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Backstage Blog November 14th, 2011 Announcements Competition App - Host a contest, powered by SoundCloud By Lee Martin


Competitions are a great way to get your fans involved around a particular theme or release. They encourage original content creation and tend to be extremely viral due to the high level of self-promotion involved with participating.

The infrastructure you choose to throw these contests on should be accessible from any device while also providing a nice aesthetic backdrop to apply your branding. Users should be able to submit, vote, and comment no matter where they’re coming from: Web, iPhone, Facebook Tab, etc.

Today we’re putting forth an open-source app called Competition which we think is a great solution to the problem.

While I explain what makes this app unique, it may help to follow along with any of the live examples here:

I’ll be discussing the main sections and features: Front Page, Track Page, Submit Page, and Mobile


Front Page

This well structured page includes the following:

  • Call to action block which gives a brief intro into your competition
  • Large banner graphic
  • Long form explanation about the competition
  • Two columns showing both new tracks and those which are most popular
  • Section for prizing
  • And finally, a separate section to promote your company or artist


Track Page

SoundCloud powers all voting, commenting, favoriting, and submitting which allows for a sync between your Competition app and SoundCloud. So when users comment on a track on the app, they're also contributing a comment to the track on SoundCloud which carries socially. Simply login (or sign-up, we have Facebook for login too) with your SoundCloud account to participate. In addition this page includes about, stats, and sharing.


Submit Page

The submission system works simply enough:

  1. Sign-up for SoundCloud (if you haven’t already)
  2. Upload your track to SoundCloud
  3. Return to the app, login, and select your track from the provided drop-down list

The song will then be instantly added to the app and the submitter will be encouraged to share it with friends.



Competition is built from the group up to play nicely with mobile devices. Here’s how:

  • The player was built with an HTML5 fallback so it will work on as many devices as possible, such as the iPhone or iPad
  • The entire layout is elastic so it resizes auto-magically to the screen size of your device. Try resizing your browser down or opening one of the examples up on your iPhone.

This additional layer of accessibility will add tons to the engagement. Allowing creators and voters to participate in your competition from anywhere.


Deploy Instructions

Competition is an open-source Ruby on Rails application that must be deployed to a server which supports the RoR framework. We highly recommend Heroku as the server of choice because it offers a free base server and makes deploying RoR apps much easier. You should also have a basic understanding of Git and a local version of RoR running for development purposes.

If all that sounds good: check out the basic deploy instructions on Github.

If everything I said above went over your head: don’t sweat! Drop me a line at about your competition and we’ll let you know when we launch a turn-key version of Competition.



If you end up deploying the app yourself or have a feature request, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter @leemartin.

If you find any bugs, let me know on the Github issues portal.