Help us help you
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Does anyone have any good ideas for contests? We're trying to brainstorm interesting contest formats - things we can ask of people that are easy, creative, worthwhile. Please give us your thoughts in the comments!

Posted by Sean at March 4, 2009 10:21 AM


a big fan from your blog from Barcelona.

With some friends we are going to make a contest about counting how many times is a word repeat in a song... For example you take the song of PARLOVR- pen to paper and people has to count how many times they repeat the word around or nights or something like this... It's funny if the song repeats lots of times one word.

it's just an idea... :)

Posted by withmilk at March 4, 2009 10:43 AM

Facebook is always in the news these days (as is Twitter) - so how about asking for the best "status" message for a band/artist.


Bonnie Prince Billy is 'thinking how much further can he push the boundaries'

Now, that is not a winner, but you get the idea....


Posted by BMR at March 4, 2009 10:57 AM

draw a song contest.

you pick a song, and your readers send in drawn interpretations.

Posted by acleverdisguise at March 4, 2009 12:20 PM

Another video contest!

Posted by Miguel at March 4, 2009 12:43 PM

How about a "bad Said the Gramophone" contest in the trad. of bad Hemingway,bad Faulkner, bad Cormac McCarthy, etc.? Readers submit overwrought StG-style blogthoughts to accompany songs they're listening to... with hilarious results!

Posted by Timps the Rimpler at March 4, 2009 2:06 PM

I had a similar thought to BMR: Pick a particular song and people could post a creative tweet to you about it. Possibly in 'bad Said the Gramophone' style.

Posted by RosePear at March 4, 2009 2:22 PM

Recipe (or meal) inspired by a song.

Posted by Peter at March 4, 2009 3:24 PM

I like Peter's suggestion about the recipes!
You can also go with something simple, like posting a picture to a particular song...kinda like what you guys are already doing, except having it as a contest makes for even more interesting pictures.

Other brainstormings:
-Pick a youtube video that captures the mood of a given song.
-You can post a song, and have the readers decide what news item that song would be appropriate music for (stampede in Indian temple: Scattered Pearls by Casiotone...yikes! now I feel bad, but you get the idea.)

Posted by maryam at March 4, 2009 3:49 PM

Mix tape contest. People have, let's say a 10 song max where they have to put together a sweet ass mix with a theme of some sort. To make it additionally artistic you could have it that they also have to design a cover for their mix. You guys choose your top whatever and then there's a vote.

Posted by moss at March 4, 2009 4:19 PM

Hi from Seattle!

I really like the idea of drawing illustrations and the idea of making a mix tape-- what about combining them?

Perhaps, there could be two stages: in the first stage you submit a thematic EP mix tape (5 or even 3 songs or less to be easy to listen thoroughly) and then, once those are posted, you must provide (an) illustration(s) for another person's tape? The winner would then be chosen by the best overall pair of tape and art...

Yea! I'm excited for whatever it is...

Posted by Oliver at March 4, 2009 5:42 PM

instead of "draw a song," how about a "song a song" contest? either cover or interpret a tune, or write and record a song that draws another. i suggest a no remixes rule.

Posted by sam at March 4, 2009 6:59 PM

Thank you all for the wonderful ideas so far. Please keep them coming!

For this specific purpose, we're trying to think of concept contests that make it EASY and pretty quick to enter. Original songs, videos, all that stuff is great - but if it takes more than a couple of minutes, it's probably not right for what we're tryin' to brainstorm about right this sec. Sorry to be so mysterious!

Posted by Sean at March 4, 2009 7:05 PM

You could have people write the story of the Gramophone, its origin if you will.

Posted by Evan Payne at March 4, 2009 7:19 PM

How about a contest where Lyrics are posted and then people use them in a song. It could show how everyone has a different interpretation and then you guys could vote on which you like best. cheers.

Posted by Dave at March 4, 2009 9:31 PM

I like the idea of an original song, but I think it would much more interesting to combine original song with original video, so its at least a little more in-depth than just popping out a song or a quick vid piece. Make a song, and then a video for it; that's my vote.

Posted by Harrison Willis at March 4, 2009 10:20 PM

I like the idea of an original song, but I think it would much more interesting to combine original song with original video, so its at least a little more in-depth than just popping out a song or a quick vid piece. Make a song, and then a video for it; that's my vote.

