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The search for The Sound of All Human Knowledge begins: Global contest aims to identify the first ever sound logo for Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects

Wikimedia Sound Logo

Musicians, creatives, fans of Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia free knowledge movement are encouraged to submit their sounds from 13 September - 10 October at soundlogo.wikimedia.org

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13 September 2022 — Today, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, is launching The Sound of All Human Knowledge, a global contest to find a sound logo for Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. Submissions are open from now through 10 October at soundlogo.wikimedia.org

Sound logos, also known as sound trademarks or sonic logos, leverage a short collection of sounds to represent a brand in audiovisual and audio-only settings. Sound logos have gained popularity alongside the rise of audio technology globally, with the number of active voice assistant users growing from 544.1 million users in 2015 to 2.6 billion users in 2021. 

Wikimedia projects increasingly power other websites and general knowledge queries on voice-assisted devices. A sound logo will help ensure listeners know when they are accessing knowledge from Wikipedia or Wikimedia sites anywhere online. 

“As people encounter knowledge from Wikimedia projects in new ways, the Wikimedia brand needs to be present in new formats,” said Zack McCune, Director of Brand at the Wikimedia Foundation. “The sound logo contest asks participants to consider, what does free knowledge sound like? We built a contest that aims to answer that question while reflecting the collective wisdom of the crowd ethos of the Wikimedia projects and movement.”

The contest was designed by the Wikimedia Foundation in close consultation with the Wikimedia movement, the volunteers that write and edit Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. The contest models previous logo contests run by volunteers, including the 2003 contest that identified the earliest version of Wikipedia’s puzzle globe. By inviting global participation, the contest aims to reflect the open, collaborative spirit of Wikimedia projects and the free knowledge movement.

Contest submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee of seven Wikimedia volunteer contributors alongside five sound experts and a musicologist assembled by MassiveMusic. The committee will combine their expertise to narrow down submissions to ten sounds that can be easily recalled, adopted across audio settings, and reflect the Wikimedia movement’s values. These ten sounds will then be open for voting to select the final winning sound beginning 29th November.

In early 2023, the final winning sound will be announced. The winner will receive a prize of $2,500 USD and a trip to the recording studio to re-record the sound logo with the assistance of MassiveMusic. The ten finalist candidates will also receive limited edition sound logo swag.

“The sound logo contest builds on a tradition organizing both global photo competitions and visual logo contests in our movement and brings Wikimedia branding into a new landscape: sound,” said Lodewijk Gelauff, one of the initiators of the global Wiki Loves Monuments contest and one of seven Wikimedia contributors on the contest’s selection committee. “A sound logo for the Wikimedia movement is long overdue. We’re excited to bring our own knowledge together with expertise in sound to finally identify, with the movement, a sound logo that represents us and connects Wikimedia knowledge across platforms.”

The Sound of All Human Knowledge contest supports the movement’s 2030 strategic direction, and more specifically, the recommendation to Innovate in Free Knowledge

“It’s a pleasure to be working so closely with Wikimedia volunteers and the Foundation on this truly unique and forward-thinking project. In a world where audio-first touchpoints are evolving – think social media, smart speakers, video streaming platforms, podcasts, apps – our common goal is to ensure Wikimedia content is represented through sound, now and in the future,” said Aifric Lennon, Account Director and Research Strategist at MassiveMusic. “Music has this special power to cross borders and unite communities. We’re looking forward to reviewing sonic logo submissions from all over the world and helping the Wikimedia movement for free knowledge find a unifying sound that stands for its values.”

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About the Wikimedia Foundation 

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

For more information about the Sound of All Human Knowledge contest, visit: soundlogo.wikimedia.org

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Wikimedia Sound Logo

Wikimedia Sound Logo press release image-05

Wikimedia Foundation

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