music production contest – A picture is worth a thousand words

Note: the deadline for this contest is extended to December 20th!

In the process of making music I take inspiration from many things. One thing I tend to do a lot is to take a sound or idea and let everything flow from there. Using pictures is a great stimulus to get my creative juices going.

a picture is worth a thousand words

For this contest, the idea is to take a photograph as your “muse” for a piece of music. Kind of similar to how you would write a soundtrack for a film. Use an image of a person, object, environment, or whatever might inspire you. Just make sure to keep it “G-rated” and free of copyright, your image will be part of your contest submission, posted on SoundCloud.

This time around you are free to use any kind of sound source or processing, so aside from the theme there are no limitations. For those who like to use samples, I made a small sample pack (16 loops, 24bit wav) that may serve as an inspiration. You can check the sounds at SoundCloud.

Contest sample pack Download size: 34.8 MB

I’m happy to say we have some great prizes donated by a bunch of generous developers.

contest sponsors

Contest prizes

  • D16 Group offers:
    • 1st place: 3 plugins of choice.
    • 2nd place: 1 instrument plugin + 1 effect plugin of choice.
    • 3rd place: 1 effect plugin of choice from the SilverLine collection.
  • Additionally, the top 6 winners get to choose (in order of ranking) an item from the prize pool below:
    • Soniccouture: Geosonics ft. Chris Watson and the Konkrete 3 sample-based drum synth for Kontakt.
    • Reveal Sound: Spire synthesizer plugin for Windows & Mac.
    • The Loop Loft: The Platinum Pack bundle in all formats (4.6 GB of drum loops).
    • ADSR Sounds: $250 USD store voucher (soundsets & video courses).
    • SKIN: The protective cover for NI Maschine that keeps your controller safe from liquids, dirt and debris.
    • Cableguys: Cableguys Bundle, including the Curve synthesizer, and flexible FilterShaper, VolumeShaper & MidiShaper effect plugins.

So to be clear we’ll have 6 winners, with the top 3 ranking entries getting both a prize from D16 Group as well as a pick of their choice from the 6 additional prizes.

The contest deadline for submitting your entry is Friday, December 20th, 2013, 11.59pm CET. The winners will be decided by popular vote amongst entrants.

Check the details below on how to join the contest.

Good luck and enjoy!

Contest rules

  • Create a musical piece inspired by a photograph. Use of the samples provided in the contest sample pack is optional. Use any sound source or processing you like, be creative!
  • Submit your entry in mp3 format (minimum of 192kbit) along with the image that inspired it per email to before December 20th, 2013, 11:59pm CET. One entry per person is allowed, you will receive a confirmation of your submission.
  • Your entry should be composed specifically for this contest. By entering, you grant permission for your track and image to be published at the website, through SoundCloud.
  • In order to be eligible to win, contestants are required to vote for their top 6 within a week after the contest deadline. Contestants will be contacted to submit their votes. Note: you cannot vote for your own entry.
  • Winners choose a prize from the prize pool in order of placement (1st place winner picks first, then 2nd, etc.). All prizes are granted at the discretion of Some prizes may be subject to specific conditions imposed by the sponsor (e.g. NFR licenses).

Contest rules subject to change. If you have any questions feel free to ask or comment on this post.

Contest entries

The submitted tracks are listed here, ordered by date of entry.

Cableguys TimeShaper
  • bydavidrosen

    i am totally doing this.

  • wardtf

    Interesting contest. Time to do some work! Good luck everybody!

  • 3ee

    Yeah, loaded with “deadline” activity atm, really hope to take part as well! Always enjoyed rekkerd music contests! :)

  • On it.

  • 2ndM0USE

    Do we email the actual track Ronnie , or just the link to where it can be found ?

    • Preferably by email, thanks!

  • Joy! Another contest! Will be looking for some inspirational pictures now.

  • Guest

    Are there any location restrictions to entering this contest for those of us that don’t live in the western world? :)

  • Bonzo Wrokks

    Are there any location restrictions to entering this contest for those of us who don’t live in the western world? :)

    • 3ee

      I’ll answer on behalf of the rekkerd music contest “tradition”, there are no such restrictions!

      • Bonzo Wrokks

        Great, thanks!!

    • 3ee is right, everyone is welcome :-)

  • DoctorBob

    Hope to be entering too. But what picture to choose???? – I have so many! Rob

    • 3ee

      Don’t choose the “coolest” looking one, chose the one that really inspires you at a given moment.

      • 3ee

        Ronnie, if we get inspiration from 2 or more pictures maybe, could we like, make a collage that will be reflected by our musical arrangement also? or maybe the same picture but with different filters?! (that might inspire different sound character and effects)

        • DoctorBob

          I was thinking the same. I am into floral photography/gardens but also wildlife. So I have beautiful tranquil gardens/floral portraits, but also lions and falcons at the “other extreme” …

          Also a recent Flickr exile to:

          Blatant plug – but you might like what you see ;-)

          • 3ee

            Wow Rob, really cool photos! Can we use some for this contest? :) I understand your dilemma. :D

        • Sure, you can photoshop your picture to a collage.

