Since its launch in 2006, the RPM Challenge has resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of new songs and CDs. The numbers will continue to climb in February as the 12th annual Record Production Month unfolds.
RPM encourages participants to record a full album of at least 10 songs or 35 minutes of original music during the 28 days of February. It is free and open to all musicians of any genre, regardless of their experience level. It is not a contest and there are no prizes, other than the reward of having made a unique piece of art, and of sharing the experience with fellow RPMers.
“There are as many reasons for doing the RPM Challenge as there are people participating,” RPM co-founder Karen Marzloff said in a press release. “It often starts with the idea of having a deadline. But once you sign up, and you’re doing the work, new ideas emerge. It opens up the creative process for musicians around the world.”
The inaugural RPM Challenge was open only to musicians in New Hampshire. Much to the surprise of the organizers, more than 200 bands signed up, and about 165 CDs were submitted at the end of the month. Encouraged by the event’s success, the organizers opened up the challenge to the world in 2007, and more than 2,000 acts signed up, representing all seven continents. Since then, each installment of RPM has resulted in hundreds of new CDs from around the globe.
Musicians can sign up for the 2017 event at rpmchallenge.com. The website also serves as an RPM hub, where participants can exchange ideas, provide updates on their progress, and collaborate on their projects.
RPM albums have featured a diverse array of genres and recording techniques. Some participants take the opportunity to record their very first album, using computer software in their bedrooms. Others take to the studio to make professionally engineered albums. Several groups that started as impromptu RPM projects have grown into active touring bands.
New this year is a fundraising initiative aimed at underwriting the program, maintaining the website, and sustaining the challenge for years to come. Donations of any size can be made by clicking here.
After the finished CDs are collected, a Portsmouth Listening Party takes place Saturday, March 18, at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth. Participants (and non-participants) can socialize while listening to tracks from the completed albums.
The 2017 RPM Challenge begins on Wednesday, Feb. 1. To sign up and get more details, visit rpmchallenge.com.