“Wut’s a ChipWIN?”
Chiptunes = WIN aka ChipWIN is a community, netlabel, & blog that began on March 19th, 2011 as a Facebook group dedicated to the wonderfully unique creature that we call chiptune. The Facebook group was initially created by Brandon L. Hood aka “President Hoodie” as a way for him & a good handful of friends to share & discover chipmusic together. It has since grown into a 6000+ member strong dynamic international chiptune collective focused on promoting & fostering a more open and interactive chip community, & has become best known for releasing MASSIVE yearly chiptune compilations as well other smaller, equally awesome releases in between. This blog, of course, (& the rest of the related social media) also came from the midst of all of that crazy wonderfulness.
“Where does the money go?”
Any & all donations collected from the “name your price” compilations, merchandise, and Patreon go back into the project via a ChipWIN PayPal account. This money goes towards costs for mastering, artwork, promo videos, cloud storage, web dev, domain names, merchandise, shipping, acquiring albums for blog staff, & any other project related expenses that may arise. Funds may also go toward backing relevant Kickstarters & Patreon accounts, sponsoring chip events/shows, donating to chip charities & chipartists in need, etc. per the discretion of its founder. In essence, it’s a self sustaining project (& has been since Vol.1) that operates similarly to a nonprofit with a primary goal of continuing to do awesome for chiptune, up to & including ChipWIN Live Shows.
All of that said, we are currently in the process of evolving our business model to better suit the current state of the project and the community’s needs. At the moment, the focal point for this evolution is in expanding distribution for our compilation series beyond Bandcamp & YouTube, for which there will be revenue splits negotiated with the artists. This likely will not be a fast occurrence, however, as there’s a lot of work involved in making that happen. Stay tuned on that front.
“You mentioned live shows. When are those and/or “ChipWINFest’ happening?”
To be completely honest, there are higher priorities right now (& have been since the beginning of the community) than a “ChipWINFest/Tour”. In theory, it sounds absolutely dreamy. Logistically speaking, however, it’s an absolute nightmare to pull off with the level of efficiency and excellence that chipmusic fans deserve; it would require decent funding and a well organized staff to properly plan and execute (i.e. far from a one or two person job). If/when it happens, the proper time & effort will be taken to ensure that it is exceptionally organized via a collaborative effort of epic proportions (i.e. WHOLE ASS OR NO ASS AT ALL). As always, stay tuned for details, as they will be shared publicly as it is relevant & timely to do so.
And hey, if you wanna see this happen sooner, consider contributing to our Patreon!
“How do the ChipWIN “Volumes” work (i.e. the open to all participants compilations)?
‘Volume 1‘ (June 5th, 2012; 51 subs): the idea for the OG ChipWIN comp came about organically within the ChipWIN Facebook Group, as simply a compilation comprised of various ChipWIN group members. Once enough interest was piqued to start gathering submissions (i.e. real quick-like!), Hoodie took over the reigns and organized it into its final form. There was no official “judging” on V.1; the final roster (51 tracks gathered total) was a mix of both submissions provided by group members & tracks directly curated by Hoodie.
Little known fact: Vol.1 was meant to be a one off release, but after the overwhelming response to its publication, that plan was no more.
‘Volume 2‘ (July 15th, 2013; 146 subs): in a year’s time, the project had grown enough that Hoodie decided a “judging” process was necessary to (1) keep matters fair & balanced, and (2) to prevent the already massive 51 track ‘Volume’ roster from growing even larger. Thus the first ChipWIN Judging Panel was curated, consisting of Andrew Kilpatrick of Pxl-Bot, Kubbi, DJ CUTMAN & himself. From there, First Lady Ryn aka Chip Mom created a very helpful Google spreadsheet, which featured the track names, links to the tracks, a voting column, and a comments column. Using that, the judges listened, voted, & commented on the submissions as fairly & honestly as they could. Hoodie then used that significantly thorough amount of data to select the best entries for the final 51 track roster. This was very challenging, but the quality end result proved it a worthwhile endeavor, enough so that this process became the standard for future Volumes. This year also saw the beginning of the Volume collaborative expansion releases (more info about those in the next section).
