Hi. I'm Andrew. Audio portal junkie since 2010, supporter since 2017. I always want to improve what I do! I make music, run the NGUAC, post poetry on BBS, and am the all-time #2 audio reviewer. I love this site, and I want to make it the best I can! ^_^

Andrew Mikula @TaintedLogic

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Bates College

Austin, Texas

Joined on 8/16/12

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NGUAC 2020 Rules

Posted by TaintedLogic - July 10th, 2020

This is a list of rules and scheduling details for the NGUAC 2020, an annual audio contest here on Newgrounds. If anything is unclear, please leave a comment below.


  • 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


SECTION I: General track requirements

1.If you are entering as a solo artist (i.e., not part of a team), YOU CANNOT SUBMIT A COLLABORATION to the competition. If you are entering as a team, you cannot collaborate with anyone besides your teammate. Having someone 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 singer/instrumentalist is not allowed to improvise for your track.

2. You may only submit one song per round.

3. The pieces you make for the competition should be full-length songs, of any musical genre you want. No comedy pieces, sound effect reels, or voice acting.

4. You may have pre-packaged loops and samples in your piece, but overusing presets may compromise your track’s originality. 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.

5. For tryouts, it's okay to submit covers, arrangements, remixes, remakes, mash-ups, and pieces with samples downloaded from the internet.

6. In the Knock-out and Final rounds, covers, arrangements, VIPs, mash-ups, remakes, and remixes are not allowed. 

7. YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR SONG TO NEWGROUNDS and follow the NG Audio Portal regulations. No submissions from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, 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 Also, make sure you actually press “publish audio” - the judges can’t access your piece if it’s left unpublished in the project system. 

8. You may submit a song to the NGUAC that you had previously submitted to another contest on NG, like the NGADM or AIM.

9. In order to submit a track, post a link to your song in this forum thread. You can also change it by CLEARLY stating in the thread that you’d like to change it, but only during the submission phase.

SECTION II: Schedule-related rules

1. The contest has 3 distinct rounds (tryouts, a knock-out round, and finals) each consisting of a submission phase of roughly 2 weeks and a judging phase of 3-7 days. 

2. There is a separate forum thread for each round. Participants submit their songs by posting a link to the song in the corresponding forum thread.  

3. PARTICIPANTS MAY NOT 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.

4. No one is allowed to update their 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.

5. 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 up.

6. Immediately after the tryout submission phase, the participants will be grouped evenly based on their fan totals. This ensures 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.

7. Late submissions 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. 



1. Participants are allowed to enter the competition as a team of two.

2. 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).

3. Both members of a team must contribute to all of the pieces submitted as part of the contest. You can't just enter the contest as a "team," submit a collaboration to the Tryout phase, and then make a track as a solo artist in the next round. If you want the advantages of being on a team, then it really does have to be a joint effort.

4. Teams of more than 2 are not permitted, even if your band of 3+ members shares one Newgrounds account.


SECTION IV: Code of conduct

1. If you have any complaints about judges’ scores or the contest in general, please PM THEM instead of getting combative in the thread. Standard BBS and Audio Portal rules ALWAYS apply.

2. 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. Most rounds, a given judge won’t score all of the competitors; we’ll divide it up by group. 


1. 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.


Contest Schedule:

Phase - Start date - End date

Tryout submission - 7/10 - 8/1

Tryout judging - 8/2 - 8/10

K-O submission - 8/10 - 8/24

K-O judging - 8/25 - 8/29

Final submission - 8/29 - 9/12

Final judging - 9/13 - 9/16

Thank you in advance for following the rules. Good luck and (most importantly) have fun! :D



What are the different categories (Underdogs, All-Stars, etc)?
Looking forward to participate this year!

The groups are Underdogs, Professional Amateurs, Above-Average Joes, and All-Stars. Based on past years, you'll probably be a Professional Amateur if I had to guess. Good luck! ^^

@DJ-DG @TaintedLogic How are these groups selected?

By fan total. Immediately after the deadline, we order the contestants by number of fans and split them into even groups. Usually the Underdogs have about 0-8 fans, Prof. Ams have 9-18 or so, etc. It can vary slightly between years, though.

