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5 Merry Musical Contests for the Holidays

‘Tis the season… that the holiday music playing in stores and supermarkets ad nauseum since October has just about driven us insane.

Well, dear readers, it’s time to regain a little holiday cheer with this list of five music-themed contests to snap you out of your holi-daze.

We’ve assembled a truly nondenominational list below — i.e. there’s something in there for both musicians and music fans.

Let us know if you score any prizes, and please do link us to any holiday jams of your own making — if we hear “The 12 Days of Christmas” one more time, we’re going to lose it.

1. Fans: Score Free Jams

First stop, our favorite music subscription service roundup — next stop, your desktop and mobile device. Super social music streaming app Rdio is giving away one free account every day until December 25. All you have to do to get in the game is “Like” the app on Facebook (Facebook) and click over to the “Sweepstakes” tab to enter your info.

Not only is this a great way for the service to garner new fans, it’s also a pretty easy way to score an entire year’s worth of free music, which should come in handy when you’re stuck between a flock of screaming children and cackling teens on a bus back to your parent’s place. Ohhh, the holidays…

2. Enter a Battle of the Bands

Here’s an idea: Instead of ruthlessly fighting with your siblings for your parent’s love and approval this holiday season, why not enter a battle of the bands? (Let’s face it: if you’re in a band in the first place, you’re probably not going to win that war. Why, oh, why didn’t you go to law school like your father suggested?)

Shure, maker of high-quality audio gear, recently kicked off its SM58® Give It Voice Tour, which aims to get undiscovered musicians the fawning attention they so desire. You have until December 10 to register for the competition, but we’re shure (hehe) you have some songs kicking around the old Bandcamp account, which, incidentally, you will need in order to enter the contest.

Fans will cast votes for their chosen tunes, which will determine who will make it to the semi-finals, and, ultimately, win the Shure SM58® Vocal Microphone at the RedGorilla Music Fest in Austin, Texas. You’ll also nab $10,000 worth of Shure gear if you win, which will come in handy come gift-giving time, seeing as how you spent that last paycheck on a pack of new strings and some ramen.

3. Remix It Up

What’s your least favorite holiday jam? Mine is “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” Music collaboration platform Indaba recently launched a holiday remix contest, in which it challenged musicians to spin classic holiday songs into brand new jams.

The contest resulted in two EPs, one of which features modern remixes and one which includes electronic re-imaginings. The winners share in the sales and publishing of the songs they submit.

You can check out all the winners on Indaba’s site or purchase the albums on iTunes.

Even though it’s too late to fulfill my dream of turning “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” into a Go-Go-inspired dance hit, Indaba still has a ton of contests that you can enter this holiday season, including a call to remix John Legend and The Roots’ “Shine.” So get thee to your bedroom, er, studio, and start mixing. It’s too cold to go outside, anyway.

4. Become a V.I.P. With Diddy

New Year’s Eve is always a huge disappointment, mostly because folks always feel so pressured to have fun. This year, why not kick up that pressure a notch by entering Vevo’s recently announced sweepstakes, for which a night with Diddy is the prize. Yup. All you have to do is fill out a form before December 13 for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and an invite to Diddy’s album release/New Year’s Eve Party.

Hey, it beats falling asleep on the couch at 11 p.m., clutching a half-empty bottle of champagne and a noisemaker.

5. Share a Memory, Score a Trip to the Grammys

Remember when you were 13 years old and your sister gave you Blonde on Blonde on vinyl, effectively sparking your adoration for Bob Dylan? Encouraged by the gusty attitude he adopted when he went electric — much to the chagrin of his fans — you defied all suburban cultural norms to become the first female quarterback on your high school’s football team to also dance the lead in the school’s production of Swan Lake?

No? Well, it would be cool if you did, because that would make an awesome story for the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ (NARM) Give The Gift Of Music contest.

Give The Gift Of Music is a website launched on November 1, 2010, by NARM and the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) as a place for music lovers to find gift-giving ideas, create music wish lists and listen to artists talking about their favorite musical gifts.

In order to win one of the many prizes — the most enticing being a trip for two to the Grammy Awards — all you have to do is post a favorite memory involving a time you received music as a gift to the site’s “Share Your Memories” page before December 17.

We all know my favorite musical-gifting memory (if only it were the one above). What’s yours? Let us know in the comments!

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