Mix Challenge - Gossip and Discussion

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
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KVRAF
2342 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Post Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:46 am

The main problem of the Mix Challenge is a shortage of song submitters. True? I guess the problem of not having enough song submitters could be solved if you find out exactly why that is. Why potential song submitters are not submitting. It occurred to me that if the song submitter is not required to evaluate the mixes then you might have at least two more song submitters: me and that other guy/gal. And perhaps many others. Couldn't the Mix Challenge be both "client evaluated" and "professional evaluated"? If you have prize donors couldn't you also have a dedicated "professional mixer" donate by evaluating the mixes. I mean it seems to me a songwriter, in the offline world, would pay 100+ dollars to have their song mixed by a professional mixing company precisely because the songwriter thinks "I don't know jack s**t about mixing I will pay a pro do it". I, myself, certainly don't know anything about mixing and so how can I be a competent judge of mixes?

Also it occurred to me that if the "community evaluated" results could be rigged via influence on media sites then couldn't the "client evaluated" way also be be rigged by mixers bribing the client?

So, I am guessing that, in ADDITION to the current way of client evaluated method, if the client could just say "Here are the stems to my songs, you mixers do whatever you like with it, I leave the choosing of the winner to a trusted professional mixer" then the song shortage might be a lot less at the Mix Challenge.

Is the experience of knowing what it's like to deal with a professional mixing company really necessary? I figure, if a client has decided "I want a professional mixing company to mix my song" that client is going to do it anyways even if they have no experience. And they could get their first experience that way by just going ahead and hiring the professional mixing company who was probably chosen because of good reputation or in other words being recommended by others who have hired them in the past.

I would submit my song not because I want experience in what's it like dealing with a professional mixing company but because I am curious whether my turd of a song can really be polished. Hahaha. Maybe others also think that way?
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

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KVRAF
2342 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Post Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:01 am

Fox, I did get your message. I am now just trying to figure out how to reply. The link you gave me, what do I do with it? Clicking it leads to a blank page. Doh me. I am really new to the ways of private messaging and email replying. Pardon me.
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

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KVRian
517 posts since 31 May, 2015 from the Iberian Peninsula

Post Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:52 am

And how do you get a professional mixer to do the judge of MC job?

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

12411 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Post Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:44 pm

Compyfox wrote:Honestly - why is there such a fix on a voting system? I really don't get it!
How about we try a simplified system and see if that helps get more song contributors? Maybe more people will want to contribute if they only have to upload stems and can then walk away. I'd be happy to be the first guinea pig contributor.

KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:46 am

Harry, check your PM's again. I explained what's going on.


And sorry for not responding sooner - still not feeling that well. And I guess I have to lie down for a while again after this post.


harryupbabble wrote:The main problem of the Mix Challenge is a shortage of song submitters. True? I guess the problem of not having enough song submitters could be solved if you find out exactly why that is. Why potential song submitters are not submitting.
I've been trying to find that out for over one year at this point. I still don't have any solution. Neither do the song providers or the participants of the challenge.


harryupbabble wrote:It occurred to me that if the song submitter is not required to evaluate the mixes then you might have at least two more song submitters: me and that other guy/gal. And perhaps many others.
If you mean by "that other guy" the user camsr - well he's sadly basically barking up our tree since pretty much day 1. I've yet to see a move towards to us, rather than us constantly paddling back.

I can't speak for others. But I can at least speak for myself. The people (clients) I worked with behind the scenes (PM and mail) were mostly responsive, thankful for all the time invested and feeling appreciated for paying attention to detail. There will always be people that think a bit different on the long run (like "too much work", or "I can't do this!") - but I guess that's life.


harryupbabble wrote:Couldn't the Mix Challenge be both "client evaluated" and "professional evaluated"? If you have prize donors couldn't you also have a dedicated "professional mixer" donate by evaluating the mixes. I mean it seems to me a songwriter, in the offline world, would pay 100+ dollars to have their song mixed by a professional mixing company precisely because the songwriter thinks "I don't know jack s**t about mixing I will pay a pro do it". I, myself, certainly don't know anything about mixing and so how can I be a competent judge of mixes?
Okay, I'll stop it right there and cut the "voting system" commentary once and for all.


The voting system resulted in a huge backlash from Mix Challenge 01 up to Mix Challenge 04 (the first time we introduced the "Client Evaluation" system, and while still fine tuning the rule set). A lot of angry PM's were forwarded to the headmaster (Uncle E) and we three hosts had long debates via PM/mail on which route to go. We decided to simplify things and split the workload on to all participants to have a more balanced system and less general legwork. In fact, part of the rule set for a long time was "if you won the challenge, you provide the next track" - nobody ever did that, so we removed that as well.

