix, and I would like to include it here, but I am not going to give exposure to someone who doesn’t deserve it. In addition, I don’t trust that those people would show me any goodwill if they came across my track in the public domain. As mentioned above, by default the copyright belongs to the creator alone.

Love of the Summer by Paula Seling

Paula Seling is a Romanian singer who has represented her country in the Eurovision Song Contest. Around that time, she had a remix competition on the site but for some reason it suddenly got taken down. I don’t know what happened to my mix but it obviously didn’t make me famous. Nevertheless, the kind people from her management have confirmed I can post the track in the public domain as long as the appropriate credits are included. Let me also mention that Paula Seling has a SoundCloud page with some remixes, including the winner of the Love Of The Summer contest (so apparently there was a contest after all). In my mix all the instruments behind the vocals are done by me.

Koala by Vinyljacket

An entry for a remix competition by British band Vinyl Jacket (website not live, Facebook page has not been updated for a long time). I was in third place and the band sent me a handwritten note and a CD single in the post. What gents! I did the layered drums, fretless bass, and some synths as well. The original track wasn’t recorded to a click so I had to adjust the tempo manually in my DAW.

Los Feeling by Visitor

No, it is not a spelling mistake. Entry for a remix competition of Los Feeling by Visitor. I did layered drums, triggering acoustic samples on top of loops from Stylus RMX by Spectrasonics. I also did some synths, a soft pad and a droning bass.