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#652334 - 09/15/08 07:15 PM Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition)  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2
lostfan42 Offline
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lostfan42  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
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When "deadline" doesn't mean "deadline". Boo to the ISC!

So I got an e-mail advertising the International Songwriting Competition and thought, eh, I guess I'll submit a few things this year. But wait, wasn't that the contest I entered last year where I scrambled to get my entries in just before the deadline, only to find out that they later extended the deadline by a few weeks?? Yup, that was the one... So my manager called up the contest to ask about that. Turns out that this is their seventh year, and whaddya know, they've extended the deadline every year and plan to do it again this year.

So, how is that ethical? How can they advertise "deadline" when it clearly isn't a deadline and they have absolutely no intention of honoring it? It's an insult and is quite disrespectful to the people who followed the rules to get their submissions in on time, and it's also giving those people less value for their entry fee... By getting it in by what was supposed to be the deadline, their entries would be judged against the pool of entries that made it in by then. But with the contest being extended, now their entry is judged against the pool of entries that made it in on time, plus the pool of entries that came in late. Not fair at all. There's also a question of quality... You scramble to get something in before the deadline that wasn't quite finished to your satisfaction... and then realize that you could have finished it better if you had more time (but you should have no reason to think you'll have more time when it says "deadline"). There's also the potential for the "cult of the new" to have an effect, whereby something that came in earlier (as in, before the supposed deadline) is really better than something that came in later, but the thing that came in later is fresher in the minds of the judges and ends up getting more votes.

Apparently, the ISC guy said that every year they have many people asking if the deadline can be extended, and many people gratefully thanking them for extending it. The answer of the ISC to those requests should be to please submit something next year, and not, "sure, we'll take your money and make the contest unfair for everyone else." The desire of people who can't meet the deadlines to appeal for the contest to break the rules for their sakes and the desire of the contest company to make more entry fee money from those people is completely contrary to running an honest and ethical contest. It's a perfect example of two wrongs not making a right. If you're an artist and you can't make the deadline, submit something next year and get it in ON TIME. I understand the contest itself is a business entity and should be able to make money from the enterprise, but not at the expense of ethics and not by using blatantly false advertising. If it's not a deadline, don't call it a deadline. Period. Obviously, they're looking for two pay days, one for the first "deadline" and one for all the slackers who submit after that. Actually, three pay days, as they also have an early entry lower price date.

The guy said, well gee, every contest extends their deadlines. And even if that were true, that would make it okay?? Justification/rationalization 101 here, folks... But it's simply not true from my experience; many other contests hold to their actual deadlines. They may have an early entry discount if submitting by a certain date, and that's fine, but they don't extend their deadlines every single time as part of their standard practice.

So anyway, if you've already submitted an entry for this contest, when you get the notice in your e-mail on or around October 15 that the ISC deadline has been extended, I would urge you to call and complain (I would also call Broadjam and the other entities that sponsor the contest). And if you didn't get an entry in before the deadline, don't be a jerk and pay into the scam of the extended deadline. Submit something next year, and get it in on time. Or just avoid this contest altogether until they can learn what the term "deadline" really means.

#652336 - 09/15/08 07:23 PM Re: Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition) [Re: lostfan42]  
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summeoyo Offline
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summeoyo  Offline
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Just a thought. Perhaps their extending the deadline is more of a case of not getting enough entry fees to pay their prizes and also make a profit?

#652341 - 09/15/08 07:33 PM Re: Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition) [Re: summeoyo]  
Joined: Sep 2008
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lostfan42 Offline
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lostfan42  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by summeoyo
Just a thought. Perhaps their extending the deadline is more of a case of not getting enough entry fees to pay their prizes and also make a profit?


Of course, or more likely, to make more profit... As I said, they are entitled to make profit as a business. But if they can't get enough entries by the deadline to pay for their business, and they have to rely on a blatantly false deadline premise, then their business model or their timetable is flawed, or they aren't advertising enough before the deadline. Regardless, it's a poor practice, ethically speaking. I could forgive it as a one-time thing if there are circumstances involved, but when that is the standard practice and is admitted to being such by the company, then that = mad

#652344 - 09/15/08 07:42 PM Re: Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition) [Re: lostfan42]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,039
Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Posts: 7,039
Brunswick, Ga. USA
Well Lostfan42,
The truth is they probably don't get enough entries so they extend the date. I seem to see a lot of that lately. I don't bother entering most contests so it isn't a big thing for me.

I spend my time pitching songs to contacts seeking material.


