The Rules

Inaugural Living The Dream Music Tournament Champion Ben E. King, who bested over 580 songs with his classic tune "Stand By Me"

1) What is this? It’s a single elimination music tournament, and each song matches up against another song in each round (9 rounds, 256 total songs. So like the NCAA Tournament, but instead it is as though the 64 teams had to win 2 games before they got to the bracket of 64.)

2) Wait, match-ups? Every day we post four new match-ups. A match-up is a pair of songs that is competing to advance. We set up a playlist using our friends at GrooveShark’s website that includes all of the songs competing in order, and we tell you who is playing who. Sometimes some songs aren’t available on GrooveShark, so we’ll include a link to a YouTube clip of the song in our post. Each set of match-ups starts at 8 pm Eastern Standard Time and voting is live for 48 hours.

3) So how does a song win? Anyone that wants to vote should listen to a pair of songs in order, and then stop and think about what score they would give each song between 0 and 10. Then write down your scores and go on to the next match-up. When you have given scores to all the songs, post your scores as a blog comment on the match-up post.

4) How did you seed the songs? Every song in this tournament was nominated by a different voter, with some allowance to reward regular voters from our first tournament. The top 16 voters who participated the most in our first tournament made “Gold Tier” and were allowed to nominate 8 songs for this tournament, and their nominations comprise the 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 seed spots. The next 16, “Silver,” 4 songs, in the 2, 6, 10, and 14 seed spots.The next 16, “Bronze,” 2 songs in the 4 and 12 spots. We used those nominations to inform the first round, but once we had actual data on which songs were the strongest, we started the Round of 128 with a tournament reshuffle and reseeded everybody.

5) I’ve seen this before on other websites, but I’ve never seen it with scoring- just with picking one song over another. You can do that if you want. What we will do in that case is consider it as though you gave the song that lost a score of 5, and the song that won a score of 7 . However, giving scores allows you to reward (or punish) songs that only lost by a little (or a lot) for you personally. If picking between two songs is incredibly difficult, you can acknowledge that in the scores. Or if you just simply can’t decide on a match-up, you can even give them both the same score (since the voting pool will inevitably break the tie.)

One question we get often is “What does a 10 mean? What does a 5 mean?” Honestly, the answer is that it means whatever it means to you. Everyone uses their standards for voting. However, we do discourage votes like “10 for the song I like, 1 for the song I don’t like,” since voting like that undermines the scoring system.

6) Why are you doing this? Because it’s fun. For us, music tournaments have always been a great way to pass the time on road trips, at the office, or in regular group settings. Online, the Living The Dream Music Tournament has been a really rewarding way to begin building a community of music lovers across the world, across nationalities, and across genre loyalties.

7 ) Can I get involved now? Yes! There is absolutely no on-going commitment, you can just vote when you feel like it. Just scroll down and make sure that voting hasn’t closed on those match-ups. Remember, any given morning there will be votes due that night at 8 pm EST for the penultimate match-ups post, and votes due at 8 pm EST the next night for the most recent match-ups post.

8 ) A Note On The Honor System: Music tournaments are built out of a staunch history of, in Stephen Colbert’s words, truthiness. The idea is to give every song a fair shot from start to finish, not to only vote for artists you like, or skip songs halfway through.

We can’t force anyone to do any of this of course but we and all of our regular voting base stick to this tenet and we invite you to do the same. Each day there are four head-to-head matches, each featuring two songs handpicked by two independent nominators, and unless you are running out of time to vote and don’t have time for the other matches, you should give them all a shot. Who knows, you might discover (as many of us have) that those songs you might have skipped end up being awesome new gems.

The whole point is to have fun and listen to music both new and old. If this sounds like something you are interested in, listen to today’s match-ups and submit your scores!

18 Responses to The Rules

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