International Music Festival
The general logo of IMF. The host country appears in the circle.
Also known as IMF
Genre Song contest
Country of origin List of countries
Language(s) English
Location(s) List of host cities
Running time About 1 month
Original airing 23 July 2013 - present
Status IMF #37 ongoing
Editions 36
Specials 2
Number of countries 80
Number of songs 1771

The International Music Festival, often shortened as IMF, is a song contest on Youtube held among the members of the International Broadcasting Union since July 2013 and is inspired by the Eurovision Song Contest. The current and official IMF executive supervisor is Florian Rahn.

Each country's head of delegation gets to select an entry for each edition either by internal or national selection. Then the countries get to vote for each show (pre-qualifying round, semi-final or final) to determine the qualifiers and the winner of the edition.


Logo and themeEdit

The first used logo for the International Music Festival, was changed on the 9th August 2014. The new logo has been introduced after the 25th edition. The fonts have been changed to Gotham and Gotham Black.

  • The current logo.
  • The logo used from 09 August 2014 till early 2015.


Participation Edit

Main article: List of countries in the International Music Festival

Any full member of the International Broadcasting Union  is allowed to send a song for the International Music Festival. Countries that are not full members can apply for becoming one. The IBU has already accepted some countries that were not full members of the IBU in the beginning of IMF. However, the IBU has also already declined a lot of nations and states that wanted to become a full member - and to participate in IMF.

Each full member has got a certain broadcaster that is responsible for the choice of the artists and songs the country is sending for each edition. 59 countries have participated at least once.


The "Big 5" / "Big 6"Edit

Map showing the "participation" of a country in the Big 6 up to the thirty-fourth edition.


Borrowing countriesEdit

As mentioned above, the micro states can borrow from their neighbour countries. It was also decided that generally, all the borrowed songs must have not entered the top 100 charts in any country. The following list shows the countries that can borrow and the countries that they can borrow from.
Every edition

Selection processEdit

Each country must submit one song to represent them in any given edition they participate. There has been a rule which forbids any song being entered which has been previously commercially released or broadcast in public before year 2000.

Countries may select their songs by any means, whether by an internal decision of the participating contry or a public contest that allows the country's public to televote between several songs, these public selections are known as national finals.

Regardless of the method used to select the entry, the song's details must be finalised and submitted before a deadline some days before the international contest. Once an entry has been submitted, it can not simply been taken away. 

International Music Festival scheduleEdit

IMF season is a term often used to refer to the days "around" the contest. It usually lasts one or two months and the most national selections are held that time. Also, various events are hosted during the season like parties or press conferences.


The quarter-final is held before the actual contest since there have been more and more participants. To keep the semi-finals with 20 participants, only 46 countries can advance to the main event. Therefor, a variable amount of countries has to leave the stage at the quarter-final.

Rehearsals and press conferencesEdit

Conchita rehearsal

Conchita Wurst (Austria, #15) during a rehearsal.

Each country has two rehearsals before the contest. The rehearsals start with the semi-final countries nine days before the first semi-final. During the first two days, the rehersals for the first semi-final countries take place while during the next two days the rehearsals for the second semi-final countries take place. The second rehearsals for each country take place on the fifth and sixth days. On the seventh day, the big 5 countries have their first rehearsal taken. On the ninth day, the big 5 have their second rehearsal taken. Apart from the regular rehearsals, there are also three dress rehearsals for each show where the full show is rehearsed. The dress rehearsals for the semi-finals and the final take place in two days: twice on the day before the show (one in the afternoon and the other in the evening) and once on the day of the show. The third dress rehearsal, the one before the contest, is the show that is taken place for the jury, which means that the 50% of the result is decided before the live contest. The table below shows the schedule that is used for every edition with some adjustments made for each edition.

 First rehearsal  Second rehearsal  Dress rehearsal  Show
Semi-final and final rehearsal schedule
Show Days
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
Semi-final 1
Semi-final 2
Il Volo press

Il Volo (Italy, #30) during a press conference.

After the rehearsals, the delegations of each country meets with the artistic director of the edition to preview the performance of the country. They watch the footage of the country's rehearsal, discussing about possible changes in stuff such as camera angles, lighting and choreography. Also, the Head of Delegation is able to know what special effects the performance would require and requests them from the host broadcaster. Right after this meeting, the delegation has a press conference held where members of the accredited press ask them question. The conferences are held at the same time with the rehearsals and while the first country is in the press room, the second country is already rehearsing. A printed summary of the questions and answers which emerge from the press conferences is produced by the host press office, and distributed to journalists' pigeon-holes.

