MUSIC CHALLENGE - ideas and votes!

March 29, 2021 3:45 AM

Music Challenges - do you want them back? Please vote!

Does anyone want to revive the monthly/bi-monthly/mysteriously time-non-specific music challenges?

That's the first question, the second is, let me know your ideas.

The third one is, please vote up any ideas you like!

The fourth one is, please vote up any of these challenges you'd like to see run:

- Tight guideline technical challenges
- Open ended songwriting subject challenges
- A re-run of the legendary MeFiMusic request raffle (oh my GOOD CHRIST was that 8 years ago?!?!)
- A covers challenge for a specific artist or album
posted by greenish (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Also fyi, a related MetaTalk
posted by greenish at 8:40 AM on March 29, 2021


That's all I really have to contribute to the discussion at this time.
posted by CarrotAdventure at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Heck yeah! I'm voting for all of the above.

As a relative newcomer to MeFiMusic, it has felt a little bit like I missed out on a golden age. I say it's about time for a Renaissance. Let's make it happen!
posted by TwoToneRow at 9:34 PM on March 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks CarrotAdventure, I’m so glad you’re still here and posting!

TwoToneRow, yes you’re right - there was a real moment a while ago where lots of really high qual stuff seemed to be posted here pretty regularly, I miss that. However, as you say it is only what we make it! Even if it’s just a few of us hanging out round the virtual campfire, I’m up for that :) let’s make this place what we want it.

I’ll let this thread sit for a while to catch more opinions (hopefully) and then think about planning out some challenges.
posted by greenish at 11:58 AM on March 30, 2021

Heyyyyy! I'm for any and all music challenge notions, honestly; I think a cover album sort of thing might be an especially good idea, tackle something both good and broadly known and see what happens.
posted by cortex at 4:10 PM on March 30, 2021

I'd be up for some sort of collab: somebody posts a base track, somebody else adds to it, etc. Not sure what format to use.
posted by signal at 4:16 PM on March 30, 2021

greeeeeenish good to seeya eh!

I've found the challenges are eminently useful as catalysts to start getting musically active again_like Eno's "Oblique Strategies" [Which I Have Never Used Or Looked At]: to be challenged with an idea you didn't think of, and come up with something that is in your own voice. The whole process: finding the voice again, capturing an interesting melody, fitting pieces together, etc. It's all good. Yes. It's time. I'm in.
posted by not_on_display at 8:48 PM on March 30, 2021

I’m in (particularly given I’ve been whinging lately about the moribund state of the site!). Not massively keen on covers but other stuff - yup!

Paradoxically, talking of covers I was listening the other evening to a Hi Res version of Ziggy Stardust. Astonishingly good given it’s probably a lot older than most of you (but not me - I remember it first time round). Great songs, arrangements, performance, production and beautifully recorded.
posted by MajorDundee at 5:34 AM on March 31, 2021

Cover album is a fun way to get people involved with this subsite again, but I say all this as someone who has participated in like maybe 1 or 2 challenges in the last 15 (!) years.
posted by Corduroy at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2021

Yes, I would be up for this. In order I would be most interested in -

- A covers challenge for a specific artist or album
- Open ended songwriting subject challenges
- Tight guideline technical challenges
- A re-run of the legendary MeFiMusic request raffle

I also like signal's suggestion of a collab
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 2:39 PM on March 31, 2021

Collaborations have been fun on the site—when they have worked, they have worked well. When they didn't work, it usually was just life was getting in the way of living on either end of the equation—I've experienced no ego-driven "fauxllaborations" (at least that sounded any good).

I like cover challenges, but don't love them. I find that they're good practice, or good as a motivator. I have covered many songs, but few via challenge. I did end up liking what came out of it, but it also makes me think more of what other songs I could be mangling. I think Challenges should be more open-ended. If challenges regain their legs, then maybe a set of side challenges of "This month marks the XXth Anniversary of [Seminal Album]" would be in order.

