Thursday, May 08, 2008


Much disgruntlement all round at the Radiohead online remix contest, with people complaining to Wired that 'snotfair:

Had Radiohead allowed just enough time (say, one full weekend) for a reasonable amount of mixes (say 100) to come in, without opening the contest for voting... and THEN, once all the mixes were in, allowed people to listen through and vote for the ones they liked, maybe allowing a full week or two for this to take place, then perhaps it would be fair.

As it is, the contest favors those who submitted early (Holy Fuck submitted third, Dreamtrak 1st), and those who have a huge network to rely on (Spor's myspace page has 40,000 friends and over 1,000,000 hits... for Christ's sake even Thomas Dolby couldn't beat his ambition), oh and it also favors people like Naomi Elizabeth who have disgusting vapid remixes, yet show their exposed breasts on their MySpace pages [not really] and post their widgets in as many online crevices as possible. I'm almost positive that some of these folks have random IP address generators. I saw one guy (The Abrasion mix, at number 4) submit very late in the mix and then a day later he had 9000 votes... he hardly has any friends on myspace.. how does one rally 9000 votes in one day?

We'd suggest there's a certain loss of innocence on display here - "you can rig online polls" and "people who are already popular online find it easy to get their friends and fans to vote for them elsewhere" are hardly revelations that are going to have Huw Edwards rejigging the running order of the News At Ten, although there probably is a fair point to be made about allowing voting before everyone submitted - a distortion favouring first movers that, for example, BBC One's I'd Do Anything has fixed for its Nancy Hunt. But even without having got there quickly, it's still likely that Holy Fuck would have got more votes than Joe Q Peppercorn of Boise, Idaho, because Holy Fuck are Holy Fuck and JPQ is but a single man. Even had Radiohead had a pro and an amateur category, there would still have been a problem. This is how bridges nearly get named after Stephen Colbert, after all.

One way round it would have been to invite voters to participate Am I Hot Or Not style, listening to a randomly assigned remix without knowing who made it until after giving a score from 1 to 10. Too late now, though.

Interestingly, Radiohead have extended the deadline for voting. And perhaps, had they not charged people for the remix stems - and thus levied a fee on entering a competition that would never be fair - nobody would be upset at all.


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