Are you a developer, scientist, artist or musician and do you think you and a team can create a new hit song with Eurovision data and the use of artificial intelligence? Then we have a competition for you! The AI Song Contest.

What if you feed a computer a bunch of Eurovision songs and data? Is that computer able to help write the next Eurovision hit? Can artificial intelligence expand our creative palette? Crazy ideas perhaps. But don’t all revolutions start with mad experiments?

That’s why the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO, partnering with NPO Innovation and NPO 3FM are organizing the AI Song Contest. And you can join!

Competing teams will create a new song, using a basic Eurovision dataset and with the help of algorithms and machine learning. The songs will be evaluated by a panel of experts for the use of artificial intelligence. The audience will evaluate the songs for their listening quality and catchiness. Can computers blow our minds with their creative power? 

On this page we explain everything about the contest: how you can compete, the dataset we provide, the tools and techniques you may use and the evaluation of the songs.

Can computers blow our minds with their creative power?

join the contest

With this form you sign up for the AI Song Contest 2020, organized by the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO. After registration, the AI Song Contest organization will contact you and your team members by email, within one week. Only after the organization has confirmed your registration and sent you the dataset, your registration is completed and you can start working on your song.

rules

To start off, some basic rules.

  1. So, the goal is to create a Eurovision-like song of maximum 3 minutes with the data provided and with (the help of) AI.
     
  2. You can use your own AI but you are also allowed to use existing models and algorithms to generate melodies, harmonies, lyrics and/or audio.
     
  3. Be transparent, darling. You have to provide insight into your process and the systems you used by filling out a process document provided by us. The specifications for this document will be available from mid January. In this process document you have to at least describe how your AI model(s) work(s) and what data you used.
     
  4. The more musical content created with AI, the more points you will earn (bubbles for everyone). Human interventions are allowed, but this will cost you points from the AI-panel. We’re not completely anti-human, but we know how to appreciate an AI-performer.
     
  5. Songs with melodies and lyrics that directly quote (parts of) existing (Eurovision) songs are rejected and will be your Waterloo.
     
  6. Your final song is an audio file. There is no video with glitter and glamour involved in the voting process. It’s just the audio.
     
  7. Competing teams must work in Europe or Eurovision affiliated countries. Sorry for Uncle Sam.
     
  8. Sharing is caring. We ask all competitors to share their algorithms, models and codes open source.

To compete in the competition, you have to send your final song and filled out process document about the creation process before March 20th 2020. But please register first to receive the dataset we provide.

artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a very broad concept. But for this contest it will mean that teams can use techniques such as machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks and deep learning for the creation of their songs. The bottom-line: The less human, the more points.

register

Registration for the AI Song Contest is only possible through the registration form you find on this page. The registration can only be saved after you have agreed to the regulations. All team members declare to understand and agree with the rules of the contest and to comply with the regulations as mentioned here. After registration, the AI Song Contest organization will contact you and your team members by email, within one week. Only after the organization has confirmed your registration and sent you the dataset, your registration is completed and you can start working on your song. Be on time! The AI panel can only handle a limited amount of songs. Registrations made after March 1st 2020 won’t be valid, but the contest may already be ‘full’ before that date.

contestants

Contestants can work all by themselves, however: we encourage you to work together in a team. In case there are more registrations per country: we will bring you all in touch with each other to see if you want to work together as a team. Don’t feel forced though, we also believe in free will.

countries

Contestants have to live and work in Europe or a Eurovision affiliated country.

team representation

No human contestant and/or artist may compete for more than one team in the AI Song Contest in a given year.

dataset

After registration, all contestants will receive a dataset of 200 Eurovision songs to use for their creation. This dataset consists of:

  • A spreadsheet (which is the index for the 200 songs database) with the details: title, artist, the key and if it is in minor/major, the genre, the tempo, the time signature and if it is an upbeat song or a ballad.
     
  • Lyrics of the 200 songs, all translated into English.
     
