Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions (And How to Win Them)
Written by Cameron Mayo
You hear all about singing talent competitions and how they can change lives and make careers, but what about the best songwriting competitions? Just like songwriters, these competitions seem to be a bit more lowkey. If you didn’t know, there are several songwriting contest available to show off your skills and win the recognition you deserve. Some are specific to a genre while others are open to anyone. To get some practice and a feel of how these go, it might be good to start with smaller or more genre specific competitions. Below are some legit songwriting contests of 2018 (and a to keep on your calendar for 2019).
This contest has been around for over 35 years, which is why it is one of the most trusted competitions of its kind. You need to pay an entry fee of $15 per song, but the contest is bi-monthly. You can win a Paul Reed Smith acoustic guitar and a Sennheiser microphone as a winner, and the 10 honorable mentions get printed out. There is 1 grand prize winner every year, who can win a trip to Nashville to record a demo and a “Dream Co-Write” with an already established writer.
When you submit to this contest, your music is reviewed by professionals from many different sides of the industry. They have professors, lyricists, managers, songwriters, performers, and publishing executives on their panel of judges. With low entry fees and you can win prestige as a songwriter if you win this competition. Even if you don’t win, you get a detailed evaluation that can help you improve to get a better shot next time around.
With over $150,000 up for grabs, you also get press and publicity that could absolutely change your life. With huge, evolving set of judges, this panel has been staffed by famous musicians such as B.B. King, Brian Wilson, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
The entries to this contest are to help with the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, providing opportunities for students to create. There are over $300,000 worth of cash and prizes to winners with the “Song of the Year” winning $20,000 along with a massive prize package.
Despite being sponsored by Country Music Television, this contest is for songwriters of all genres. Winners can attend the CMT Country Music Awards, earn meetings with major music publishers, and get a one-year membership to NSAI. This yearly competition is a collaboration with some of the biggest businesses and organizations in the industry. Not only offering a cash prize, they award winners with coaching and other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to improve their craft.
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There are a few tips that can help you win these contests.
First of all, you need to be original and memorable. You don’t want your song to sound exactly like Top 40 songs out there right now. It’s easy for beginners to get lost in their musical inspirations and end up copying them. You want to write something that is catchy so you are easily remembered. When reviewing the lyrics, the judges typically want something that is more polished, natural, and meaningful.
You should also remember that just because the competition says that they aren’t going to judge based on the sound quality of your music, that doesn’t mean it won’t play a factor in the song. Make sure that you record the song and edit it to sound as professional as possible.
So get to work! Some of the deadlines may have passed for this year, it takes time to create a competition winning song. Start getting ready for the 2019 competitions!
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