“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 5800+ 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 essentially operates like a nonprofit organization (note: hoping to obtain that legal status at some point in the not-so-distant future), with a primary goal of continuing to do awesome for chiptune, up to & including ChipWIN Live Shows.
“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).
In the meantime, ChipWIN is already directly involved in various other live chipshows/fests (including MAGFest), both via sponsorship and/or direct, hands on organization. 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)?
The idea for ‘Volume 1‘ 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: V.1 was meant to be a one off release, but after the overwhelming response to its publication on June 5th, 2012, that plan was no more.
For ‘Volume 2‘ (July 15th, 2013), the project had grown enough in a year’s time that Hoodie decided a “judging” process was necessary to keep things fair & balanced, and to prevent the “Volume” roster from growing even larger than the already outrageous number of tracks (51). Thus he recruited the first ChipWIN Judges Panel™, comprised of Andrew Kilpatrick, Kubbi, DJ CUTMAN & himself. From there, First Lady Ryn aka Chip Mom created a really BAMF Google spreadsheet, upon which were listed the track names, links to the tracks, a voting space (scores of 0 – 5) & a place for comments. Using that, the judges listened, voted, & commented on the 146 submissions received as fairly & honestly as they possibly could. Hoodie then used that significantly thorough amount of data to choose the best of the best for the final 51 track roster of ‘Volume 2’. This was NOT an easy process, but the end result proved to be absolutely magical.
The same process was essentially utilized for ‘Volume 3‘ (September 1st, 2014), albeit a bit more streamlined (Google Forms FTW!!) + a few changes to the judging panel: Hoodie, Dj CUTMAN, & Kubbi remained, joined by newcomers C-jeff of Ubiktune & cheapshot of cheapbeats.net. Of further note about V.3, “rejection e-mails” were done away with in favor of releasing a public list of the final roster as the primary method of informing the participants of who did & did not make the compilation; reception of such was more positive vs the e-mail communication of V.2 (plus way easier to manage). Also, a fun album fanart contest came about (kinda accidentally lolol), & was enjoyed well enough that it became a regular occurrence from V.3 on! While the total of V.3 submissions numbered a couple handfuls less than V.2 (125 total), the end result proved no less phenomenal than before.
‘Volume 4‘ (July 20th, 2015) proceeded in basically the same fashion as V.3, albeit with some further alterations to the judging panel. A new record of 153 qualifying submissions were received, and it successfully released with the same amount of fun and fanfare as usual.
‘Volume 5‘ (July 18th, 2016) was one helluva ride after the start to one of the weirdest years of Mr. Hood’s life. #MentalHealthFTW With that personal note aside, outside of adding three new members to the judging panel, making it the largest Volume panel yet, the only difference was an alteration to the score limitations; 1 – 5 vs the previous 0 – 5, which provided a bit more concise dataset for the roster to be formed. 169 qualifying submissions were received this Volume, which is 16 more than Volume 4’s previous record! At the time, it was easily the strongest Volume compilation yet, in both the variety of styles and overall quality of submissions. At least until…
‘Volume 6‘ released on August 11th, 2017, stealing the title for best ChipWIN Volume yet again (/note this is a very subjective statement; take it with a grain of salt /endnote). Again, other than the usual judging panel change-up, not much alteration to the project methodology was made (if it ain’t broke… ƪ(‾ε‾“)ʃ ). For V.6, 171 qualifying submissions were received (NEW HIGH SCORE! ENTER YOUR INITIALS!), which is a fairly incredible number. Although perhaps not nearly as incredible as the final compilation itself, which is a gorram monster.
‘Volume 7‘ released on August 17th, 2018, and once again, to great acclaim and celebration (there’s a trend here if you hadn’t noticed yet). Other than the usual judging roster variation, a few minor change-ups to the Volume process were made. Submissions opened a bit earlier than usual, although this did not alter the pattern for their reception (since V.2, over half of the tracks have been received within the final 72 hours). A submission deadline extension was avoided this time (the last couple of Volumes received one due to scheduling conflicts with the deadline). The decision was made to send out the “All Clear” message (i.e. comms that all Volume & Expansion Release artists had been chosen) via e-mail in an attempt to ensure that everyone received the message properly this time (in the past, it had only been communicated via the blog and social media). Last but not least, the V.7 art contest was so competitive that Nate chose to enlist support from the compilation judging panel to help decide the winner; view all the entrants for yourself in this convenient slideshow here.
166 submissions were received for V.7, although the most amazing statistic to mention has to do with the ratio of returning artists to “new challengers” (i.e. folk who have never appeared on a ChipWIN compilation before): it remains around 50/50, which it’s maintained throughout the entire Volume process. The fact that new artists are continually submitting to the Volume process is a truly amazing, & 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 (one that’s 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 + collaboration is fun yo! All six (!!!) instances thus far (‘Pxl-WIN‘,‘CheapBeats = WIN‘, ‘µWIN‘, ‘Forest = ВИН!‘, ‘DESKPOP & ChipWIN‘ & ‘Tracked x ChipWIN‘) have been well received & are damn good, enough so that some folk look forward to these collaborative expansions as much as the ‘Volumes’.
“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?”
These children actually do it for us (& 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?”
“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 in the ‘verse does that?”
A handful of folk actually!
Volumes 5, 6, and 7, ‘Chiptunes = WTFLOL‘, ‘chipWINter Wonderland‘, ‘Celt-tunes = WIN‘, ‘Bundle of WIN‘, ‘HalloWIN‘, ‘Chips = FLIPPED‘, ‘Tracked x ChipWIN‘, & ‘ChipWINter Wilderness‘ 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?”
While Theory of N is the guy to hit up for the true origin story of #DontFuckAround (which is hilarious btw), we basically just use it as a mantra of sorts for getting work done. That’s it.
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. Because that’s dumb. 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 “#SrsBsns” release. #DickbuttOversaturation Other M– has even fallen out of vogue by this point. He’s all about that “IT GUD” life now. Blame the ChipWIN Discord server for that.
“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 the whole 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 and 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 just a swell guy like that.
“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. That balance 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.
“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 e-mail address & we’ll get back to you first chance we get.