Then basically "life" happened and the workload shifted once more. Uncle E is now the "voice of reason" and a fixed sponsor, satYatunes is now doing designs and, handles both sponsors/won licenses and is a sponsor himself, I do everything else and try to keep the game running.

In summary, the "client evaluation system" was taken really well. No more complaints from/about the participants, no more bad blood. Unless we talk obvious trolls and people that find issue with pretty much anything. But that toned down drastically. So why should we get back to a system that caused us more headaches than it's worth?



On top of that, how do you expect that we handle the inclusion of a "professional mix engineer evaluation"? Especially if we talk outside, independent sources. I know that other challenges did this and that money was specifically raised for that cause. But do you know what workload is involved, and for long it lasted? How to find somebody that will ALWAYS have the time every month while remaining objective and helpful enough to not scare away participants?

Once more - we're not on IndabaMusic or similar. We're currently(!) on KVR Audio. We try to motivate people to to have fun with mixing and maybe learn something new in the process, rather than bribe them into something like... "look, you can win xyz amount of USD, look, you get these and that prices, and xyz engineer judges your tracks!". There are plenty of challenges all over the web for that purpose. Yes, this might draw a lot of crowd, but for what do they really join in this case?

Interesting approach, but I sometimes get the impression that people don't think ahead enough. Yes, we can completely shift the course of the challenge, focus merely on fame and action rather than familiarity and a possible learning factor. But honestly - would you want to go that route? I sure don't.



To the concern "I, myself, certainly don't know anything about mixing and so how can I be a competent judge of mixes?", I can only say this:

Even if you're not a good mixer yourself, or know basically jack about it (which is why you probably got involved in this), you're still qualified to "comment" on the mixes. Why? Because it is your production. You alone know which route this should go if you'd ask somebody else to mix it up. Only you can decide if you like the endresult or not. You basically have the ultimate power, since you're the creator, the "client".

The idea of the Mix Challenge is to built upon the given tracks, elevate them into new heights (within given limitations) with the style of the mix participants. Sometimes the style from a complete stranger (non regular) is just the thing that a/the client is looking for, and this would turn into an instant favor. Would you have found that person if you would have gone by "popular/trusted faces" only?

And this is where the bigger problem regarding the voting system sets in. Now let us assume we go back to the "voting system" (which we won't!), and there is this one special mixer among the participants. However according to "popular votes" (which can be rigged - ever heard of the Eurovision Song Contest "befriended country" votes?), only the most smoothest, bland and boring mix gets the highest scores while the "special mixer" didn't get any points at all. Honest question: Would you be satisfied? I guess not. And this was the biggest complaint/outburst/discussion at the beginning of the Mix Challenge. This is why we introduced the change.


So are you qualified to judge all submitted mixes? Yes you are!

Even if it's only "I like this instrument section, but at that part you could turn down the volume a bit", or "I don't like this effect on instrument abc, could you please remove it?!", heck even "the kick is a bit droning, sorry - can't describe it any better - can you please fix that?!" or "the track is too mid-range heavy, it hurts my ears".

This is what it's all about! It is a learning process for everyone involved, it's interacting with musicians and mix specialists. In fact, this is why we have two Mix Rounds these days. In theory we could have three to five and drop out 2-3 participants with each round. But even though this would be more like how the "reality works", it would drag it on for too long for a challenge, so we had to streamline the process to handle one challenge per month.

And if you're scared that your commentary is not good enough - heck I was even forwarded some of the judging in recent months via PM before it got posted, to check if things are all right. This is also one of the reason why I don't join the challenge anymore - because the behind the scenes work (communication with several people at once) eats up a lot of time. And I have to be somewhat neutral as well.


harryupbabble wrote:I would submit my song not because I want experience in what's it like dealing with a professional mixing company but because I am curious whether my turd of a song can really be polished. Hahaha. Maybe others also think that way?
This is the spirit we try to spread on KVR... Unless the production is super minimal (yes, that is subjective!), and/or needs a lot of work in terms of songwriting still, pretty much every track has potential.

This is why we say "contact us, send us a demo, then we go from there". In some cases, certain productions even got overhauled/drastically cleaned up prior to turning into a "Challenge". (I think I can mention it now, I was involved with helping to modernize Jeff StClair's track "It came upon the midnight clear", and EricTracks slightly overhauled this track "All We Ever Were" as well)

If nobody does that first step, because they think "I'm not good enough for this", "my track is turd anyway", "I can't judge tracks - I don't feel qualified" or even "I never did this, nobody will walk me through anyway" (which I do - MC24 by Loris is a prime example!), then it's no wonder that the Song Pool will eventually run dry.

And then the challenge is over.