  • 200 songs transcoded to MIDI files that consist of 4 to 5 different tracks: melody and harmony of the song's verse, chorus and bridge, along with the bass line. And section markings (intro/verse/prechorus/chorus/hook) and notable instrumental melodies/hooks.

This dataset can only be used for the creation of your song for the AI Song Contest 2020 and may not be used for other purposes. After completing your registration form, the organization of the AI Song Contest will contact you about this matter.

Adding other data is allowed, but you must state which data you have used in your process document.

deliverables

The final deliverables are

  • an audio file (wav, 44.1 KHz, 16bit) of maximum 3 minutes of the recorded AIsong
  • a completed process document (example provided mid January).

To compete, these files have to be sent to the organization of the AI Song Contest no later than Sunday March the 20th 2020. You will receive upload details from the organization.

songs

The compositions (lyrics and music) must not have been released anywhere before 1 April 2020. Each competing team is free to decide the language of the lyrics. All songs will be published online by the VPRO in early April 2020.

evaluation

Each song can earn up to 24 points: 12 points from the AI panel and another 12 from the international audience.

The AI Panel will judge the songs based on different levels. How was the provided dataset used? Does the song have an interesting structure? To what extent have the melody, harmony, lyrics and audio been generated by AI?

The voting and evaluation by the audience is done online. The voting window opens early April and closes around the beginning of May (exact dates to be announced later). Members of the audience can evaluate all songs in different categories: the song in general, catchiness, singalong-ability, lyrics and "Eurovision-ness".

Members of the audience can choose to evaluate as many songs as they want. Voting is not bound to countries. All the audience votes will count together as one.

By combining the votes from the audience and the AI panel, we want to challenge the teams to go as far as possible in the use of AI, but also try to make a song that appeals to a larger audience.

results

The winner of the AI Song Contest will be the song(s) which has/have obtained the highest combined number of points from the AI panel and the international audience.

tie situations

In case of a tie for the first place, as well as any other situation where a tie occurs after the points from the result of the votes and the AI panel have been combined to determine the final ranking, the winner will be the song which has obtained the highest rank from the AI panel.

winner

The winning team of the AI Song Contest will be announced early May 2020. We will correspond about the exact form and date later in the process. The winning song will get airtime on Dutch national radio and publicity. There is no cash prize attached.

FAQ

Why organize the AI Song Contest?

Artificial intelligence has come to play an important role in our lives, whether we are aware of it or not, and that role will only grow in the coming years. We want to translate the rather complicated matter of AI into the universal language of music to make it more accessible to the general public.

What is the VPRO?

The VPRO is an independent public broadcasting company, tracing all the way back to 1926. Through the decades, it has continued to reinvent itself, thus remaining relevant to many different audiences within a constantly changing society.

The VPRO has built a global reputation for exploring issues that matter and building audiences in new and avant-garde ways. Across countries, the VPRO is widely recognized as a media pioneer. Our creative teams explore what’s happening at the edges of society, chase innovation and contribute to the public discourse.

Our audience can find us on a multitude of platforms: on the television or radio, in a weekly magazine, on websites, in apps, during live events... And we are always looking for new ways to stimulate meaningful conversation.

Global citizenship and creativity are core values at the VPRO. We encourage interest, engagement and participation by being involved in a broad range of cultural and scientific activities.

We have won numerous awards, including Emmy Awards, Prix Europa and many prizes at internationally renowned film festivals.

Who are partners in this project?

For the AI Song Contest the VPRO is partnering with NPO Innovatie and NPO 3FM. NPO Innovatie is the innovation hub and supporter for all Dutch Public Broadcasters. NPO 3FM is a Dutch radio station with a focus on new music. This can be commercial rock and pop music, with additional alternative, electronic, house and dance music.

How does the organization of the AI Song Contest define artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a very broad concept. But for this contest it will mean that teams can earn points for using techniques such as machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks and deep learning for the creation of their songs.

Can there be more than one team per country?

Yes, this edition more teams from the same country can compete. Although we must keep an eye on the balance compared to other countries. If there really are a lot of registrations from one country, perhaps next edition we should organize local competitions too!

