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Contest rules

What are the rules for public voting?

  • Anyone can vote.
  • To cast a valid vote for a song, verification via a captcha code and confirmation via email is required.
  • Registered contest participants can also cast votes, but cannot vote for themselves.
  • A maximum of one vote per song may be cast by one person. Of course, it is possible to vote for many different songs.
  • Multiple voting for the same song, fake votes, excessive seeking for votes in the comments ("vote for vote") and mass comments with copied texts are not allowed and may lead to exclusion from the contest.
  • Fake votes will be detected by the system and deleted automatically.
  • Creating multiple accounts per person is also prohibited.

What needs to be considered when using the comment function?
We deal nicely with each other – please respect the netiquette. Friendly and constructive criticism is welcome. Please write in English or German. Comments with extreme political or religous positions and/or criminal, pornographic, xenophobic or defamatory content and content that is potentially harmful to young persons will be erased.

What happens in the event of a rule violation?
In the event of a rule violation, we reserve the right to remove the song and profile and exclude the person the competition.


How can artists take part in the contest?
From the start of the contest (June 1), it will be possible to upload a song to this platform ( and thus officially take part in the contest. A HOFA Contest account is required to participate.

What's there to win?
In each of the 6 categories (genres) there is a main prize of €500 conferred by HOFA, which is awarded by the jury. The first-place winners of the public voting in all 6 categories will receive an audience award. In addition, many attractive special prizes will be awarded by the jury. The main prizes will be transfered to the winners via bank transfer, the special prizes will be sent by mail or made available as a download link.

Who can enter the contest?
Anyone can take part and participation is free of charge.

What is the schedule of the contest?
The contest starts on June 1, 2024 and songs can be uploaded until August 5 at 23:59:59 CEST (21:59:59 UTC). From August 7, the jury listens to the songs and rates them. The community can vote from June 1 to August 26. With the announcement of the winners and awardees on September 2, the HOFA song analyses will also be published.

Who is responsible for the contest?
The Song Contest is organized by HOFA.

What kind of song can be uploaded?
It is allowed to upload a song

  • ... that is self-written or that was written with the own band.
  • ... for which all involved persons have given their consent for publication.
  • ... that is not registered at the GEMA or similar collection societies.
  • ... that does not exceed 12 minutes in length.
  • ... that can be considered a „song“ from an objective point of view. Five minutes of noise is not allowed ;)

Is it allowed to upload multiple songs?
It is allowed to upload only one song.

Is it possible to replace the song subsequently?
Yes – but in order to do that the "old" song must be erased. Thus all corresponding votes and comments are removed. A new song can be uploaded then.

Is it allowed to upload a cover song or a remix?
No, unfortunately not. All rights to the uploaded song must be obtained. Cover versions and remixes of own songs are allowed, of course.

Why are songs excluded that are registered at the GEMA or similar collection societies?
This regulation helps us to keep the contest financially viable and to continue to offer you free participation. The HOFA Song Contest is not intended to serve any direct commercial purpose, but to offer up-and-coming talents a chance and a platform.

Can songs that have already been uploaded to YouTube, Spotify and/or a similar platform also take part?
Participation is possible as long as all parties involved have agreed to the release and all rights to the song have been obtained. This rule also applies to self-releases (e.g. by a distributor or publisher) and label releases. Please note, however, that members of the GEMA or a similar collecting society, cannot participate in the contest.

What about songs that contain explicit lyrics? What needs to be considered?
Lyrics with extreme political or religous positions and/or criminal, pornographic, xenophobic or defamatory content and content that is potentially harmful to young persons are not accepted.

Is it okay to use samples in the song?
Yes, samples are allowed as long as they do not infringe any copyrights.

Are song quotes and pastiches allowed?
Yes, as long as they fulfil the regulations of the German copyright law "Urheberrechtsgesetz" (§51 and §51a, UrhG). Find more info in this blog post.

Are lyrics mandatory?
Not necessarily – instrumental music is also allowed. However, mere playbacks or e.g. beats without rap parts cannot take part.

The song fits in none of the offered genres. In which genre should the song now be categorised?
We recommend choosing the genre that most closely matches or one of the respective main genres (e.g. Electronic Music).

Which formats are supported?
WAV, AIF and MP3 files are supported. We recommend the uncompressed versions WAV and AIF, however.

Which sample rate shall be used?
Generally, any common sample rate can be used. However, the best compatibility is achieved with 44,1 or 48 kHz.

Is it allowed to replace the song subsequently?
Yes – but in order to do that the "old" song must be erased. Thus all corresponding votes and comments are removed. A new song can be uploaded then.

How are the winners determined?

  • The winners of the 6 main prizes will be chosen by a jury from HOFA.
  • Depending on the genre, the jurors pay attention to sound selection, songwriting, lyrics, musical performance, mix & mastering, sound quality and distinctive features.
  • The rankings in the Top 20 and the winners of the audience award are determined solely by the number of votes in the public voting.
  • It is also possible to win both the jury's main prize and the audience award for the first place(s) in the public voting.
  • All other special prizes will be awarded by the jury.

What happens in the event of a tie in the public voting?
If the number of votes received is equal, the audience awards will be decided by lot for the first-place winners in each category.

Which songs will be heard by the jury?
All submitted songs will be heard by the jury.

How to get more votes in public voting
To collect more votes, the respective song can be shared on social networks with the request to vote for the song. The Facebook "share" button, which is displayed under each song, can also be used for this purpose. Another option is to copy the song URL from the browser address bar and share it with some friends.
We would like to point out that multiple votes are not possible! Whoever encourages his friends and fans to vote several times or tries to get fake votes with other methods will be excluded from the contest.

Who will receive a HOFA Song Analysis?
The song analyses will be raffled among all participants who have chosen a song analysis in the upload process - regardless of the ranking.

What is the HOFA Song Analysis?
The Song Analysis in the HOFA Song Contest is a written feedback of the jurors to a submitted song. We take a close look at various criteria for the evaluation: First we survey songwriting and arrangement. The second issue is recording and performance of the song, last we check mix and mastering. All these issues are essential for a good production.

Ideally, songwriting, selection of instruments and sounds as well as the arrangement come together and form a coherent concept. As the evaluation should be free from personal taste we base our judgement on standards valid for the respective genre.

The technical aspects include beyond an accurate recording and adequate performances of the musicians also mixing and mastering issues such as EQ-ing, dynamic control and spatial design.

Besides teaching material, support, online campus and studio workshops, the mix analyses are an essential part of the HOFA-College audio engineering courses. Experienced sound professionals listen to the students' mixes and create individual and detailed, multi-page feedbacks about the strengths and weaknesses of the respective work. More information at:

What is the LQ/HQ button?
LQ (Low Quality) is a MP3 file with a bit rate of 192 kbps.
HQ (High Quality) is the unchanged original file.

Why can't the HQ version be played?
There may be various reasons. Depending to the format in which the song was uploaded, the browser may cause problems. In this case, it is recommended to use the LQ version or try another browser.
When using a mobile device, the bandwidth may be too low for streaming the original file. It might help using the LQ version or find faster internet access.

What happens if an account is deleted?
The song, all votes and comments, and the data stored in the profile will be deleted. In addition, all votes that have been casted for other songs will be deleted.