‘Volume 3‘ (September 1st, 2014; 139 subs): the same process was utilized for Vol.3, albeit a bit more streamlined (Google Forms FTW) + a few changes to the judging panel, an alteration that became a regular part of the yearly process. An album fanart contest also came about organically, and was enjoyed well enough that it too joined in on the annual Volume shenanigans; see the V.3 Art Contest entries here.
‘Volume 5‘ (July 18th, 2016, 177 subs): the one notable change made during Vol.5 was the inclusion of some helpful advice from the judges in the Vol.5 Progress Report. This was appreciated enough that it became its own yearly column for future Volumes. V.5 Art Contest entries here.
‘Volume 7‘ (August 17th, 2018, 167 subs): Vol.7 featured a couple of minor changes:
• The decision was made to send out the “All Clear” message (i.e. comms that all Volume & Expansion Release artists had been chosen) via email in an attempt to ensure that everyone received the message properly; for most of the past comps, this had only been communicated via the blog and social media.
• The Vol.7 art contest was so competitive that Nate chose to enlist support from the compilation judging panel to help decide the winner. This also inspired us to feature the entrants in a rad art slideshow here on the blog.
Read the Vol.7 Judges Advice Column here.
‘Volume 8‘ aka V.8 aka TOMATO TIME (August 3rd, 2019; 167 subs): while no major changes were made to the process during this iteration, there were a record number of tomato puns made in and around the release. 🍅 View the Vol.8 Art Contest spotlight here, and read the Judges Advice Column here.
Cool & Good Volume Statistics:
• Regardless of the submission period length (avg. = 70-90 days) and/or the dates of its opening & closing, over half of the tracks always come in within the final 72 hours. Chip-crastination anyone?
• The average ratio of returning artists to “new challengers” (i.e. folk who have never appeared on a ChipWIN compilation before) is 50/50, which it has maintained throughout the entire Volume process. The fact that new folks are continually participating each year is a truly amazing, and humbling, fact. ♥
Learn a bit more about some of the judges through the following interviews here on the blog:
Andrew Kilpatrick – 1, 2 | Kubbi | Dj CUTMAN | C-jeff | cheapshot | 2xAA | Danimal Cannon | FLOOR BABA | Stemage – 1, 2
For some additional background information, check out this series of “Historical Context” articles that Hoodie wrote regarding the first five years of compilation preparation: Year 1 – Year 2 – Year 3 – Year 4 – Year 5
“How about the collaborative expansion releases like ‘Pxl-WIN’,’CheapBeats = WIN’, etc?
These special side releases are a collaborative effort between ChipWIN & a companion netlabel and/or community, which are typically involved in the Volume judging process. They are comprised of submissions that just barely missed being featured on their related Volumes, plus a handful of bonus tracks curated by the expansion release’s collaborating netlabel. Gives a completely different flavor to the end result, because collaboration is cool like that.
All seven instances thus far (‘Pxl-WIN‘,‘CheapBeats = WIN‘, ‘µWIN‘, ‘Forest = ВИН!‘, ‘DESKPOP & ChipWIN‘, ‘Tracked x ChipWIN‘, & ‘Robots Always WIN’) have been well received & are damn good, enough so that some folk look forward to these collaborative expansions as much as the Volumes. Note: the 1st expansion comp was curated by Hoodie.
“What about the other releases? How are those put together?”
Everything else is curated solely by Hoodie & are generally invite only. As much as we’d like all of the releases to be open to everyone, it’s simply too great a task to manage for each release; it also serves to keep the yearly “Volumes” & their related expansions unique. Regarding the invites themselves, they are typically sent out to a variety of chipartists from varying different genres, composition methods, & regions of the world to ensure as much creative diversity as possible.
While there’s no surefire guarantee, the best ways to increase your chances for an invite = make awesome chipmusic and interact regularly in the ChipWIN community; the Facebook group & Discord server are likely your best options.
“But srsly, how are the tracks chosen?”
By pizza spinning space cat djs. They actually write all the music too.
“There’s all forms and fashions of chipmusic on your compilations. What’s up with that?”
Simply enough, we love it all. Seriously, it’s that simple.
If you want it less simple, check out the founder’s “What *IS* chiptune?” Op-ed here, where Hoodie shares a few more in-depth thoughts on the matter.
“Can I livestream the comps while playing games & such?”
