Kia and Soundcloud want your music – what’s the catch?

Most people dread the thought of starting their Monday morning by going through a raft of small print. Of course, we at Ears To The House sometimes like the prospect, especially if we think there’s something interesting to be learnt in the process.

Now, one of the things most music producers encounter nowadays are contests. The most regularly seen are remix competitions – a chance to download the stems to a record usually out of reach to most of us. These come with several disadvantages, such as not owning the master recording or not being able to take anything from that work elsewhere if you don’t win – which you probably won’t.

Less common are contests to submit original songs – but they do exist. Usually, they’re for an advert or a game or something like that. So when Kia and Soundcloud announced they were running the Kia Creator Contest, we decided to take a closer look. Here’s the pitch on the Soundcloud site…

“Create an all-original song using sounds from the Kia instrument and the winning entry will take home a $5,000 (or local equivalent) cash prize and be part of SoundCloud’s marketing and video content.”

It’s not a bad prospect, on the face of it. Five thousand in the bank and a chance to appear all over Soundcloud’s website – but what are the terms involved? We took a look, and found much of it to be perfectly normal.

For example, you are not allowed to put anything into the song you submit which could be perceived as derogatory towards either Kia or Soundcloud. The fact this even has to be stated is laughable in itself – and you must also own 100% of the copyright of the song you’ve created. Oh, and don’t even think of sampling anyone else in the song.

But in the event you actually win this thing, what happens? Then it’ll be time to take the prize money and turn over all the rights to your master recording. Your song is now no longer owned by you – it’s now the property of a South Korean car company.

But it’s worth reading the whole “Rights To Winning Song” section in full to see just how much they can do with your composition…

Anything they like is the answer – and you will have no say whatsoever in the process. For instance, you are banned by contest rules from putting any political content on your song – but if Kia themselves wanted to get behind a political movement you fundamentally disagreed with, they could. And you’d have absolutely no way of legally stopping them.

They can also rework your song in any way they like or put it in any advert they wish – and not only can you not stop it, they don’t have to pay you any more money. In other words, your song could go out on a highly memorable Kia advert credited with increasing sales of a particular car – but you wouldn’t receive any of the proceeds of this success.

If you’re somehow still interested in entering the competition, you have until the end of tomorrow

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