Songwriting Advice

Song Writing Contest

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Are you an aspiring songwriter looking for your big break or a seasoned pro seeking fresh opportunities? A songwriting contest might just be what you need to boost your career, gain recognition for your talents, and perhaps walk away with some incredible prizes. In this post, we will explore the world of songwriting competitions and show you how to find the perfect contest for your unique style and skill level.

Songwriting contests have long been a staple in the music industry. Not only do they provide incentives for songwriters to prove their abilities, but they also offer invaluable performance experience and the potential for networking opportunities. With a wide range of contests available, songwriters can compete in specialized genres, international competitions, or spotlight their local talent.

Here are the key elements to keep in mind when choosing and preparing for a songwriting contest:

1. Research and select the right contest

The first step in entering a songwriting contest is to choose one that best suits your style and goals. There are various resources, such as _Songwriting Magazine_ and _American Songwriter_, that list upcoming contests, so keep an eye on these to find an event in a suitable genre and location.

2. Read the rules carefully

This may seem obvious, but it's essential to thoroughly read and understand the contest rules. Not only might there be strict submission requirements (e.g., audio formats and deadlines), but there could also be specific instructions about permissible subject matter, audio length, and more. Be sure your song meets these criteria to avoid disqualification.

3. Craft the perfect song

With the contest chosen and rules understood, it's time to craft your winning song. Consider your audience, the competition's theme (if there is one), and what sets you apart as an artist. And although creativity and originality are crucial, winning songs also often showcase meaningful content, strong hooks/choruses, and memorable melodies.

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4. Record a quality demo

Your chances of winning will depend on the quality of your demo, so invest time and resources to make your song sound as good as possible. Record with quality equipment, either in a professional studio or with a reliable home set-up, and be sure to get useful feedback from others before submitting.

5. Prepare for success

Your contest experience doesn't end with your submission. If you're fortunate enough to make it to the final stages, there might be an additional live performance or interview involved. Be prepared for these opportunities by rehearsing extensively, working on stage presence, and refining your pitch to showcase your talent and marketability.

Song Writing Contest Example

Let's say you choose to enter the John Lennon Songwriting Contest: one of the most prestigious and international songwriting events that accepts submissions in various genres. After identifying the perfect contest, you review the rules, noting the submission deadline and any other requirements, such as no explicit lyrics. You then write an original, poignant song with a catchy chorus that perfectly fits the contest criteria. You record a quality demo, taking care to use proper equipment, and submit your song well before the deadline. Later, you learn that you have advanced to the later stages, which might involve video interviews, live performance opportunities, or even trips to New York City for the ultimate competition round. With ample preparation and hard work, you give your best performance and stand out among your peers.

The world of songwriting contests is vast and filled with potential opportunities for those who are willing to take on the challenge. By choosing the right contest, understanding the rules, writing and recording a quality song, and preparing for success, you'll be well on your way to unleashing your potential as an artist and gaining recognition in the music industry. And as you hone your songwriting skills, don't forget that Lyric Assistant is here to help you create your next masterpiece. Try it now and see how easy it can be to write the perfect song, tailored to your unique sound and audience preferences. Best of luck in your songwriting journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Songwriting Contest?

A songwriting contest is a competition where songwriters submit their original compositions to be judged on factors such as melody, composition, lyrics, and originality. Winners may receive various prizes, ranging from cash awards to publishing deals or studio time to record their music.

Who can enter a Songwriting Contest?

Contests often have specific eligibility criteria, but generally speaking, both amateur and professional songwriters can enter. Some contests might have age restrictions or be open only to residents of certain regions.

Is there a fee to enter a Songwriting Contest?

Many songwriting contests require an entry fee, which can vary in amount. The fee helps cover the administrative costs of running the contest and can contribute to funding the prize pool.

How do I submit my song to a contest?

Submission guidelines differ for each contest. Generally, you will need to provide a recording of your song and possibly notated sheet music or lyrics. Submissions are typically done through online platforms provided by the contest organizers.

