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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

In New York City, summer has a theme song.

(Soundbite of Mister Softee ice cream trucks' jingle)

SIEGEL: Mister Softee ice cream trucks prowled the neighborhoods of the five boroughs with this hard-to-miss jingle. But as the weather warms up in the city, a couple of Brooklyn artists are asking if the trucks could serve up something sweeter. They're holding an Internet contest to come up with a better ice cream song.

NPR's Robert Smith has that story.

(Soundbite of Mister Softee ice cream trucks' jingle)

ROBERT SMITH: There is a certain logic to an ice cream truck jingle.

Mr. JEFFREY LOPEZ (Competition Organizer, Ice Cream Headache): It has to be an earworm. It sticks in your ear.

Ms. LAUREN ROSATI (Competition Organizer, Ice Cream Headache): And immediately identifiable from far away.

Mr. LOPEZ: You can't mistake it for anything else other than the vending machine for ice cream.

SMITH: I'm on the street on the lower east side with Jeffrey Lopez and Lauren Rosati. They actually kind of like the Mister Softee tune. But as you may be experiencing right this second, its endless repetition can get a tad bit annoying.

(Soundbite of Mister Softee ice cream trucks' jingle)

SMITH: Okay, okay. Kill the jingle. So Lopez and Rosati were batting around ideas for a better ice cream truck song when they thought of tapping the pent-up frustration of annoyed New York City musicians. Ice Cream Headache is the name of the Internet contest. And so far, they have drawn 40 remixes and fresh takes on the theme.

(Soundbite of a jingle, "Balinese Softee")

Ms. NINA KATCHADOURIAN (Participant, Ice Cream Headache): My name is Nina Katchadourian. I'm a visual artist and musician. And the piece that I've composed for the Ice Cream Headache project is called Balinese Softee.

(Soundbite of a jingle, "Ice Cream Beatbox")

Mr. ADAM MATTA (Participant, Ice Cream Headache): My name is Adam Matta. I'm a human beatboxer, and my contribution is the Mister Softee Beatbox remix.

(Soundbite of a jingle, "Mister Softee Beatbox Remix")

Mr. MATTA: For many years now, when I hear the Mister Softee truck pass by, I beatbox along with it, you know, while I'm walking down the street. So it wasn't a big leap. It's kind of engrained in my subconscious.

Mr. LUKE DUBOIS (Participant, Ice Cream Headache): My name is Luke Dubois and I'm a composer in New York. And basically what I did was I took the Mister Softee Jingle and scratched it.

(Soundbite of a jingle, "Ice Cream Ice Mix")

Mr. DUBOIS: That wasn't really thinking of attracting children as much as making the adults in the room to rethink this thing that they've been listening to their whole lives.

SMITH: The contest closes this week, and the winners will receive the greatest prize an ice cream jingle writer could ever hope for. They'll be broadcast from the top of the truck driving around New York City on Memorial Day weekend.

Ms. ROSATI: It'll look like an ice cream truck except it'll have our own logo on it and manipulated tunes.

SMITH: But if kids come running, will there be ice cream?

Ms. ROSATI: We hope. We hope. We're working on it. We hope so.

SMITH: So children of New York City, you have three weeks - three weeks - to shake down your parents for some change and to retune your ears perhaps to this jingle by Anton Glamb.

(Soundbite of a jingle, "Ice Cream Bounce")

SMITH: Because the man with sweets, now has the funky beat.

Robert Smith, NPR News, New York.

SIEGEL: You can hear more of those funky beat plus the full Balinese Mister Softee and other entries in the contest at npr.org.

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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