I think the biggest questions with this particular debate would be:
How can we lower the threshold for possible song providers?
How do we take away their fear of submitting?
How should we "present" this better to the masses?

My biggest concern with the "Song Pool Campaign Thread" is not necessarily how it's written. My concern is, that it's just at the wrong place, it's not "visible" enough. So what should we do with that?




Which is a great transition back to the questions at hand!

:arrow: Would a dedicated homepage, a global source of information, theoretically boost interest in the Challenge?

I asked the KVR staff to maybe give us challenge hosts a dedicated forum section. Long story short, it didn't work out. We also get the one or another comment all the time like "I found this by chance", "I only see this if I browse the forum", etc. It might be a bit late at this point, but our fellows over at the OSC do have a dedicated web page for the general information, links to the rules, links to tracks, etc.

In fact, form my old days at OCRemix and ThaSauce, I still remember dedicated pages for challenges like "PRC - People's Remix Competition" and "OHSC - One Hour Songwriting Challenge", not to mention the now infamous "Dwelling of Duels" (guitar focused songwriting battle). People from all corners of the world joined, and not just specific community bound people.

So this raises the question - is this is a good route?
Should we even move away from KVR Audio to lower the threshold to join?

That is currently my biggest concern. Aside from the fact that I'm not a design person and I haven't created a homepage in years either (which is why mine is in a stalemate position).




The second concern is
:arrow: How to get more songs to mix?

But I think this would be related/linked to a dedicated page. And I think, we as hosts need to be more proactive as well. In fact, some of the songs in recent challenges were because we contacted people directly. For example the "Rocktober" challenge last year, or some electronic productions because we're in touch with the OSC people. Read: we're doing the scouting. Though it takes a lot of time, not to mention coin flips, if people would provide anything.

I'm against bribing people. This feels to me like "The Running Man (1987)" show host "Thank you, here's your Running Man Board game, a shirt, and a cap"... I don't want to go that route.



And once that is out of the way, we can think about...
:arrow: Is the sponsorship still adequate/interesting? and
:arrow: Would you donate a dime for the workload the hosts are doing?




But can we please get away from the "voting system" topic?
I think I made myself clear why this wouldn't work anymore/again.
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KVRAF
2342 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Post Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:22 am

Hi again Fox. I guess time is a problem for you, for me, and for others, and if I am going to submit my song I need to find the time required for evaluating the mixes. If still doable, in the future perhaps.

I just didn't have too much time from the beginning and for a while now because I am getting so immersed in scrabble. In fact I am multitasking now writing this reply, eating, KVR lurking, and watching a scrabble game in progress in order to absorb new words (LISTERIA and ROGATION, so far). I want to become a professional tournament player and that requires too much time in terms of word study, in addition to the time required to just play the game online.

Sincerely, good luck with the keeping alive of the Mix Challenge. I can only imagine how difficult it must be time-wise, etc, from your end of it. I didn't mean to end up being one of the let-downers. It's just that from the very beginning I thought (wrongly now) that the Mix Challenge is "here's my stems" and that would be it. Anyways, admiration, peace.
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:57 am

There are still questions that I'd love to get answers for...
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 0#p6524290

Compyfox - summed up wrote: :arrow: Would a dedicated homepage, a global source of information, theoretically boost interest in the Challenge?

I asked the KVR staff to maybe give us challenge hosts a dedicated forum section. Long story short, it didn't work out. We also get the one or another comment all the time like "I found this by chance", "I only see this if I browse the forum", etc. It might be a bit late at this point, but our fellows over at the OSC do have a dedicated web page for the general information, links to the rules, links to tracks, etc.

In fact, form my old days at OCRemix and ThaSauce, I still remember dedicated pages for challenges like "PRC - People's Remix Competition" and "OHSC - One Hour Songwriting Challenge", not to mention the now infamous "Dwelling of Duels" (guitar focused songwriting battle). People from all corners of the world joined, and not just specific community bound people.

So this raises the question - is this is a good route?
Should we even move away from KVR Audio to lower the threshold to join?

That is currently my biggest concern. Aside from the fact that I'm not a design person and I haven't created a homepage in years either (which is why mine is in a stalemate position).




The second concern is
:arrow: How to get more songs to mix?

But I think this would be related/linked to a dedicated page. And I think, we as hosts need to be more proactive as well. In fact, some of the songs in recent challenges were because we contacted people directly. For example the "Rocktober" challenge last year, or some electronic productions because we're in touch with the OSC people. Read: we're doing the scouting. Though it takes a lot of time, not to mention coin flips, if people would provide anything.

I'm against bribing people. This feels to me like "The Running Man (1987)" show host "Thank you, here's your Running Man Board game, a shirt, and a cap"... I don't want to go that route.