Can I submit a song with a co-writer?

Yes, songs written by multiple people can be submitted, but the division of any prizes must be determined by the co-writers. Some contests may have specific rules about how many songwriters can be credited.

Are cover songs or samples allowed in songwriting contests?

Most songwriting contests require original work only, which means cover songs and unlicensed samples are usually not allowed. However, always check the specific rules of each contest.

Will I retain the rights to my song if I enter a contest?

You typically retain the rights to your music when entering a songwriting contest. However, some contests might ask for a non-exclusive license to share your song for promotional purposes. Always read the fine print before submitting your work.

What happens if I win a songwriting contest?

If you win, you'll typically receive the prize outlined in the contest rules, which may include cash, recording opportunities, or music equipment. In addition, winning can provide exposure, networking opportunities, and a boost to your songwriting portfolio.

Can I submit the same song to multiple contests?

Generally, yes, you can submit the same song to different contests as long as it doesn't violate any of the contest's rules that you're entering. Make sure to check each contest's terms and conditions.

How are submitted songs judged in a contest?

Songs are usually judged on criteria such as lyric content, melody, harmony, creativity, and originality. Specific judging criteria can be found on the contest's official rules or guidelines.

What should I consider when choosing a contest to enter?

Consider the contest's reputation, the relevance of the prizes, entry fees, the judging panel's expertise, and the opportunity for feedback or networking. Choose contests that align with your musical style and career goals.

How can I improve my chances of winning a Songwriting Contest?

To improve your chances, focus on crafting a well-structured song with strong lyrics and melody. Study past winners, get feedback from other musicians, and ensure your recording is of good quality. Following the contest rules precisely is also crucial.

Can international songwriters enter U.S.-based contests?

Many U.S.-based songwriting contests are open to international entrants, but it's important to verify this in the contest's rules, as some may have geographic restrictions.

How will I be notified if I win?

Winners are typically notified via the contact information provided during submission. This could be through email, phone, or a notification on the contest's official website or social media pages.

How often do songwriting contests happen?

Songwriting contests are held regularly throughout the year by various organizations. Some occur annually, while others may be more frequent. It's worth keeping an eye on trusted music industry sources for announcements.

Can I enter a song that has already been published or released?

This varies by contest. Some contests welcome previously released work, while others require unreleased material. Check the specific guidelines of the contest you're interested in.

Are there specific genres that do better in songwriting contests?

Some contests are genre-specific, but many are open to all music genres. The key is to submit your song to contests that cater to or accept your genre to increase your chances of success.

Is feedback provided on my submission?

Some contests provide feedback to all entrants, while others may only provide feedback to the winners. Check the contest details to see if feedback is a feature they offer.

What are the potential downsides to entering a Songwriting Contest?

Potential downsides include the loss of the entry fee if you don't win and the possibility of receiving no feedback. Also, there may be concerns about public exposure of your work if not properly protected. Always read and understand the terms and conditions before entering.

What do I do if I suspect a contest is not legitimate?

If you suspect a contest is not legitimate, do some research. Look for past winners, read reviews from other songwriters, and check music industry forums. If still in doubt, consider seeking advice from music industry professionals or avoiding entry.

Are there any age restrictions for entering a Songwriting Contest?

Age restrictions vary by contest. Some may be open to all ages, while others might have categories for different age groups or be restricted to adults only. Check the contest rules for specific age requirements.

Can the contest use my song without my permission?

Legitimate contests will not use your song without your permission. However, you may grant them certain rights upon entry, such as the right to play or share your song for promotional purposes. Always review the terms of service to understand your rights.

How do I find songwriting contests to enter?

Look for contests through songwriting associations, music industry publications, online music forums, and social media groups dedicated to songwriting. Keeping connected with the songwriting community will often lead to opportunities.

Is it worth entering a songwriting contest?

Entering a songwriting contest can be worthwhile for exposure, experience, feedback, and potential prizes. It's also an opportunity to challenge yourself as a songwriter and to gain recognition for your work.

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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