At work in Renoise. Photo (CC) Federico Reiven [blog].

cclogo If you’re ready to show your skills creating digital music, we want your work.

UPDATED! New contest entry page, new deadline (10/25):
Plus tips, tracks, and more to give you additional inspiration:
More with Less:”Efficient” Renoise Music Tracks and Tips

Renoise, the "bottom-up" music production tool that makes brings modern comforts to the tracker interface, and Indamixx, the turnkey Linux-powered mobile music rig, are working with CDM on a contest to produce a new song. You’ll need Renoise to make your track, but the software now runs natively on Mac, Windows, and Linux, and you can even finish your production on the free demo version if you’d like to give the software a taste before committing to it. (Really – you can even save your file. The demo won’t let you save a wav file, but we’ll judge the xrns, and the only other restrictions are some nags – Renoise is a rare return to the old “shareware” model of development.)

Here on CDM, we’ll also be featuring some tutorials on music production using Renoise, using Linux, and using free and open source software, as well as the commercial offerings. So, this is a chance not only to compete, but to learn some new tools. Rather than just feed off your work, I’m really eager to make this competition a chance for us to work together and share knowledge, to give to you. So I’m pleased to have some of the experts in the Linux audio community and Renoise community helping us do just that.

The competition will also be fully Creative Commons-licensed, to make sure you’re free to use our tips and tutorials, and that the track you make is free for others to remix – without abusing your work. (This is not officially CC-affiliated; we’re just making use of their license.)

Aside from the prizes, I’ll be thrilled to have the chance to promote your best work here on CDM, and the winner will become a demo song available via Renoise and on the Indamixx Linux-powered USB flash drive and pre-configured netbooks. (The USB stick means that if you already have a netbook, you can get a stable, pre-configured Linux rig on your existing machine.)


Above: The grand prize, the Indamixx Netbook. I’ve just gotten one in the mail from Indamixx to try, and I’m already hooked on the thing. Based on the MSI Wind, the rig is pre-configured with Linux software, set up in advance for you, with energy XT, Renoise, and ArdourXchange for converting sessions from software like Pro Tools – plus lots of free and open source software, of course. Win the contest, and you get one of your own – and your track will ship as the Renoise demo on this laptop and on the Renoise site.

How to enter:

Here’s how the competition will work:

1. You’ll make your track in Renoise, saving as an .xrns file. (Don’t want to start from scratch? Renoise imports MIDI files and many tracker formats, so you could, for instance, bang out some beats on your PSP using LittleGPTracker, then finish up in Renoise.) You can use any samples you like, but make sure they’re your own recordings or samples you’ve cleared for this purpose, and that you properly attribute them.

2. Make sure your track will play on a netbook – so go easy. For reference, here’s a file used for benchmarking systems. Figure that your track should have a similar task on your CPU.

CPUBenchmark21.xrns (nothing special musically – for testing only!)

3. Post your music somewhere (audio + xrns) – put it on your blog, use, sign up for CDM’s own in-development blog platform, or whatever you like. If you put the sound somewhere like SoundCloud, of course, you get an instantly-embeddable player.

4. Be sure to apply a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. I’ll be doing the same with CDM’s tutorials and such. This leaves others free to share your work and to remix it, while ensuring they can only do so if they attribute you properly and if their work is just as free to share. (It does not preclude you from selling it later on, either.) See the details of the license, then sign up.

About the license

License your work 

Choose “yes” for commercial uses – because any commercial use must still share alike, which discourages commercial abuse. Select “yes, as long as others share alike” for modifications. Choose “unported” for jurisdiction. And make use of the other fields to attach metadata to your work.You should get a CC-BY-SA license as a result, which allows maximum flexibility for your work while protecting you from people exploiting your work without also sharing the results.

5. Tell us about it! Point CDM, Indamixx, Renoise, and the contest judges to your track by signing up here:

Contest entry form [Google Docs]

6. Judging will evaluate whether tracks are relatively CPU efficient xrns files, but – most importantly – are original, terrific music. There will be categories judged by producer/remix artist/DJ Ron Stewart of Indamixx and Peter Kirn of CDM, and a user’s choice judged by you via public voting.


An Indamixx Netbook MK II SE, to the Indamixx choice

A registered version of Renoise, to the CDM choice

4 Indamixx USB stick versions, to the user choices


October 15

We’ll have updates through the competition.

Stay tuned for more tips and tutorials on Renoise and Linux audio alike, plus a look at the Indamixx Linux-powered netbook rig (I’ve just gotten one for testing – it’s deliciously compact).

Questions? Thoughts? Shout out in comments below.


Renoise running the superb Linux DSP suite of plug-ins, natively on Linux in the pre-configured Indamixx setup.