e.V. announces crowdfunding for its 5th contest to take place in summer 2015

We're puttin' the band back together!

Open... what?!

©2015 e.V. (CC-BY-SA)
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In 2005, we held the very first music competition called OpenMusicContest (OMC). Its aim was to inform musicians and their fans alike, about both, copyright in general and Creative Commons (CC) in particular. The OMC thrived for four consequent iterations in Germany, promoted over 100 bands, produced 11,000 CD samplers and its concerts made more than 20,000 people happy. At its time, it was considered the biggest CC event in real life. We received great support by a lot of different organisations and companies, including amongst many others Creative Commons, Jamendo,, Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and This is how Lawrence Lessig explained why he became honorary patron for the OMC in 2007:

I am a very strong supporter of the OpenMusicContest. The one thing we know for certain about the internet is that no one has yet figured out how culture will best spread, and be created, there. We therefore need many more experiments in creativity such as this, which encourage a wide range of creators to demonstrate the talent digital technology has helped unleash. Creative Commons music has become a core to this new field of creativity. I am extremely happy to see the OpenMusicContest push the field even further. (Lawrence Lessig, founding father of the Creative Commons licenses)

How did it work?

Musicians entered the contest with up to three songs, by which they agreed to release them under a CC license. In return, they could win a gig supporting a great headliner (like, e.g., Cranes, Die Sterne, or Firewater), and one of their songs to be released on a CD compilation, which we and our partners passed around to promote the concert.

OMC cover artwork
The OMC samplers were praised for their lavish and beautiful design

The music was judged by a heterogeneous jury of confessing music lovers. They only got the pure music without any further information, to make the process as fair as possible and not confound their ratings with non-musical embellishment.

After this rating, the songs for the sampler were chosen. This was never done simply by the numbers, as we also wanted to present both cultural diversity and polarising music. The result were four samplers packed with music from all kinds of genres, a lot of rough energy and artistic honesty. Please listen to these great compilations, they're free for download and even sharing with your friends:

2005: OMC#1
OMC-Sampler #1: freedom of choice killed the radio prom
2006: OMC#2
OMC-Sampler #2: jelly good follow
2007: OMC#3
OMC-Sampler #3: By Perseverance the Snail reached Art
2008: OMC#4
OMC-Sampler #4: thistleblower

You might not enjoy every single track, since they cover a wide range of musical styles and genres. But you should definitely find some you'll really like!

Then, what happened?

These now legendary contests were a tremendous experience for everyone involved — and a lot of fun, too! For us, organising a contest like this was about one thing in particular: Genuine respect for artists and the music they create. When you receive a lot of Thank you! feedback even from artists who did not win anything this time, then you're doing something right.

We continued the competition until 2008, when after OMC#4, we felt that CC licenses were established to an extend that the promotional aspect of the OMC lost its urge a bit, and we rethought our mission.

While the Free!Music!Contest! successfully took over our idea of annual CC contests, in 2010 we announced what would ultimately become the Cultural Commons Collecting Society (C3S), a forthcoming pan-European collecting society/PRO for music with support for all six CC standard licenses, democratically lead by all artist members in a cooperative society.

The OMC was originally organised as part of our involvement in the student's union (AStA) of the Philipps University Marburg, Germany. Since all of us have long finished their studies, this was no longer an option. We founded the charitable society e.V. to govern its heritage. So now the e.V. is running this campaign to organise OMC#5.

Why another OMC now?

Just recently, a major lobbyist for the German music industry was appointed Commissioner for Creative and Digital Economy by the German government, applauded by the Chairman of the Bundestag Committee for Culture and Media by saying that the utopia that the internet could become a commons is finally a thing of the past. This alarming development felt like a wake-up call. If you think a moment about how any real progress in culture is always building on things already there, cheering to a diminishing commons is like cheering to culture coming to a stalemate.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the original OpenMusicContest. A lot has changed since then. But we are still telling stories about those four crazy years, many of us are still connected or even working together on the same projects until today. We're still confident that on our samplers, there's a lot of music much more interesting and compelling than the average radio programme. We still recall what we had in mind for future contests to come, to make them even more exciting, culturally vivid, and let's not forget: fun.

Therefore, in 2015 we'd love to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original OpenMusicContest with all of you! Here's to the future of art, creativity and the commons!

It's all up to you. If you love music in general, then our proposal should appeal to you: Support us via our crowdfunding campaign, and we will do all the hard work this summer! Let's make this big and noisy!

OMC concerts
Impressions from past OMC concerts -- they were great, and big!

Step one: Crowdfunding

The first step will be a crowdfunding campaign to collect the financial resources for the OMC#5. Crowdfunding started Monday, May 11th 2015, and lasts until Saturday, June 13th 2015! Shortly after a successful campaign, we can announce the exact timeline for submissions, sampler release and concert.

It's up to you to set the course for an OMC#5. Once we'll reach our crowdfunding goal, there will definitely be an anniversary competition this summer! We'll have some additional proposals like a system for public voting, having a small tour instead of a single concert, or flying in bands from foreign countries. They'll depend on your willingness to help us doing it. We promise to realise those which receive the most donations, once the overall budget allows for it.

However much you would like to put in this project, no cent will be lost: The responsible e.V. is a charitable organisation, dedicated to free and open culture, arts and science. Donations are tax-deductible in Germany. We fully endorse the Cultural Commons Manifesto  — if its message appeals to you as well, than this is something worth sponsoring, isn't it?

Background image "spring green square" © 2015 Dyrk.Wyst (CC-BY)
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