But I like the variety of challenges: make a song using only kitchen utensils; record a song completely backwards so that it makes sense when you play it forwards... CHALLENGES. One of my favorite songs ever came from, "Write a song about what scares you the most."
posted by not_on_display at 8:49 PM on March 31, 2021

...particularly given I’ve been whinging lately about the moribund state of the site!

Is it the site or its members? 20 years. *boggles*
posted by Alex404 at 9:30 PM on March 31, 2021

I'm not a big challenge guy & am pretty lukewarm when it comes to covers. BUT: I am very interested in collaboration.

I could see myself participating more in challenges if there was some promise of being paired up with another MeFi musician.

As not_on_display says, life does sometimes get in the way, but the MeMu collabs I have been involved in have all been great experiences.
posted by CarrotAdventure at 12:09 AM on April 1, 2021

To Alex 404. I wasn’t referring to the members at all. It’s more about the apparent lack of interest in posts or in this part of the site in general. It doesn’t seem to get a lot of interest even within the MeFI bubble. Makes me wonder why there is a music section at all.....Not saying there shouldn’t be, it’s just a bit of a head-scratcher. Maybe a survey of members would reveal why the majority appear to avoid this sub-site? I stress the “appear” - perhaps a lot of members do drop by but don’t hang about!
posted by MajorDundee at 3:23 AM on April 1, 2021

Well, this is GREAT - lots of feedback and lots of different opinions, thank you all!

The message I'm getting is that we all enjoy different aspects of the challenges, so I'm going to keep it varied in that case.

We'll start next week with one which can purposefully be interpreted in lots of different ways. While that's running I'm going to cook up a collaboration challenge which will run for longer :)

Please keep the feedback/ideas/etc coming!
posted by greenish at 3:25 AM on April 1, 2021

Man, I really haven't been around in a long time, for a variety of reasons, but ... I do occasionally enjoy a challenge. I remember really liking the request raffle. Collaborations are great but I always feel guilty about keeping up / not keeping up my end.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:30 AM on April 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

> Please keep the feedback/ideas/etc coming!

I've just been binge-watching Taskmaster and that opened up a whole new world of lateral thinking for me. So I would suggest that whatever you pick, it'd have to do with performing something how one wouldn't normally.

On preview, yeah that is what the ... challenge.. is all... yeah. ALL I'M SAYING is it's my kinda gut feeling that the challenges shouldn't be used only to motivate one into action to write something, anything; but also to encourage the artist to step outside their comfort zone. I will tell you, and I am not lying, I have posted some wincingly bad songs here.

Which leads me to the comparative lack of action on the site: I have no idea what the management could do or would like to do. I personally have not been visiting the site as often—not because of any drop in quality, I just haven't prioritized it. However, when the challenges were around, I listened. And then I ended up listening to music that wasn't in the challenges by default kinda. I had an investment in the site if I was interested in the challenge.

Remember that site from years ago, it probably still exists, were it's like a musical challenge but also a CONTEST. MeFi's equivalent to that (i.e. Music subsite) seemed much more my speed: Everything's made up and the points don't matter. And you get [unfortunately mostly praiseworthy] feedback [I'd like to hear some, "you could have gone elsewhere in the 3rd section" kinda comments]... but mostly it was a community because it was a group of people sharing an experience with others and interested in how those peers' interpretations come out. So like, the individual songs, and the whole, put together, formed the community.

My ideal would be that Music would be like that "a challenge a week with a month to finish one, rolling..." site, and without the scoreboards, and with the helpful criticism and humor.

That said, Punch 'em in the Dick came out of left field. No challenge needed there—but it was also during a time of much more activity on and attention to the subsite.

YOU could write the next Punch 'em in the Dick. Just imagine. So wait where was I? Oh yeah the challenges. I think they'd draw more traffic. Not a TON more, but a little internal advertising wouldn't hurt.

posted by not_on_display at 9:56 PM on April 1, 2021 [4 favorites]

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