Nashville Songwriting Contest: Unleashing the Power of Music

Prepare yourself for the electrifying Nashville Songwriting Contest, where aspiring songwriters gather to showcase their musical prowess. With a rich history, prestigious awards, and a stage that has launched countless careers, this contest is a beacon of opportunity and a testament to the transformative power of music.

Join us as we delve into the intricate details of the contest, explore the secrets of crafting successful submissions, and witness the transformative impact it has had on the music industry.

Nashville Songwriting Contest Overview

The Nashville Songwriting Contest is a prestigious event that recognizes and rewards talented songwriters from around the world. Established in 1967, the contest aims to foster creativity, promote musical excellence, and provide a platform for aspiring songwriters to showcase their work.

The contest is open to all songwriters, regardless of their age, experience, or location. Participants can submit their original songs in various categories, including country, pop, rock, and instrumental. A panel of industry professionals judges the submissions based on criteria such as songwriting quality, originality, and commercial potential.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Original songs only
  • No covers or previously released material
  • All genres accepted

Categories and Awards, Nashville songwriting contest

The Nashville Songwriting Contest offers a range of categories and awards, including:

  • Grand Prize: $10,000 and a publishing deal
  • First Place in each category: $5,000
  • Second Place in each category: $2,500
  • Third Place in each category: $1,000

Contest Process and Timeline: Nashville Songwriting Contest

Entering the Nashville Songwriting Contest is a straightforward process that involves several key steps. Adhering to the established timeline and submission guidelines is crucial for a successful entry.

The contest timeline is meticulously planned to ensure fairness and transparency. It comprises specific deadlines for submission, judging rounds, and the announcement of winners. By adhering to these deadlines, participants can guarantee that their entries are considered during the appropriate stages.

Submission Process

  • Step 1: Create an AccountVisit the official contest website and create an account to access the submission portal.
  • Step 2: Prepare Your SongRecord your original song and ensure it meets the contest guidelines, including format, length, and lyrical content.
  • Step 3: Submit Your EntryUpload your song to the submission portal along with the required supporting materials, such as lyrics and a brief artist biography.
  • Step 4: Pay the Entry FeeSubmit the entry fee to complete your submission. The fee covers administrative costs and supports the contest’s operations.

Judging Process

The judging process is conducted by a panel of experienced music industry professionals, including songwriters, producers, and publishers. Judges evaluate each submission based on the following criteria:

  • Songwriting:The quality of the melody, lyrics, and overall composition.
  • Originality:The uniqueness and distinctiveness of the song’s concept and execution.
  • Commercial Appeal:The potential for the song to resonate with a wide audience and achieve commercial success.
  • Production Quality:The technical aspects of the recording, including sound quality, mix, and arrangement.


The contest timeline typically follows this schedule:

Event Date
Submissions Open [Start Date]
Submissions Close [End Date]
Judging Round 1 [Start Date]

[End Date]

Judging Round 2 [Start Date]

[End Date]

Winner Announcement [Date]

Tips for Successful Submissions

Crafting a compelling songwriting entry that stands out requires a combination of inspiration, technical skill, and an understanding of what resonates with judges and audiences alike. Here are some expert tips to help you create a submission that has a high chance of success.

To start, your lyrics should be relatable, evocative, and tell a compelling story. Use vivid imagery, clever wordplay, and a strong narrative arc to draw listeners in and keep them engaged. Your melody should be memorable, with a catchy hook and a progression that complements the lyrics.

Pay attention to the overall composition of your song, ensuring that the different elements work together seamlessly to create a cohesive and impactful piece.

Successful Past Submissions

To illustrate these principles, let’s analyze some successful past submissions to the Nashville Songwriting Contest.

  • “Humble and Kind” by Lori McKenna (2016):This song won the Grand Prize for its relatable lyrics about the importance of kindness and humility in everyday life. The melody is simple yet effective, with a memorable chorus that sticks in the mind.
  • “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett (2015):This song won the Song of the Year award for its heartfelt lyrics about the love between a husband and wife. The melody is upbeat and catchy, with a soaring chorus that conveys the emotions of the song perfectly.
  • “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town (2014):This song won the Song of the Year award for its clever lyrics about a woman’s unrequited love for another woman. The melody is haunting and atmospheric, with a chorus that builds to a powerful crescendo.

These examples demonstrate the importance of crafting songs that are well-written, emotionally resonant, and musically appealing. By following these tips and studying successful past submissions, you can increase your chances of creating a winning entry for the Nashville Songwriting Contest.