Yup, as long as you credit us properly. Info on how to do that here.
“What otherworldly being of AWESOME crafts the absolutely fantastic CW merch?”
Why pixie of Faerie Fire Design (fka pixie druid Apparel) of course! She’s also quite the graphic & pixel artist as well (see nifty logo below). Learn more about her awesome self via this lovely interview here! Find her personal merch here!
“Who’s the incredible BADASS that designs all the CW album artwork?”
That said, the amazing Chunderfins has recently gotten themselves involved in our artwork design, starting with the Chiptunes = RADIO banner below! Check out their artwork and music (you’ve likely heard them on one of our comps) here!
“The compilations are all obviously mastered, and wonderfully at that. Who does that?”
A handful of folk actually!
Volumes 1, 2, 3, & 4, ‘Expansion Pack‘, ‘ChipWINter‘, ‘Chiptunes = #SrsBsns‘, ‘MAGFest = WIN’ were all mastered by Chris Davidson aka Dj CUTMAN. Chris also helped us out with our YouTube channel for a number of years.
Volumes 5, 6, 7, & 8, ‘Chiptunes = WTFLOL‘, ‘ChipWINter Wonderland‘, ‘Celt-tunes = WIN‘, ‘Bundle of WIN‘, ‘HalloWIN‘, ‘Chips = FLIPPED‘, ‘Tracked x ChipWIN‘, ‘ChipWINter Wilderness‘, ‘Spacetunes = WIN‘, ‘Robots Always WIN’, & ‘A Fistful of Chiptunes‘ were all mastered by Grant Henry aka Stemage.
I highly recommend all of these cool cats for their mastering services; they #DontFuckAround.
“What’s this ‘#DontFuckAround’ nonsense really all about?”
Things #DontFuckAround does not mean:
- That we’re not about having fun and goofing around. Anyone who knows us at all knows better than that.
- That we’re taking any kind of stand on the sexual proclivities of any our members. Because we’re not. Y’all do you.
- Anything else at all. It’s really just a goofy catchphrase born from internet ridiculousness. #EndOfStory
“Why in the world is Hoodie so enamored with dickbutts?”
He’s not. Dickbutts went out of style long ago with the 2014 April Fool’s meme release. Other M– and IT GUD have also fallen out of vogue by this point, with even BREAD & TOMATO TIME (🍅) fading into the horizon. What silly crap will he fixate upon next? WHO KNOWS.
“Is Sam Adams Cherry Wheat ale truly as delicious as Hoodie says?”
No. It’s terrible, so much so that it has become outlawed on all of planet Earth. If you encounter any in the wild, please report it to Hoodie for immediate disposal, as the world’s governments have banded together & given him the authority to be in charge of such. DO NOT try to dispose of the Cherry Wheat yourself, as it is incredibly dangerous. Get it to Hoodie. He’ll handle it. He’s a swell guy like that. (っ＾▿＾)۶🍷🌟🍺٩(˘◡˘ )
“You folk are kinda silly & well… maybe even downright ridiculous at times. I’m not entirely sure I’m okay with chiptune being portrayed in such a way. Honestly, what’s your deal?”
In general, we are a pretty fun-loving, goofy collective of varyingly ridiculous folk, it’s true. Maybe even overmuch sometimes, I’ll admit it. That said, while we do not take ourselves all that seriously, we do take what we do, this project in its entirety, QUITE seriously; our thorough Community Guidelines and application & moderation of them may speak to this best. The balance of fun & serious will undoubtedly continue to wax and wane as we grow and evolve, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more passionate, active and engaged group of chipmusic loving individuals anywhere else in the world.
“Is that why the project name is silly too?”
Yup. The name ‘Chiptunes = WIN’ aka ‘ChipWIN’ is literally just an old inside joke/nerdspeak reference that stuck, same as ‘President Hoodie’ for Brandon. Goofy stuff happens on the internet around him.
“I really love what y’all are doing. How can I contribute?”
I don’t know! You tell us! Seriously, ping us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat!
And/or consider contributing to our Patreon (last mention of it in this doc, I swear).
“That answers most of my questions, thanks, but I’d still like to know _______?”
No problem. Shoot us a message at the aforementioned email address & we’ll get back to you first chance we get.