Any worthwhile songwriting contests?

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I get a lot of spam from alleged songwriting contests from around the globe and have entered a few in the past but not sure how kosher they were as they seem to cost a lot and you get zero response, as in barely an acknowledgment of submission!
Are there any official and worthwhile songwriting contests out there that any/some of you have entered?

I've not done this, and it's not exactly a songwriting contest, but I've heard good things about in terms of getting both feedback and potential song placements. I think it was John Crossman who I heard talking about it, but I could be mistaken

I never heard of contests until the folks here.

I am aware of the John Lennon contest and the Guitar Center. However, how they are structured appears as a personal popularity contest. Well, the GC one, it seems. Again, never engaged as qualifier.

-- Details of how judged, or explanation afterward appears as a click count?

(It's why I advocate, learning constructive comment "here", which is, encouragement, --where else? : )

If we're not "qualified", then, who is?
(See: can-o-worms : )

Yeah I signed up to for a number of years. Got a song forwarded once but that was it! Had to pay for song critiques on top of the membership sub & worked out quite expensive.
I was thinking more along the lines of the UK & USA annual songwriting contests?

The only ones I know of firsthand are affiliated with local/regional music organizations/folk festivals or corporations here in the US. A lot of them seem to have heavy weight on performance and popularity. I know some wonderful musicians who have participated in the New Folk contest at Kerrville Folk Festival including Becky Warren, our own @thisisbeckyw as a 2015 winner, its is a pretty big one.

I don't have any personal experience with songwriting contests, but know some folks from FB groups that have. With this one you at least get an evaluation by one of the judges.

We should have one, as, "here". And vote a click as we go for 90 days. (See: canoworms again : )

I had a couple of songs make semifinalist in UK Songwriting contest. Then the next year I entered two songs that were much better and got nada! I think generally these are designed to make money for the songwriting contest! The prizes at UKSC are a joke. I do know of a local band that won John Lennon contest a few years ago and they got like $20,000.

I think the contests where you have to get friends and family to vote you in are the biggest scam of all. If I had enough fans to win that contest I wouldn't need to bother with the contest! Smile

Thank you @johnstaples and all for your responses. Just wondering what to do with with my songs other than local open mics Biggrin I've tried Bandit,, Broadjam, Songramp, BBC Introducing, PRS, contacting labels, putting an album on iTunes through Ditto, gigging and building a 'fanbase', amassing likes on my FB page...been at it for 24 years and 700 songs later it seems not to get me anywhere at the end of the day (and when I talk to other local songwriters much the same). Just so glad I discovered FAWM (and all you lovely people!) who take the time to listen to each others' songs! (for what is a song without a listener?) Smile

Georgie (@Jibbidy34), I think a lot of us are in the same boat! Personally, I have only discovered songwriting after my kids are grown, my career firmly set, etc. So I have little interest in the hard work it takes these days to succeed (if that is even possible) in the music business! I share my music via SoundCloud and ReverbNation and Facebook and I get a fair amount of plays and likes and that delights me! Smile I also have several radio stations that will play me but again, it seems to take more effort than I am willing to put in to keep that going.

So, like you, I am beyond delighted to have discovered FAWM and this lovely community (I wish 50/90 was as busy as FAWM!) I am just tickled pink to be able to come here, post my songs and get nice comments from all of these wonderful people! I have never looked forward to February as much as I do these days!!!

One more thing...your songs are very good...your voice is so lovely...the productions I have heard from you and Dan are really top-notch! So, I hope you are not discouraged 24 years and 700 songs later! It is an extremely difficult industry to be successful in. It always has been but in the past 20 years it has gotten close to impossible.

If it is important to you then keep plugging away! Perform those songs...release those up your lists on social media, etc. And you may indeed realize a decent level of success (and have fun on the journey!!)

I wish you and your family the very best! See ya in February!

Many songwriters here have a great advantage of being able to perform songs. I can only play the piano send most of venues don't have it or have in a bad shape. Singing and playing instruments you are able to bring with you is great and so often needed. Create your CDs and have them every gig. Sell CDs with the the information how to find you (your website, email), built bigger funbase. One day that producer/film director will come around... Songwriting contests in my humble opinion aren't working. My personal experience with getting finals and semi finals didn't make any difference apart from less money in my account.

Has anyone mentioned the NPR Tiny Desk contest yet? It's in February I think. You have to have the performance chops to win it too, because entries are in the form of video performances, but it doesn't hurt to enter and people get to hear your music. I'm entering this year because of the slight chance that Jonathan Coulton might hear my music (one of the prizes is to perform on Ask Me Another). Either way, it's a legit contest.

@Jibbidy34, open mics are a good thing but they also take patience and perseverance. I've gotten a couple of gigs through open mics and I've been invited to a few open mic finals. Open mics are worth it to me for the purposes of workshopping songs and networking, and the occasional chocolate festival gig is a great bonus. You might also look for online resources for musicians. There might be some coffee shops near you looking for performers of original music. Sometimes there are also local radio stations that do songwriter showcases.

Ahhh, so the real question is how to, how one may define success, -- don't stop, but do it for you.

E.g. Seasick Steve, never stopped, got noticed a little later in life...if he lives to 90+ he will still have a career longer than most, with legacy. Jack White promotes the good, and unknown, if *authentic gut level music. There may be others. It's not about the money. His vinyl record service was all prepaid at first warning, *no wining! It could all fail, but did not, not yet.

Asking the question of "how to", makes me think one may not know what they're up against... hard to believe that! So, me as, at one time on or about the "gate keepers" arena of folks, I knew, it is purely arbitrary, and timing, so -- arbitrary. If your nails scratching on chalk board would sell, you're signed. See, the "screaming" niche of death metal.