What exactly is the length of a "full-length song"? In other words, why is this a criteria?

I'm asking because I'm not sure if one of my songs would fit as a tryout submission. (this one, if you mind: https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/913767)

That's a good question. The "full-length" distinction is mostly meant to separate out things like drum loops and vocal reels, which both don't really require a lot of composition/arrangement skills to make. The NGUAC doesn't have any formal length requirements, but if you want some more guidance on this I'd suggest you check out my personal judging standards: https://taintedlogic.newgrounds.com/news/post/989340. The piece you submitted should be fine, though. Good luck!

Can we submit fart jokes

I dare you.

why does this happen at the same time as the NGADM?

Good question. Originally, it took place just after the NGADM's audition phase finished so that the people who didn't make the ADM's first cut (which is usually the toughest) could still participate in something. I'm always wary about starting it too late, because traditionally a lot of the contestants go back to school in late August/early September. But the tryout phase for this competition is still scheduled with the ADM in mind - results for the audition phase of the ADM are scheduled to be out on July 24th, a full week before the NGUAC's deadline. :)

Can i post a song even if i'm 14? Because i have really good songs and i want to join, but i don't know if i can join with this age.

Yes! If you're old enough to have a Newgrounds account, then you're old enough to join the competition. Good luck! :)

Is this for like all ages (13-up)

Yes! If you're old enough to have a Newgrounds account, then you're old enough to join the competition. Good luck! :)

Oh alright thanks!

My question: What I must do for submission?

All you have to do is post a song you made in this forum thread: https://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/1454184. It can be any genre, an old song or new, a remix or an original. As long as it allows the judges to assess a variety of musical abilities - composition, mixing, sound design, etc. - you should be good to go. Let me know if you have more questions. :)

How will the judges be evaluating the music? Is there a criteria based on originality, mixing, etc?

The specific "rubric" is up to each judge, but I generally encourage them to consider a wide variety of criteria. You can read about my personal scoring method here: https://taintedlogic.newgrounds.com/news/post/989340

In what group am I in?, i have 20 fans and i'm not sure what are the number of fans for each group, i want to know to see how intimidated i have to be of my fellow competitors from my group xd

Right now, I don't know either. The competitors are only split into groups after the submission phase is over, because we want to make sure there are the same number of people in each group. If you're really itching for an idea of what you'll be up against, try to look for submissions from people with similar fan totals as yours. Good luck!

@Cesarinmono @TaintedLogic Oh well, thanks for the info, i'll check it later then :3

So... I can submit something made as a commission, then?

Yes, you may. Good luck!

I’m just some 15 year old going to continue school once again during the middle of this whole thing. What can I do to be sure I can keep up?

When do you go back to school? The next round is scheduled to begin on August 8th.

@TaintedLogic beginning on September, let’s say I manage to hold off to the third round... I would have school then...

I think the timing works out better than you think it does, then. The Final Round submission phase starts on August 29th, which gives you at least a few days to make a track, plus the weekends. Of course, it's important to play it by ear, and obviously your studies are more important than the NGUAC. Let me know what you decide.

How will you know if you've moved on in the contest?

Every participant will be tagged in the results thread once it's posted on August 8th. You'll get a notification for it, just like you got a notification for this response to your comment. :)

Do both team members have to receive an invite?

No one has to receive an invite to join the competition. It's merely an effective way of engaging new users (and older ones too, for that matter). Good luck!


I would love to participate but unfortunately I’m going out of town for the majority of the final submission phase. It’s unlikely that I would make it that far but if I did, would I just have to stop there?

Some people do drop out midway through every year, for various reasons. Several others decline to join the competition because they have scheduling conflicts. You're still welcome to join, but I appreciate you being up-front about your scheduling conflict.

If I already uploaded a song during a submission phase and I want to update it still during the phase, do I have to post it in the submissions thread again?

Good question. No, you do not. Updated submissions maintain the same URL. I'll remind the judges to clear their caches before they start scoring tracks. Thanks!

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