Updated for the songwriting year 2023!
There are several interesting songwriting contests held all around the world every year. I collected some of them here in this post. Most of these songwriting competitions are open for everyone but some are only for young songwriters or for amateur musicians etc. Most of the songwriting competitions require entry fee which is usually around 35$ for one submitted song but some competitions are free of entry as well.
It’s up to you to decide to participate in songwriting competitions but some will offer good prices for the winners including recording equipment, studio time (btw. if you’re interested in a highly music related online clothing store, check out fukknice.com – they sell beer too) etc. Competitions that provide feedback from industry professionals are particularly attractive.
Unsigned Only Music Competition
The title says a lot – The competition is for all unsigned artists (including solo artists, bands, and singers) who are unsigned to a major record label (indie label artists are eligible). Unsigned Only accepts all styles and genres of music. According to the website many winners of Unsigned Only Music Competition have secured licensing and publishing deals and some of them have even been signed to major label deals. This year winners share in over $150,000 in cash, prizes, recognition, and more. The Grand Prize winner takes home $20,000 in cash (plus other prizes), and receives one-on-one mentoring with top label execs. Website
Indie International Songwriting Contest
This contest is an annual songwriting competition and it’s completely online. A good place for emerging songwriters to get useful critique and reviews for their songs. Genres include: Pop, Rock, Folk/Acoustic, Americana/Country, Instrumental, Hip-hop/Rap. Website
Song Academy Young Songwriters
This one is a songwriting competition (11th year in 2021) for young songwriters aged 8-18 in UK/ Ireland. Judges this year are Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell, Miranda Cooper, Calum Scott, Michelle Escoffery & Tom Grennan. Prizes include recording studio time and Yamaha equipment worth £1,000. Website
The John Lennon Songwriting Contest
The John Lennon Songwriting Contest – an international songwriting contest began in 1997 and it’s open to amateur and professional songwriters. There’s 12 contest categories available in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Entry fees from the contest are used to support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus mobile recording studio. JLSC is also currently offering a bonus opportunity for songwriters to win gear – read more about the weekly “Stuck At Home“. Website
Eurovision Song Contest
This legendary songwriting competition is probably the biggest song contest in the world. There’s a long tradition starting from 1950’s and it is broadcasted for millions of Eurovision fans every year. This one is a major opportunity for every songwriter. Website
Podunk Bluegrass Festival Songwriter Contest
The Annual Podunk Bluegrass Festival has a songwriting contest as well. Top three winners receive cash prizes and rewards, including the opportunity to appear on stage during the festival. Guidelines are available at podunkbluegrass.com. Entries accepted via mail or email. Website
IAMA International Acoustic Music Awards
A music competition focused purely on acoustic music in various music genres. IAMA International Acoustic Music Awards have been around for almost 20 years now. Website
International Songwriting Competition ISC
The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is an annual songwriting and music contest. This international competition is open for amateur and professional songwriters. The contest judges are respected music industry professionals. Website
NSAI Song Contest
The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters trade association. NSAI is established in 1967 and they’re having their old song contest (2 categories, song-lyric only) as well. Website
The Great American Song Contest
This songwriting contest guarantees that everyone who participate will receive a written evaluation of their song from a music-industry professional. The Great American Song Contest offers an alternative to the songwriting contest that offer only money as prize. Website
Paramount Song Contest
ParamountSong Home, Located in Nashville’s Music District. There’s not much information available from this competition. Website
Song Of The Year
Song of the Year is an international songwriting contest that’s been around for a good time now already. The primary focus of this songwriting competition is to find great songwriters and help them to network with music industry professionals. Website
Songdoor – International Songwriting Competition
Songdoor is an international songwriting competition started back in 2006. There are several contest categories available for songwriters in different music genres. Website
The American Songwriter Lyric Contest
This songwriting contest is open for amateur songwriters. You can participate if you haven’t earned more than $5000 from songwriting related income (royalties, advances etc.). Website
The Country Showdown Songwriting Contest
The Country Showdown is a songwriting contest with long history starting in 1980’s. Many established country artists have taken part of this contest during the years. Website
The European Songwriting Award
The European Songwriting Award (ESA) is an international songwriting competition for songwriters from all around the world. It’s held during Musikmesse Frankfurt in Germany. Website
The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest
The Songwriters’ Association of Washington (SAW) presents the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC) to help songwriters receive recognition for their work and to further excellence in songwriting through education. Website
The NewSong Music Competition
This competition has been organized for many years and is open to various music genres. The NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competitions is located in North America. Website
The U.S.A Songwriting Competition
Despite its name the USA Songwriting Competition® is open to all, regardless of nationality or country origin. This international songwriting contest has been organized since 1995. Website
VocalMatch Songwriter Competition
VocalMatch is a network of creative songwriters, singers, musicians. The deadlines for the competition are in the fall and there’s money price promised for the winner. Website
The Secret to Growing Your Songwriting Career: Entering Songwriting Contests
If you’re looking for ways to grow your songwriting career, entering songwriting contests is a great way to start. Songwriting contests give you the opportunity to get feedback on your songs from professional songwriters and music industry experts. They also help you learn about the songwriting process, develop your skills, and meet other songwriters.
One of the biggest benefits of entering songwriting contests is that you’ll receive feedback on your songs. This feedback can be invaluable in helping you improve your songwriting skills. Hearing what others think about your songs can help you identify areas that need improvement and make necessary changes. Additionally, getting feedback from professionals can give you insight into what industry experts are looking for in a great song.
Another benefit of songwriting contests is that they can help you develop a sense of discipline and structure in your songwriting process. Many contests have deadlines that require you to submit your songs by a certain date. This can help you learn to work on a timeline and create a schedule for writing and recording your songs.
Lastly, songwriting contests can be a great way to network with other songwriters and industry professionals. By participating in a contest, you can connect with other writers who are working towards similar goals. You may even have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with some of these people down the road.
So if you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your songwriting career, consider entering a contest. You never know what opportunities might come your way. Good luck!