The ASCAP Resource Guide: Songwriting Competitions
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Songwriting Competitions


For 30 years, the American Songwriter Lyric Contest has helped thousands of songwriters become involved in our community. Entrants may submit on or can mail in entries to the American Songwriter offices.

Entering Online: Visit and click on "Lyric Contest." Entry fee is $15.00 per song.

Entering by Mail: Send lyrics only. Lyrics must be typed and include $15.00 per song enclosed. You may download an entry form from the American Songwriter website, but the form is not required. If you are not using the form, please include your first & last name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address along with your lyric sheet(s). Mailing address is listed in the "Lyric Contest" section of

Prizes: A Gibson guitar and Shure SM-58 Microphone. Top four winning lyrics and 10 honorable mentions for each contest are printed in the coinciding issue of American Songwriter and on our website. One overall winner per year receives airfare to Nashville and a demo session with a professional songwriter.

For more information, visit and click on "Lyric Contest."



Created by songwriters, this innovative contest offers a positive alternative to the hype and high cost of the "big-cash-prize" competitions.
The Great American Song Contest features opportunities to
1) have your songs heard by qualified professionals;
2) to win prestigious awards and useful prizes;
3) to advance your songwriting, promote your songs & open doors in the music business.
4) Low-cost & affordable entry fees.
Great American Song Contest judges listen thoroughly and respectfully to each and every song. Then they provide a detailed evaluation. Each participating songwriter receives the judges' written evaluations upon completion of the contest.

For more information on the Great American Song Contest, visit



Internationally renowned for its high-caliber judges, ISC offers entrants a unique opportunity to have their songs heard by some of the most influential decision-makers in the industry. Entrants compete for over $150,000 in cash and prizes, including an Overall Grand Prize package of $25,000 (US) in cash and $20,000 in merchandise. ISC winners benefit from extensive press and publicity, gaining exposure and recognition from an international music market of industry professionals and fans.

Past and present ISC judges include:
Tom Waits; Brian Wilson; Loretta Lynn; B.B. King; Nelly Furtado; Sean "P. Diddy" Combs; Ornette Coleman; Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20); Pat Metheny; Sean Paul; Roseanne Cash; Robert Smith (The Cure); Michael W. Smith; Joe Satriani; Sonny Rollins; Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse); Clint Black; Ray Davies (The Kinks); MercyMe; Monte Lipman (President, Universal Records); Charlie Walk (President, Epic Records); Arif Mardin (VP/GM, Manhattan Records); Keith Wozencroft (President/A&R, EMI Records); and many more.

For more information, visit



The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Songs may be entered in any of the following twelve categories: Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, World, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel/Inspirational, Hip-Hop Latin, Electronic, Folk, Special category of Children's music. Beyond the substantial cash prizes, some winners will receive EMI Music Publishing Contracts and Yamaha Project Studio Equipment. One entry will be named "Song of the Year" and that winner will receive an additional $20,000 in cash courtesy of Maxell. Overall, 120 winners will split over $200,000 in cash and prizes.
For more information, please contact

John Lennon Songwriting Contest
83 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10024



The Songwriters’ Association of Washington (SAW), founded in 1979 as a nonprofit organization, holds the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest to help songwriters receive recognition and assistance in their musical endeavors. The proceeds from the contest enable SAW to provide programs throughout the year that educate and develop the talents of those interested in the art and business of songwriting. For more information on becoming a SAW member, call: (301) 654-8434.

For more contest info, visit



The Mountain Stage NewSong Contest is one of the premier showcases of talented singer-songwriters across multiple genres of music in North America. The 2013 contest winner will get the opportunity to record an album with producer and musician Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Matt Morris, Edie Brickell). This album will be recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studios in beautiful Asheville, NC and released on the NewSong Recordings label. In addition, the winner will get to perform at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2014, receive a performance showcase at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café, and perform on an internationally broadcast Mountain Stage (NPR) show.

The short list of those who have made their national debut on the show include the Barenaked Ladies, Ryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss and NewSong Recordings artists and former contest standouts Ingrid Michaelson,Chris Velan, Lora-Faye,Amber Rubarth,Arthur Alligood and Diana Jones.

Finalists and other contest standouts will also be invited to participate in future NewSong Music productions in various locations throughout the country, and will be candidates for film and television placement opportunities, as well as for future releases on the NewSong Recordings label. Non-winning finalists will also be considered for future Mountain Stage appearances.

Contestants can designate the style of song they consider their entry to fit when entering tunes. The contest is open to all genres of music, although songs must include a vocal with lyrics to be considered to advance.

To learn more and enter the contest, visit:

Please stay up-to-date with all things NewSong by subscribing to the NewSong newsletter on the website (where you can also read up on contest rules). E-mail any further questions to



CMT Presents the 10th Anniversary of the NSAI Song Contest. The contest runs from August 1 through October 31, 2009. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a mentoring session from The Valory Music Co. recording artist and hit songwriter, Jewel. This nationwide platform is for aspiring songwriters in all genres to submit their best tunes with one Grand Prize Winner and one CMT Listeners’ Choice Winner. Additional prizes include a single-song professional demo, tickets to the 2011 CMT Music Awards, a private tour of CMT studios, a performance at the legendary Bluebird Café, meetings with major music publishers, a one-year membership to NSAI and more. For a full list of prizes and how to enter, visit

The entry fees are $35.00 (NSAI members) and $45.00 (non-members) per song submitted. Proceeds benefit the NSAI Legislative Fund to protect the rights of songwriters. For more information and updates, please visit and



SongDoor's primary goals are to 1) provide a channel for new original music to be heard, and 2) to provide useful tools to improve the writers' skills. All songs are fully screened by industry professionals with real connections to music publishing, producers, artists and labels, and are judged by industry pros who have worked with Neil Young, Justin Timberlake, Tony Bennett, Britney Spears, Kenny Rogers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Fray, Train and dozens of other notable artists. Each year, all entrants are given a free unlimited-access trial to plus a free songwriting software program (compatible with either Mac or Windows). Original songs may be entered in the following categories: Christian, Country, Instrumental, Pop, Rock/Alt and Soft Rock. The total awards purse is valued at more than $40,000 and includes a full-band session demo (recorded and produced on Nashville's Music Row), a single-song publishing contract, exclusive pitching and networking opportunities, a comprehensive assortment of top-shelf songwriting software and more. The competition is open to amateurs and professionals worldwide. Competition opens: April 15. Entry deadline: November 15. Entry fee: $10.

For complete details, go to: You must be 18 or older to enter.



USA Songwriting Competition, the world's leading international songwriting event honors songwriters, composers, bands, recording artists everywhere. Winners will be selected by a Blue Ribbon committee of music industry judges including record label publishers, producers from SONY Music, Warner/Reprise Records, etc. This is a chance to be discovered by the biggest names in the music business. A shot at the big time for unsung songwriters and original solo artists and indie bands everywhere around the world. A contest that might just open the right doors, make the right connections and get your songs heard. Also, winning songs will be receive radio airplay (the first for any songwriting competition!)

For more information, visit



ASCAP is pleased to be working with Guitar Center on their new artist discovery program, the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter contest, which aims to find the nation's best unsigned singer-songwriter.

One unsigned singer-songwriter will win $10,000 cash, plus the opportunity to record three songs with accomplished Grammy Award-winning producer and ASCAP member, John Shanks. Shanks' resume boasts 60 million records sold, 43 #1 singles and 67 #1 albums with artists including Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson, Melissa Etheridge, Bon Jovi, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat and Keith Urban.

"I'm thrilled to be able to help Guitar Center give a potentially career-altering opportunity to an unsigned artist," says Shanks. "Helping an artist hone their sound is something I relish as a producer, and I can't wait to see what the winner has to offer."

Competing artists will be ranked based on their online fan growth during the first round. Ten singer-songwriters will then be hand-selected by Shanks from the list of top-ranked artists to travel to Los Angeles where they will perform live during event's finale.

Full Prize List:

  • 3-song EP with Grammy Award-winning producer John Shanks
  • $10,000 cash
  • Studio time at Converse Rubber Tracks studio in NYC
  • Worldwide distribution from TuneCore including Free Album, Music Video and Global Songwriting Service

Artists can sign up between October 1 through November 22, 2011 at



The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest, offers songwriters the opportunity to have their original songs heard by a panel of professional songwriters and others from the Nashville music industry. The finals are held at the Austin Stage during MerleFest each year. In addition, the first place winner receives a performance slot on the Cabin Stage during MerleFest and other prizes. Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale is the volunteer chair of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Recent winners have included Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Michael Reno Harrell, Adrienne Young and Martha Scanlan.

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest go to the Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship at Wilkes Community College.

Chris Austin was a singer/songwriter from Boone, North Carolina, who was tragically killed in a private plane crash in the mountains near San Diego, California, with six other members of Reba McEntire’s band as well as her tour manager. This contest was created in his memory.

For more information, please visit