And, it's true, folks do have to like being around you. I have a number of almost famous folks I hardly call friends : ) very hard to be around no matter what you do for them..., very needy and narcissistic ..., exhausting. Also, they had no passion attached to their great skill. Me, I tell them they have no soul, it died and they're walking corpses... That feeling is why I, me, don't hear my recordings as "good" as when live perform ... It sounds as good as it feels when I physically play it..., "that" is part of what folks are set free by. Be free, foolish, allow transference, and forget "good" ... If you want good, see an Orchestra!, not a "musician". Interesting comment, huh : )

-- Though I see comments of, "what qualifies us here to offer opinion", huh..., none better and free of charge.

You can get a "Performer", coach today : ) Yes, for a fee, they will coach to infamy, or broke, and blame you for your failure, take full credit for success, and attempt to attach royalties to not yet monitised fame : ), new contract element showing up now.

-- Contests are a way to sell ~~ Service to you.

I remember being somewhere, a not yet famous, now very famous female singer was singing for an audience of "musicians" ... brutal mocking to her Lyrics..., -- no matter how good, she'd have been krapped on by her "peers" in the audience, the entire audience. I loved her, still do.

Someone, thought they'd make money off her, and so it went.

Typically the first interaction is a total, unscrewing of all you thought. Unless, you have a million followers on YouTube buying your track for any amount..., if even .01 cents per. I'd take a million pennies. It's what you get anyway per industry contract : ) But, then, why "sign" with a lable. Create your own, and own it all as corporation, with you (others too) as artist, no?

-- 1970 is long gone... and all the labels know it. Create your own if that driven, then, kindly? , help others. When you get 3000 CDs, a week, you will see, the "why", you, not you. "Welcome to the jungle...".

@Jibbidy34 None that I've ever experienced. It has always been "at a boy" and "share and share alike" with songwriting groups. This is a problem as I was never challenged this year. I can produce crap all day. The problem with these songwriting challenges is they are based on creativity, or being creative, and it's like being in school for the experimentalist. When do we graduate? What will it take to make that jump from another set of songs to somebody who did great things with music? have a large backlog of good songs already locked up and you could throw away the key. Those songs deserve better but nobody cared to see what I was presenting or notice the potential that was there. People only care about what they are doing. That's the way I see it. The original recordings were suppose to be placeholders for successful professional redo. But something happened along the way. Ooops, its time for FAWM, and or Ooops, it time for 5090. That said, 5090 is based on writing new songs. I understand and agree with all of that. However, there is no way I personally can get where I wanted to go with the music using this format. Again, I already have hundreds of good songs that just needed the manpower (money, talent, promotion) to bring them to where I originally had intended them to go (the next level). Also, turning creativity on and off during the seasons tends to lead me to predictable demos. For example, it is time again to start playing guitar, making up songs for this years challenge. What happens is I end up playing the same tired chords with similar lyrics and melodies. By true comparison of my past efforts there is a pattern, and a stoppage of growth for the new born in my music. Then there are many that are almost good enough but need that professional tweak in lyrics, and sometimes melody. Also, once you break away from good musical work ethics, and then return back, you have to start over again for awhile just to get back where you were. In some cases, with me, it may take 20 songs to get back to where I was prior to my stoppage.

More on the original question: "Are there any official and worthwhile songwriting contests out there that any/some of you have entered?"

I have never entered a songwriting contest. What is the criteria for entering a songwriting contest? Is this all about the lyrics? I think that it is all about the lyrics. This is my weakest area in music (well, not counting my singing). Mostly because I don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said, and its already been said a lot better than I ever could anyway. What I can do is produce. However, I won't do that for nothing no more. I've already logged hundreds of hours for free for other people. This skill too requires frequent engagements to avoid the reset. I know, as I still make some of the same mistakes I did 10 years ago. So this is my last post for the 5090 season. Congratulations to all the winners and participants. 5090 is a good thing. I just have been doing this for a long time and thought I'd shine the light on other problems I've noticed through my experience with this challenge. Also, this year had way too much drama in my out of group life to be effective inside the challenge. The time of year has become a problem for me during the last 3 years. Thanks for reading this.

A few years ago, our local newspaper had a songwriting contest to write songs with a southwest Florida theme. Twice I entered, twice I finished in the top 10 or so. Sort of cool to see my name in print, a little blurb about the song itself. But no fame or fortune. I would imagine many local publications offer similar competitions.
Also a few years ago (2009 or 2010 I did it, and maybe it's still ongoing) NPR had a contest to write and record a song in a week. Well, hell, what FAWMer couldn't do that? (I can write bunches of songs in a week, given the motivation.) So I entered, didn't win anything, but my song did go on the jukebox on NPR online for a while.
I did Taxi for two years, but I was way too inexperienced in my songwriting/production skills to get anything out of it. No forwards, a couple of useful critiques. That's not really a contest, though - that's for folks who really want to get into the music business.
I've developed an avenue for playing my own music - I'm in charge of booking for three local venues. One is the yoga studio my wife and I own, another is the art walk in the plaza where our studio is, and the third is an outdoor market. Occasionally, I'm asked to play elsewhere because of contacts I've made. If any FAWMers or 5090ers find your way to southwest Florida, I can get you onstage to play your songs. The audience will be small, and you might not make much money, but we'll have fun.

@Jibbidy34 you might want to try the SongDoor international competition. There are several categories, and each entry costs only $10 - much less than any of the other contests.
I've had a couple of wins (including a $500 prize) plus a few 'finalists' and honourable mentions.

The SongDoor submission deadline is November 15, so you still have time to to get a song or two ready for submission. Wink