Posted by Harrison Willis at March 4, 2009 10:21 PM

Eh-- I didn't realize original stuff would be out of the question... Maybe I'll do another one, but I don't think I'll be interested in this one.

Posted by Gary at March 5, 2009 12:29 AM

Blerg. Yeah, I think I'm out for this one too. Good luck to everyone!

Posted by Oliver at March 5, 2009 12:40 AM

something simple, eh? how about you post a picture and we find a song to go with it.

Posted by eris at March 5, 2009 2:22 AM

Bouncing off the mixtape idea, how about a mini-mini-mix? The best ones have a good flow from song to song, so the contest could be to see who can pick two songs that best sandwich a song you guys pick - or vice versa, where we pick the filling?

Posted by Ryan at March 5, 2009 5:38 AM

Mebbe you get great A&R bloke to listen to 20 seconds of songs (that readers post) and ones you/he like best (top 5 mebber) get cash to make an album/EP/single. Or everyone votes and he knows people are gonnae buy it. They gotta do original artwork too mebbe. And limit to 100 copies each.

Posted by invisiblecolour at March 5, 2009 9:57 AM

Or ask us to think up a competition.

It'll be soooo meta.

Posted by Ryan at March 5, 2009 3:27 PM

What about a contest where readers re-do album covers of existing albums? Together we could fix a lot of mistakes.

Posted by Patrick at March 5, 2009 4:07 PM

SWEDE an album cover

Posted by acleverdisguise at March 5, 2009 5:06 PM

A "Best Distance From A Song" contest-how far can you get while listening to a song (by foot, by bike, by car, by plane, you get the idea) -- but it's not just how far, it's how good how far.That is, why it was a good trip...

Posted by J at March 5, 2009 6:18 PM

Hey, the video competition was pretty sweet.

Why not another iteration of that, perhaps a more defined theme...

Whatever it should be - there should be some product generated by the effort, not chance or whim, but drawing from the actual skill represented here

Posted by Cameron at March 6, 2009 12:06 AM

Have you already done (and/or wearied of) the 6-word story thing? How about summing up a song or StG post in haiku or limerick form?

Actually, my favorite idea so far is the one where we write faux-Gramophone posts.

Posted by Lindsey at March 6, 2009 10:54 PM

Imagine you are listening to the ubiquitous undiscovered band. Imagine they have only made one or a couple of tracks available to listen, before their debut EP/LP is released.

Now imagine that band has become famous - we're back in payolla era radio land, and your once undiscovered band has become a worldwide phenomenon on the strength of that one track you've heard. The direction of their career, and the order of their operations have been changed forever by the concept, mode, and delivery of this one mere track.

Finally, imagine your band (yes, they're yours now!) is touring in response to the success of their EP/LP, which is purely on the strength of their one track that you've heard. Imagine you are promoting this band by creating a concert poster, but you need to use visual cues in the same vernacular that your mainstream audience will understand - that is the vernacular of the one song your band has released. Conjure a venue, date, and lineup, and promote a real band and a real song and a real concept in a concert poster!

It's been a little while since I've made it back here, but thanks once again for the blog, guys!

Posted by Sean M at March 7, 2009 1:36 PM

Contest: Best Track #9

Explanation: Contestants submit the ninth track from any album (or mix-tape).

Shelter From the Storm, by Bob Dylan, on Blood on the Tracks


Some People Ride the Wave, by Devendra Banhart, on Cripple Crow.

Alternatively: Best Title Track.

Explanation: Contestants submit tracks that bear the same name as the album (or mix-tape) on which they appear.

Classy Entertainment, by Jumbling Towers, on Classy Entertainment


In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel, on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Posted by David at March 7, 2009 9:08 PM

proposal #2:
the date/length contest...
On March 15th, propose best song that's 3:15.
For April 27th, it'd be a song that's 4:27.

Posted by J at March 8, 2009 3:38 PM

yeh pretty muchs been mentioned but yeh.. you should get people to take photos to a song you pick, then compare and pick the picture that fits the atmosphere/lyrics/ theme of the music most. i reckon it would be fun.

Posted by paula at March 17, 2009 3:59 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny