Search the Site

A Dad-or-Daughter Songwriting Contest


My daughter, Anna, spent a bunch of time this past summer writing songs. One thing led to another and we ended up coauthoring a song together.  I have more than 50 academic coauthors, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried writing music with someone.
Is it easy for people to tell the difference between songs she wrote by herself and a song where I wrote most of the lyrics?  Is it possible for a 52-year-old lawyer/economist to emulate the lyrics of a 14-year-old Gleek? I think a lot of people would have a surprisingly hard time. But the question is testable.
So today I’m announcing a contest where you could earn a chance of winning an iTunes gift card worth somewhere between $50-$500. To play, just click through and listen to these three songs – Friend Zone, Longer, & Your Way, and then leave a comment to this post or as a YouTube comment to one of the three songs saying:  i) which of the three songs you think I coauthored; ii) identifying a line in that song you believe I wrote; and iii) identifying a line in that song you believe Anna wrote. Here they are:

An entry will get one point for identifying the coauthored song, one point for identifying an Ian line; and one point for identifying an Anna line.
The contest closes on October 31 at midnight. At that time, I’ll figure out how many points to assign to each commenter. If there is only one comment with three points, that commenter will win the gift card. If there is more than one comment earning three points, I’ll randomly select one comment from among this set. If nobody submits a three-point comment, I’ll repeat the procedure looking at two-point comments, and continue until I’ve identified a winner.
The more people who listen to these songs, the larger the prize (up to a cap of $500). On Oct. 31 at midnight, I’ll add together the number of “views” listed on YouTube for each song. I’ll multiply the total views for the three songs by a penny per view and increase the iTunes gift card by this amount. So if by some miracle there are a thousand total views, I’ll give one lucky commenter a gift card worth $60 ($50 + 1,000*$.01).  I’ll add a 10% bonus if the winner tweeted or Facebooked “I played the #DadorDaughterContest at” Under no circumstances will I give more than one gift card, and under no circumstances will I give a gift card worth more than $500.
This is not a legally enforceable offer or agreement. While I intend to give someone a gift card, you shouldn’t rely on this post to your detriment. Feel free to say bad things about me though if I don’t pay off.
Why am I willing to put up my own money for something like this? In part, I’m paying for data. But there is also narcissism at play. I would love for people to have a listen to my and Anna’s songs. Indeed, if this works at all, I might come back and see if I can figure out a way to compensate people for downloading and reading some of my academic writing.
I’d also love to learn which song you like the best. But please be gentle. And I’ve already demonstrated that training in law and economics is not the best precursor to writing quality poetry. You can listen to other songs written by Anna (and maybe glean some information about her solo songwriting style) at her YouTube channel. (I particularly like Picture Perfect and What Might Have Been.)
As a bonus for people who enter before Oct. 10, I’ll send a free autographed copy of both Carrots and Sticks and The $500 Diet to the commenter who comes closest to guessing what the total number of views will be when the contest closes at midnight on Oct. 31.