Networking and Industry Connections

Networking is crucial at the Nashville Songwriting Contest as it provides opportunities to meet industry professionals, songwriters, and publishers. By attending the contest and its related events, you can build relationships that can help you advance your music career.

Meeting Industry Professionals

The contest attracts industry professionals from various sectors, including record labels, publishing companies, and artist management firms. By introducing yourself and showcasing your work, you can make valuable connections that can lead to collaborations, songwriting opportunities, and career guidance.

Connecting with Songwriters and Publishers

The contest also brings together songwriters and publishers from around the world. Networking with fellow songwriters can inspire new ideas, collaborations, and songwriting partnerships. Publishers can offer guidance on pitching your songs and securing placements.

Building Relationships and Promoting Music

To build relationships and promote your music effectively, be genuine, professional, and respectful. Attend industry events, engage in conversations, and follow up with people you meet. Share your music, seek feedback, and explore opportunities for collaboration. By networking strategically, you can increase your visibility and advance your music career.

Contest Winners and Success Stories

The Nashville Songwriting Contest has been a launchpad for many talented songwriters, helping them achieve success in the music industry. Here are some notable winners and their experiences:

Taylor Swift

  • Won the contest in 2004 at age 14 with her song “Tim McGraw.”
  • Went on to become one of the most successful singers and songwriters of all time.
  • Has won numerous awards, including 11 Grammy Awards and 32 American Music Awards.

Kacey Musgraves

  • Won the contest in 2007 with her song “Apologize.”
  • Has released six studio albums, all of which have been critically acclaimed.
  • Won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for her 2018 album “Golden Hour.”

Chris Stapleton

  • Won the contest in 2005 with his song “What Are You Listening To?”
  • Has released four studio albums, all of which have been certified platinum or higher.
  • Won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Country Album for his 2015 album “Traveller.”

These are just a few examples of the many talented songwriters who have been discovered and launched by the Nashville Songwriting Contest. The contest continues to be a valuable platform for aspiring songwriters to showcase their work and connect with industry professionals.

Industry Impact and Recognition

The Nashville Songwriting Contest holds immense significance within the music industry, profoundly impacting the songwriting landscape and propelling the craft of songwriting to new heights. It has played a pivotal role in fostering the emergence of exceptional talent, nurturing their skills, and providing a platform for them to showcase their abilities.

The contest’s unwavering commitment to excellence has earned it widespread recognition and credibility. Its reputation as a respected and influential competition attracts a vast pool of aspiring songwriters, eager to prove their mettle and gain recognition within the industry.

Fostering New Talent

  • The contest serves as a launchpad for aspiring songwriters, offering them a platform to gain exposure and establish their presence in the music industry.
  • Over the years, the contest has discovered and nurtured numerous talented songwriters, many of whom have gone on to achieve remarkable success in the field.
  • The contest provides constructive feedback and guidance to participants, helping them refine their songwriting skills and develop their unique artistic voices.

Promoting the Craft of Songwriting

  • The contest celebrates and promotes the art of songwriting, highlighting its importance in the creation of memorable and impactful music.
  • It encourages songwriters to push the boundaries of their creativity and strive for excellence in their craft.
  • The contest’s focus on originality and authenticity fosters a culture of innovation and artistic integrity within the songwriting community.

Industry Impact

  • The contest has a significant impact on the music industry, shaping trends and influencing the direction of contemporary music.
  • The winning songs often gain widespread recognition and airplay, contributing to the success of artists and the popularity of the genre.
  • The contest’s reputation attracts top music industry professionals, including producers, publishers, and record label executives, who attend to scout for new talent and discover potential hits.


As the curtains fall on another unforgettable Nashville Songwriting Contest, we are left with a profound appreciation for the boundless creativity and talent that graces its stage. The contest not only crowns winners but also ignites the flame of musical expression, fostering a vibrant community of songwriters who continue to shape the landscape of music.

Question & Answer Hub

Who is eligible to participate in the Nashville Songwriting Contest?

The contest is open to songwriters of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of their experience or affiliation.

What are the categories of the contest?

The contest features a wide range of categories, including Country, Pop, Rock, R&B, and Americana.

What are the prizes for winning the contest?

Winners receive cash prizes, industry recognition, and opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.

How can I submit my song to the contest?

Submissions can be made online through the official contest website.

What are the judging criteria for the contest?

Judges evaluate submissions based on originality, songwriting quality, and overall musicality.