And once that is out of the way, we can think about...
:arrow: Is the sponsorship still adequate/interesting? and
:arrow: Would you donate a dime for the workload the hosts are doing?
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3ee
KVRAF
3816 posts since 8 Mar, 2006

Post Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:08 am

Would a dedicated homepage, a global source of information, theoretically boost interest in the Challenge?
Yes, + keep the site simple and effective... you can even make it out of a blog


How to get more songs to mix?
There are resources of multi-tracks like http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm ... so, maybe where there's no material, you can talk with "them"

Is the sponsorship still adequate/interesting?
Yes and no ... would be fun if every month we'll get a "special" NEW something for the prize pool, per edition

Would you donate a dime for the workload the hosts are doing?
Yes, at least a buck every month :)

KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:41 am

Thanks for the feedback, 3ee.


Just one thing, since this pops up every time:
3ee wrote:How to get more songs to mix?
There are resources of multi-tracks like http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-mtk.htm ... so, maybe where there's no material, you can talk with "them"
We can't, and we won't access these files.

Main reason is that these files are not linked to a client anymore, and we'd violate others copyrights - the "client evaluation" and agreement from the same person is a big part of the challenge.


So as often as people will think of that, it's appreciated, but we won't be going for it.
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KVRist
458 posts since 10 Apr, 2011

Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:55 am

@ThePresident
Thank you for your opinion, your judment will help me to get better mixes.

KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:13 pm

by "continue in the Gossip thread", I meant the general debate on SoundCloud's recent limitation in terms of Downloading content, and where to go from there.

Of course feedback towards mixes and answering Q's still belong to the thread of the Challenge in question. :tu:
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KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:46 pm

Double post, but... fancy a sneak peek? Or two rather?

https://twitter.com/MixChallenge/status ... 7509896192
and
https://twitter.com/MixChallenge/status ... 8701101056


Just to drum up some noise... :band2:
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KVRian
517 posts since 31 May, 2015 from the Iberian Peninsula

Post Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:40 am

Very interesting, I can't wait to see the page! :D

KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:07 pm

Let's kick off a new discussion, shall we? :tu:

http://www.mix-challenge.com
Yes, finally a dedicated page for the Mix Challenge! :party:


What can you find there:
  • two convenient countdowns showing when the current Challenge will end, and the next one will start (setup to the GMT+1 time zone)
  • links to all former Mix Challenges (currently hot linked to KVR, might turn dedicated in the future)
  • more streamlined listing of the previous Song Providers and Sponsors
  • the Song Pool Campaign, how many tracks are currently in the pool and what genres we're looking for
  • a page about the history of the Mix Challenge and who is working behind the scenes
  • a contact script to contact us outside of KVR Audio
  • BONUS: (for those interested) Statistics of the Mix Challenge since it's existence
What will be added in the future:
  • the Rule Set and the FAQ will be ported from KVR to the dedicated webpage - the thread on KVR will then be deleted
  • a more streamlined "Winners Podium"
  • (maybe) another Social Media branch (Facebook, many people requested that)


What would you like to see in the future?

This is where you come in. Give us feedback, constructive criticism, etc. And who knows, maybe the one or another idea will find it's way on to the new page.




What is currently still being worked out:

As of the recent news about SoundCloud maybe being bought up (possible Spotify takeover), and SoundCloud also forcing users to "sign up"/log in to even download WAV files to listen to... we're currently looking at possible solutions to work around all that.

One of many ideas is to maybe create a dedicated FTP folder per challenge where people can upload to (in other words, directly to us!), that the client can then access and gather all files from. "Streaming" would be realizable from this server. You just need to know how to handle a so called web FTP.

Please keep in mind, this is a really time consuming task for testing, and after making this feature available, ultimately also maintenance. My current issues are: how to setup an FTP that people can upload and list files, but not delete/remove/overwrite already existing ones. I want to prevent possible hiccups or worst-case scenario's like "I don't like your nose, your file is now being deleted".

I hope to offer positive news within the course of October.




With that said...
We still need new content to mix! Please take a look at the Song Pool Campaign on http://www.mix-challenge.com (campaign dropdown)

If you have a Hard Rock/Metal Track - don't hesitate to contact us.




Thanks for reading - and please discuss! :tu:
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KVRAF
14481 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:31 am

Okay... aside from still needing more content to mix for future challenges, let's focus a bit more on discussion please...

I've got two questions that I'd love to get an answer to:


1) what is your opinion on official merchandise?
And if you're interested, what would you like to see?


2) should we branch out to Facebook?
I'd like to get an overview over how many of our users are on Twitter or Facebook exclusively.


Thanks for reading and debating



@harryupbabble:
If you still have trouble contacting me via PM, we do have a contact form on our new webpage
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