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Rules for contest participants

Which kind of song may I upload?
You are allowed to upload a song

  • ... that is written by you and/or your band.
  • ... for whose publication you have the agreement of all involved persons.
  • ... 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 ;)

How many songs may I upload?
You are allowed to upload one song.

Am I allowed to replace the song subsequently?
Yes – but in order to do that you must erase the "old" song. Thus all corresponding votes and comments are removed. You can upload a new song then.

Am I allowed to upload a cover song or a remix?
No – you must hold all rights to the uploaded song. Covers and remixes of your 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.

My song is on YouTube, Spotify and/or a similar platform. Can I still participate in the contest?
As long as you have the consent of all parties to the release and own all rights of the song, you may of course participate in the contest. This rule also applies to self-releases (e.g. by a distributor or publisher) and label releases. Please note, however, that if you are a member of the GEMA or a similar collecting society, you cannot participate in the contest.

There are explicit lyrics in my song. What do I have to consider?
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.

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

What happens if I violate the rules?
If you break the rules, we reserve the right to remove your song and profile and exclude you from the competition.

Which formats are supported?
You can upload wav, aif and mp3 files. We recommend the uncompressed versions wav and aif, however.

Which sample rate shall I use?
Generally, you can use any common sample rate. You get the best compatibility with 44,1 or 48 kHz, though.

I can't classify my song in one of the (sub)genres. What shall I do?
Try to classify the song in the genre that's closest to your style. You can also file it in the respective main genre (e.g. Electronic Music)

Rules for voting and comments

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. However, you can vote for as many songs as you want.
  • 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 do I have to consider when using the comment function?
We deal nicely with each other – friendly and constructive criticism is welcome. 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.

General questions

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.

What is the schedule of the contest?
The contest starts on June 1, 2023 and songs can be uploaded until August 3 at 23:59:59 CEST (21:59:59 UTC). The community can vote from June 1 to August 24. From August 7, the jury listens to the songs and rates them. With the announcement of the winners and awardees on August 31, the HOFA song analyses will also be published.

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 do I get more votes in the online voting?
In order to receive more votes you can share your song in your social networks and ask your friends to vote for it. You can also use the Facebook "share" button that can be found under each song. Or you simply copy the URL of your song out of the browser address bar and share it with your 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 your 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 I play the HQ version?
There may be various reasons. Depending to the format in which the song was uploaded, your browser may cause problems. In this case, you can either choose LQ or try another browser.
If you are using your mobile device, the bandwidth may be too low for streaming the original file. You have to choose LQ or find faster internet access.

What happens if I delete my account?
Your song and all votes and comments will be deleted. In addition, all votes that you have casted for other songs will be deleted.