  • 3ee

    OK, for those with many pics… a workflow idea would be to start something, get an arrangement sketch (0:30 to 1:00) without many instruments and try to hold off using effects. Then, the basic theme may help you better decide on picking the suited photo and easily adapt / build the rest of instruments/melodies, sound character and effects.

    • DoctorBob

      Yup, what I was thinking … great minds think alike??? I might use my Tiger shot – the one with him licking his lips (in the cats album!). One person left me a comment of the “Tiger Tiger …” poem, so I might try to follow the sentiment of that? Whadya think? I have some themes to work on, but far from fully formed as yet – time time time …

      • DoctorBob

        In the end I chose a rather dark subject matter. The entrance to the old leper colony on Spinalonga – known as Dantes Gate, because those entering the dark tunnel had no idea what was on the other side and what would happen to them. In the end quite a caring community built up and those there had a social life, with shops in a “main street”, a hospital, and also care. So my piece moves you into the gate, through into the community and light. Even though it only closed in 1957, visiting it was quite emotional and also inspiring. Hope this comes through in the piece, I’m sure you’ll let me know either way!

  • DoctorBob

    Thanks “3ee” – yes, my photos are all copyright free, so if anyone likes what they see, just grab one. You go to “more options” at top right, and then select see all sizes. Then you can download the size you want, even up to full resolution. Enjoy. Easiest to go to the albums section to get a better overview of the shots. Just came runner up in a plant portrait competition – photo to go into the mail and on-line catalogue!

    • 3ee

      Cool, thanks! :) ..congrats on plant portrait competition!

      • DoctorBob

        Thanks … just found out 2 of the 5 photos I submitted were runners up … so I get 2 vouchers to spend onThompson and Morgan plants and seeds! Feel quite smug, and chuffed as hell.

  • Stan Dart

    Finished my track .. hope you will like it.

    • DoctorBob

      Mine too! Hope you all like it as well …

  • 3ee

    Hey guys, didn’t start my entry yet, but some ideas are brewing… This is also a chance to try out all sorts of experimental tricks you find interesting and would not normally do… You can use oddly processed pictures or how about optical illusions? ;)

  • Cy Brazanthr

    Would it be acceptable to enter the contest using a public domain painting? I feel inspired by a Manet painting.

  • Good news for those who still want to join! I have decided to extend the deadline to December 20th, since I am a bit short on time next week.

    • DoctorBob

      OK Ronnie, Nice to see the entries trickling in. Maybe some more comments on the tracks would be nice?

      • This usually happens at the voting stage.

        • DoctorBob

          OK. Cheers Ronnie – just that people piled in with comments earlier in the last comp – so being newbie here (but an oldie!), was just a little surprised that there were only a few comments. I wait in trepidation to hear what people thought of my effort ;-)

    • 3ee

      Great news, thanks! Looks like I’ll be able to join after all! :)

      • DoctorBob

        Good news! I was wondering where your entry was ;-)

    • 3ee

      20th inclusive?

      • Yup, December 20th, 2013, 11:59pm CET.

  • 3ee

    Some really great stuff! + the overall quality of the submitted tracks is impressive! :) Way to go everybody! Will take time to listen in greater detail and comment asap… better sooner than later cause holidays are around the corner and probably won’t have that much time…

    • DoctorBob

      I agree, some really innovative tracks. Will take some listening and commenting. I’ve tried to do some comments as the tracks have appeared – but this last flush means I have lots to do. Good luck everyone and festive greetings to one and all.

  • All the entries are in and I just sent an email to all contestants for the votes.
    If you didn’t get an email make sure to check your spam, and if you still can’t find it let me know.

  • Stan Dart

    Wow, that was hard work …

    So many great tracks – so many talented composers;

    How to make the decisions in a fair way (so that I do
    not feel too bad choosing only 6) ..

    Now I know what it means to be a judge :-)

    Although not everyone can win, I want to congratulate every musician here for their work of art. To describe a picture in such different and fantastic ways as you all did here shows your talent in a very impressive way.

    I´m proud to battle with you guys! ;-)

    Stan Dart

  • Hi all, I’m still tallying all the votes, hopefully it will be done soon. Thanks for your patience!

  • I’m still missing votes from two contestants, and I was going to go ahead and post the results because I know some of you are anxious, but I’ve decided to give them another few days since it’s the holidays, and… it’s a very close finish in the top 3 as well as for spot 4 to 6.
    I’m talking 1 point differences here and there’s a tie for the 6th spot as well, so these last two votes can really make the difference.

    If I still don’t have the votes by the end of the week I will go ahead and call it.
    Please bear with me!

    Have a great new year’s eve celebration everyone!

    • Koen Veldeman

      Dear two contestants, some of us have been waiting in anxiety for the results of this contest. We have all worked hard, not only to compose, but also to listen to all the other works, to comment, and to cast our votes. That last part might seem the hardest, but it’s part of the contest and we all saw it through. You should bite the bullet and join us. Please prove Ronnie’s good hart right, and don’t let us wait in vain!

    • Koen Veldeman

      Dear two contestants, some of us have been waiting in anxiety for the results of this contest. We have all worked hard, not only to compose, but also to listen to all the other works, to comment, and to cast our votes. That last part might seem the hardest, but it’s part of the contest and we all saw it through. You should bite the bullet and join us. Please prove Ronnie’s good hart right, and don’t let us wait in vain!

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