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. 

Can I use other data too?

Yes, you may add other data or use other data only. 

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 1 March 2020 (or earlier when the maximum of 25 teams has been reached).
  • Songs and process documents have to be submitted no later than Friday 20 March 2020.
  • Friday 10 April 2020 we will publish all songs online.
  • For one month, the international audiences can vote.
  • Tuesday 12 May 2020 the winner will be announced.

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!