Ray E. Strode
#652379 - 09/15/08 09:30 PM Re: Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition) [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
Joined: Sep 2006
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Noel Downs Offline
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Noel Downs  Offline
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Gungal NSW Australia
Lost Fan... I would never enter something that is not finished to my satisfaction... deadlines are deadlines but substandard work never wins... you should take this easy attitude of the ISC to your benifit and ask if it's ok to resubmit the work you want to improve... since they have now extended the deadline.... smile

I understand that some folk feel the moment would be lost if they waited for "the next one" especially in themed comps... but the reality is if it's not right yet... then don't enter or request an extension in time .... otherwise you are just wasting money.... espesially if the feed back is light on...

Cheers

Cheers




http://www.soundclick.com/noeldownsandfriends

Tolerance means if you don't like something you ignore it
#652383 - 09/15/08 09:55 PM Re: Deadline Scam (International Songwriting Competition) [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,537
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,537
Indianapolis, IN USA
A contest with a fee is run to make a profit. If that is your goal and focus, then extending a deadline makes perfect sense. You're correct, though, that as a customer of this business, you're not getting the same value. If you're unhappy, demand a refund of your entry fee. If they give it to you, then I'd say things are fair. If not, then you have a legitimate issue.

We have a deadline with JPF's awards. It's not to make a profit but simply because we have to have time to actually judged the entries. So we set one for older releases (prior to 2008) of August 31st, and one for all the new stuff up to the end of the year. We will take late entries on a case by case basis (like if an entry was sent from another country and timing and holidays's are different). This year we realized we set the deadline on a Sunday followed by a holiday. We decided we'd accept entries mailed by September 2nd to accomodate for that. We got a small number of CD's sent that date (I think 5) so it was no big deal and didn't cause us an issue. We're actually behind schedule due to several factors out of our control and we're just now getting to round 2 of screening, so we try to be flexible. Also in special circumstances (we extended entries for people in Katrina affected areas as well when that happened). But we require folks to contact us directly to discuss.

A for profit enterprise has to try and make money. That's their real goal right? But I think it's bad business for them to ALWAYS extend it.. it hurts credibility. I've also noticed some other "For Profit" contests have gone to having either Monthly or Quarterly deadlines. People are motivated to send in stuff at deadlines, no question. We accepted entries all year and got most of them in the week leading up to the deadline. If you're a for profit enterprise and you know you're customers are usually only motivated by a deadline, then it makes sense to have as many different deadlines as possible so that if someone happens to actually read one of your mass spams promoting your contest on a day they might have time and be paying attention, having that deadline in their face might be enough for them to write a check and enter something. It's just the sad reality of what faces For Profit contests. And if you have monthly or other frequent deadlines, you have cash coming in year round instead of just once a year to run your business. That can be the difference to staying in business or not. Our awards, being 100% free to enter and getting more entries than probably all the other music awards and contests out there combined in the world (at least that I have heard of) probably puts the hurt on these for profit enterprises. But I've learned that even with the number of entries we got (500K songs and 40K albums) there are easily 5-10 times more than that out there to go after if you're searching.

You should really look at contests more carefully and decide if the entry fee is worth the shot at the grand prize. It's a little like a lottery ticket meets a job interview. Will they think you're the best candidate? Will you get the job (i.e. win the prize)? Was it worth the cost of the interview? Are you qualified in the first place? Always ignore things like Celebrity judges. That's the stupidest marketing hype tool ever. Sure, they may be world famouse, but can they accurately judge music? And in truth, are they involved from start to finish judging ALL the music entered, or just the last handful of songs still in the running at the end, long after your song is out of contention? This is why we don't divulge who the judges are. We use a wide mix of people (including a few celebrities and industry icons) but often they are only doing a specific snippet of music, and not doing massive screening from early on. If they aren't they can't even have a chance to hear most of the entries and thus their involvement means zero... but it sure looks good on a marketing press release.

In our case, we're just trying to bring positive attention to music that might otherwise not be noticed and thus we're not doing it for money and don't need to charge an entry fee. We just want to find really cool music and recognize it, not make a profit or a living off of it. I really think our view is the correct one to take when recognizing stuff. Sadly, with the financial cash cow that the Grammys and Oscars and other "Awards" have come, people think that contests are a way to make quick cash. Sure, some have good intentions, others absolutely do not. But even if the intention is good, it's still a business with money changing hands and when that happens, people's solo motivation is NEVER to simply find great music, no matter what they tell you.

So.. if you're unhappy with their policy, politely ask for a refund and move on. If they give it, I think they've done what they should. If not, then I guess you can raise a big stink and bring some bad PR to them, something that no company wants. ISC seems to be as credible as any of the similar contests out there and I know some folks who have won previously. And if you take the approach that it's sort of like playing a lottery, i.e. just a fun little activity that costs little to play, then it should be fine. 30+ dollars is a bit more than a trivial fun thing to me, but it might be okay for others.

If you're going to enter one of these, just make sure that they are as legit as you can and if they seem to be, at least you're not giving money to a scam artist. And there are a LOT of them out there and some have well known names but somehow keep scamming people relentlessly year after year.

Brian


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