Sneak peeks and betting oddsEdit

Aproximately two weeks before the semi-finals, the host broadcaster uploads six or seven sneak peeks. The countries used to be divided according their geographical place like the pots for the semi-final allocation draw, however are now divided by the order of announcing their entries. Most of the participating nations open a poll on the broadcaster's site and let people vote for their favorite in each sneak peek.

The betting odds are mostly based on the nations' average result for each sneak peek. The betting odds were introduced in the third and edition and has predicted several winners right, but also peaked countries wrong.


The first voting system was in use between the first and thirthy-fourth editions. Countries award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to other songs in the competition — with the favourite song being awarded 12 points.

It was announced that since the thirthy-fifth edition a new voting system would be used. Instead of combining the votes of the public and jury of each country, the countries would now send two separate sets of 1-8, 10 and 12; one from their professional juries and one from their public voting.

Edition Points Voting system
0134 One set of 12, 10 and 8-1 points All countries should use telephone voting to decide which songs would receive points. Wherever televoting was not possible at all, a jury was used.
Two sets of 12, 10 and 8-1 points All countries used televoting and/or SMS-voting and juries with each ranking representing a set of 12, 10 and 8-1 points.

Since the first edition the voting has been presided over by the IBU scrutineer, who is responsible for ensuring that all points are allocated correctly and in turn. The following are the scrutineers and Executive Supervisors of the International Music Festival appointed by the IBU;

  • Adrià Puigdemont (16)
  • Florian Rahn (1–present)

Ties for first placeEdit

In the event of a tie for first place at the end of the evening, a count is made of the total number of countries who awarded any points at all to each of the tied countries; and the one who received points from the most countries is declared the winner. If the numbers are still tied, it is counted how many sets of maximum marks (12 points) each country received. If there is still a tie, the numbers of 10-point scores awarded are compared—and then the numbers of 8-points, all the way down the list. In the extremely unlikely event of there then still being a tie for first place, the song performed earliest in the running order is declared the winner, unless the host country performed first in the running order. The same tie-break rule now applies to ties for all places.

As of today, the rule of tie for first place has never been used.

Nul pointsEdit

Since each of the participating countries casts a series of preference votes, under the current scoring system it is rare that a song fails to receive any votes at all. Under the rules this means that the song failed to make the top ten most popular songs in any country.

When it does happen, it is often referred to in the British populist media as nul points (pronounced as if it were French, although the phrase is meaningless in French). In fact the phrase nul points is never actually read out during the presentation of the Contest. French for "no points" is pas de point and zéro point, and none of these phrases are used in the contest as no-point scores are not announced by the presenters.

Untill present, no entry received no points:


It was decided in the first contest that two semi-finals would be held. Countries must participate in the semi-finals in order to proceed to the Grand Final. The only countries which automatically qualify for the grand final are the host country, and the top four from previous edition.

Starting from the IMF 10, because of the high number of countries, which wishes to participate, there were introduced three semifinals.

In each of the semi-finals the voting is conducted among those countries which participate in that semi-final in question. With regards to the automatic grand final qualifiers, which do not participate in the semi-finals, a draw is conducted to determine in which semi-final each of them will be allowed to vote. In contrast, every participating country in a particular edition may vote in the grand final — whether their song qualified from the semi or not.

After the votes have been cast in each semi-final, the countries which received the most votes—and will therefore proceed to the grand final —are announced in random order of their ranking. Full voting results are withheld until after the grand final, whereupon they are published by the admin.

Wildcard battlesEdit

There have been Wildcard battles in the fourh edition.

Special editionsEdit

Special Edition 1Edit

The fifth edition was the first Special Edition, with all songs being Eurovision 2000-2013 songs.

International Music Festival Best Of EditionsEdit

International Music Festival Best Of Edition 1Edit

International Music Festival Best Of Edition 1 is an event edition organised to commemorate the best winning song of IMF #1-#10.


So far there is one spin-off of the International Music Festival.



Possible spin-offs:

Winners Edit

Main article: List of International Music Festival winners