There are lots of songwriting competitions out there! If you’re looking for a deadline to motivate you to finish a song, edit it thoroughly, incorporate some feedback and get it recorded, song contests are a great way to motivate and inspire yourself.
- Make sure to sign up for the email lists so that you stay informed on the deadlines. Many of these contests occur annually or bi-annually and only announce the opening dates over the year through newsletters.
- Some of these contests offer feedback that costs a little extra.
- Check the guidelines and FAQs where possible. Don’t enter a contest when you’re in the wrong location or age category for it!
- If you’re signing up for more than one competition, keep track of them. They often don’t announce honourable mentions, so it’s good to check back.
*Note: these are ordered chronologically by deadline!
Song of the Year – $30
Song of the Year occurs periodically throughout the year. Check back anytime and there’s probably a songwriting contest running! Enter here.
Songwriter Universe – Best Song of the Month Contest – $12
A monthly chance to win a feature and interview in the magazine is a great opportunity. Enter here.
John Lennon Songwriting Contest – $30
The famous John Lennon Songwriting Contest occurs twice a year, once in January and once in June. They also started a weekly contest for weekly prizes when you submit. Enter here.
Unsigned Only – $30
If you’re an artist looking for a record deal, this is the competition for you. Enter here in January.
American Songwriter – Lyric Contest – $15
This contest is for lyrics-only, which is great for those who aren’t looking to collaborate with musicians just yet. Enter here in January.
Talent is Timeless – FREE
This competition is for songwriters aged 50+ to connect and inspire acoustic music makers. Be sure to enter here in March.
European Songwriting Awards – 30 Euro
Enter this huge songwriting competition judged by top professionals in the industry. Don’t worry, this is still an international songwriting contest. Enter here in March.
Indie International Songwriting Competition – $40
This is a perfect competition for young professionals. It regularly occurs in the spring but has also occurred in the fall, so be sure to sign up for their mailing list. Enter here in April.
International Songwriter’s Day – $25
April 9 is International Songwriter’s Day and this competition seeks inspirational music for their contest. Be sure to enter here in April.
Podunk Songwriters Contest – $25
For all those bluegrass songwriters, this is the contest for you. Enter here in April.
The USA Songwriting Competition – $35
Despite its name, this competition is open internationally to all. Enter here in May.
West Coast Songwriters – $20
A great competition for indie musicians and young professional songwriters. Enter here in May.
Music City SongStar – $30
This competition is great for country artists or singer/songwriters with a folk twist! Enter here in June or December.
Australian Songwriters Association – $38 non-members, $28 members
Any Australian songwriters out there? Check out this competition and enter here in July.
International Songwriting Competition – $25
Another great song contest with a wide variety of genres. Enter here in September.
The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest – $28
This is another great contest for young songwriters and indie artists who haven’t made more than $5k in publishing royalties yet. This contest also includes the Young Artist Awards. Enter here in September.
The Dallas Songwriters Association Contest – $25
Celebrating songwriters in and around Texas—winners seem to be from all over the US—the DSA song contest runs every year for a variety of genres. Enter here in September.
NewSong Music Performance and Songwriting Competition – $40
For indie performers and artists, this is a great contest for those who are looking to be featured in an artist showcase. Enter here in October.
NSAI Song Contest – $45 non-members, $35 members
This famous Nashville contest is a must for songwriters and lyricists. Enter here in November.
International Acoustic Music Awards – $35
Acoustic artists, look no further than IAMA! Enter here in November.
The UK Songwriting Contest – 15 Pounds
This is an international contest based in the UK with opportunities to work with amazing producers in London. Enter here in November.
Songdoor International Songwriting Competition – $10
Known as the most economical and songwriter-forward song contest, SongDoor is an excellent competition for musicians at all levels. Enter here in November.
American Songwriter – Song Contest – $25
The American Songwriter Magazine holds another contest for specifically songs. Enter here in November.
The Great American Song Contest – $35
Open to anyone worldwide, this contest features multiple genres and a lyrics category. Enter here in December.
Young Songwriter Competitions
Lipscomb Songwriting Contest
Lipscomb University is holding a contest for songwriters who have NOT begun taking courses at university. Be sure to check it out and enter before March.
Song Academy Young Songwriter Competition
For songwriters aged 8-18 worldwide, this a great opportunity to work with other young songwriters and learn how to write. Enter here before March.
Student Songwriters Competition
The National Association for Music Education has a songwriting competition open to all students in grade school, from K-12. Be sure to enter in April.
Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge
The National Endowment for the Arts is a national contest (USA) for high schoolers who write songs in the musical theatre style. Enter here.
Magic City Songwriting Contest
Mason Music is holding a songwriting contest for young songwriters who might be interested in recording at their studio. Enter here.
Dallas Young Songwriters Contest – $15
Along with the regular contest, the DSA holds a special contest for young songwriters aged 18 and under. Enter here.
Good luck! 🙂