Can I work together with others in my country?

Yes, we encourage you to work together in a team. In case there are more registrations from one country: we will bring you all in touch with each other. You can decide if you want to work together as a team.

Is a single team allowed to submit more than one song?

No, each team can compete with one song only.

Is a single team allowed to have members working in different Eurovision countries?

All team members have to work from the same country, or should be affiliated with institutions from the same country.

Can I work with a performer?

Yes, you can work with a musical performer, artist, band or producer from your country. Your song can be a collaboration between (wo)man and machine. Could be fun right, to hear what an artist does with a melody or lyrics written by a computer?

Is the AI Song Contest somehow connected to the official Eurovision Song Contest?

No, the AI Song Contest is not directly connected to the official Eurovision Song Contest.

How do I get the dataset?

You’ll have to register for the contest. After you have registered and your registration has been confirmed by us, you’ll receive the dataset.

Do I have to use the dataset you provide?

No, you don’t have to. Although you’ll earn extra points from the AI panel for using the dataset we provide.

Can I use other data too?

Yes, you may add other data or use other data only. But you'll earn less points if you don't use the Eurovision dataset.

Do I have to run one unique algorithm or can I also have several processes run one after another?

​Several processes are allowed.

Is this a scientific project?

Kinda, but not completely. We would love it if scientists compete and write papers about their process. But the AI Song Contest is really a creative project to find out what AI will mean and already means for music and music lovers.

Who is in the AI Panel?

These will be experts on the field of AI and music. The members of the panel will be announced soon!

When does the competition start?

It has already begun. From the 4th of December 2019 onwards teams can register and start producing their songs.

What is the time frame of the competition?

  • Registration ends March 1st 2020.
  • Songs and process documents have to be submitted no later than March 20th 2020.
  • Early April 2020 we will publish all songs online.
  • For one month, the international audiences can vote.
  • Early May 2020 the winner will be announced.

The exact dates will follow shortly.

What types of teams do you expect to compete?

Teams can come from anywhere but will likely be developers, scientists, university researchers, musicians, artists and startups who are currently working with AI.

Is there a physical getting together for all the teams?

No. The competition will be entirely online.

Why compete?

This is a great opportunity to work together with other scientists, developers, creatives and musicians from your country on one focused project, and to share your ideas and visions on AI with the general public. With all teams together you’ll show how AI can be used as creative empowerment and what that might mean for all of us. Also, you get to work with a great dataset of the MIDI files of 200 Eurovision songs. Oh, and the rest of Europe will sing along to your song.

What can I win?

The winning song will get airtime on Dutch national radio and can count on publicity. There is no cash prize attached.

The organizer of this contest is a broadcaster, are you going to make any content about the AI Song Contest?

Yes, we are making a YouTube series about a Dutch team and the creation of their song. In that series we will try to give an answer to what AI will mean for music and music lovers. Also, we encourage other broadcasters and production companies in Eurovision affiliated countries to make stories about a team competing in their country too. If you are broadcast representative and are interested to know more, please contact us.

Is the AI Song Contest a one off?

We envisage the event becoming an annual contest. It would present the state of affairs in the field of AI every year, and promote creative applications of AI and general and ethical debate.

What is the long-term goal?

We have set ourselves the long-term goal of a completely AI-generated song, possibly sung by a virtual artist, winning the 2030 Eurovision Song Contest. In the words of Duncan Laurence: To dreaming big!

contact

Do you have a question and is it not in the FAQ section, or do you want to be involved in the AI Song Contest in another way? Please contact us at aisongcontest@vpro.nl

statement

The AI Song Contest is a public project researching the creative abilities of AI and its impact on us as musical animals. For this contest, various teams investigate the recipe for a great Eurovision song by trying to generate a new one. To generate new music, AI models (just like a human composer) have to 'listen' to large amounts of existing music (data) before it can generate meaningful musical ideas. Therefore the teams will work with existing data and newly-created data. We do our best to handle this as carefully as possible. If you have any questions about the AI Song Contest or the data, please send us an email: aisongcontest@vpro.nl.