This is a list of rules and scheduling details for the NGUAC 2023, a music contest here on Newgrounds. If anything is unclear, please leave a comment below.
"I WANT TO ENTER! WHAT DO I DO???"
To submit a track for tryouts, simply go to this forum thread, click “respond to this topic” on the top-right, and post a link to your track. BUT FIRST, please make sure you:
- Only submit ONE song.
- Submit a piece of music. No comedy pieces, sound effect reels, or voice acting.
- Don’t overuse presets or stock loops. Songs that use full-length acapella vocal tracks or drum loops with little modification - even if they’re not copyrighted - will be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Covers, arrangements, remixes, remakes, and mash-ups are acceptable for the tryout round only, not the knock-out or final rounds.
- POST A SONG FROM NEWGROUNDS. No submissions from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc. will be accepted! Also, make sure you actually press “publish audio” - the judges can’t access your piece if it’s left unpublished in the project system.
- Follow the NG Audio Portal guidelines. Samples ripped directly from Nintendo or whatever not only show a lack of originality, but they also get small, independent websites like Newgrounds in a lot of legal trouble.
- Make it clear whether you have a teammate/collaborator for the contest. In the NGUAC, you can enter the competition either by yourself or with ONE other person. If you are entering by yourself, YOU CANNOT SUBMIT A COLLABORATION to the competition. If you are entering as a team of 2, you cannot collaborate with anyone besides your teammate. Having someone else sing or play an instrument for you is fine, but you must still compose the music and lyrics yourself AND mix/master the piece. Your non-teammate singer/instrumentalist is not allowed to improvise for your track. Teams of more than 2 are not allowed. Also, both members of a team must contribute to all of the pieces submitted as part of the contest. You can’t just submit a collab as your audition piece when your team member is AWOL for the rest of the contest.
OTHER COOL (BUT OPTIONAL) THINGS TO DO:
- You can change the piece you submit to the contest, up until the submission deadline. Just CLEARLY state in the thread that you’d like to change it. However, please do not update your track (i.e., replace or delete the audio file in Newgrounds' Project System) during the judging phases until results are released for the following round.
- You can submit a song to the NGUAC that you had previously submitted to another contest on NG, like the NGADM or AIM. Please just make sure to follow the rules for BOTH contests.
- You can post a track of any genre you want to. Just know that the judges are looking for well-rounded musicians here. Neither a repetitive, minimal club beat nor an acoustic jam with terrible recording/mixing quality will get you very far in this contest.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TRYOUTS?
The contest has 3 distinct rounds (tryouts, a knock-out round, and finals), each consisting of a submission phase of roughly 2.5 weeks, when the contestants make and upload their tracks, and a judging phase of 4-9 days, when the judges score those tracks. Some contestants are eliminated after each round.
The latter two rounds are tougher than tryouts, for a couple of reasons. First, PARTICIPANTS MUST WAIT to start working on their Knock-out or Final Round tracks until the corresponding forum thread is posted. You also can’t create samples for the purpose of using them in a Knock-out or Final round piece before that corresponding round begins. Making a track on a deadline is part of the challenge of this contest. Also, in the Knock-out and Final rounds, covers, arrangements, VIPs, mash-ups, remakes, and remixes ARE NOT ALLOWED.
All submission phases close at 23:59 (11:59 p.m.) Eastern Daylight Time on the final date of each phase (see the schedule below). Submission phases open as soon as the forum thread for that round is posted.
FULL CONTEST SCHEDULE:
HOW WILL MY SONG BE SCORED/JUDGED?
The judges give participants a score out of 10 by considering a variety of parameters. These parameters may vary by judge. Scores are averaged among the judges to determine who advances to future rounds. Generally, the top 50% of competitors from each group are accepted into the Knock-out Round from Tryouts, and about 20% are accepted into the Final Round from the Knock-out Round. Most rounds, a given judge won’t score all of the competitors; we’ll divide it up by group.
Late submissions to any round will be accepted until 24 hours after the deadline with a “tax” on your score, according to the following paradigm:
Hours late = percentage off final score
<1 = 5%
1-3 = 10%
3-6 = 15%
6-24 = 20%
>24 = 100%
If you’re, say, EXACTLY 3 hours late, your submission will fall in the “3-6 hours” category.
HOW DO THE CONTEST “GROUPS” WORK?
Immediately after the tryout submission phase, the participants will be grouped evenly based on their fan totals. These groupings are meant to ensure that the best of the “Underdogs” advance as far as possible without directly competing with more experienced and knowledgeable musicians. It’s kinda the premise of the entire competition.
To be clear, being in the “Underdogs” group doesn’t mean you’re bad at making music - it just means that you have fewer fans on the site than most of the other competitors, often because you’re relatively new to the site. Likewise, you being in the “All Stars” group isn’t an honor either. Sometimes, All Stars have gained those fans from their presence in the forums or other aspects of the site that have nothing to do with music. But overall, I think fan totals are the best, reasonably simple way of parsing out who might have a roughly similar experience level, both with music-making and with the Newgrounds community.
Also, if the members of your team would otherwise be placed in different groups as solo artists, the team will be placed in the group corresponding to the highest fan total among its members (e.x., if one member has 20 fans and the other has 60, and the All Stars each have 50 fans or more, the team will compete in the All Stars group).
WHAT HAPPENS IF I WIN THE CONTEST?
Prizes will include forum signatures for the top 3 finishers boasting of their success in the competition, as well as spots on the front page of the Audio Portal the week after the competition. This year, I’ll also personally give a year-long supporter status to the top 3 finishers.
TL;DR: DEFINITELY DON’T DO THESE THINGS
- Submit a piece to the Knock-out or Final Round that you worked on before the round started
- Submit a collaboration as your tryout piece when you’re not on a team
- Update your track in the project system during the judging phase
- Submit your track after the deadline
- Use copyrighted or stolen content
Thank you in advance for following the rules. Good luck and (most importantly) have fun! :D