Why You Should Only Enter Songwriting Contests That Give You Feedback

There are a ton of songwriting contests you could enter, and it’s hard to know which ones to consider and which to ignore.

NSAI songwriting contest

Here’s my tip: only enter songwriting contests that give you feedback no matter what.

Not only do you have a shot at winning some sort of prize, but, at the very least, you get feedback on your song from a judge (who’s usually a pro songwriter).

When I was a member of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, I entered the 17th Annual NSAI Song Contest.

Spoiler…I didn’t win anything. Didn’t even come close.

Each song that received a score of 76 or higher advanced to the next round of judging. My song “The Real Thing” (which will be on my album in the fall) got a 64.

NSAI songwriting contest
My score for the NSAI songwriting contest

A 64 is a D-minus.

But the sting of losing is less stingy because I got a little insight into my song’s strengths and weaknesses. The judge scored my song using several categories dealing with composition, originality and lyrics, and (as you can see above) each is given a score from 1 to 10.

“This evaluation is meant ONLY as a tool to help you discern the strength of your song/songwriting in the eyes of the judge, as music is subjective,” NSAI said in an email. “It is NOT a full, in-depth critique…”

That’s cool of them to do.

If they didn’t give me any feedback on my song, I would have no idea why my song didn’t move to the next round. This is helpful both for entering other songwriting contests and for improving my songwriting.

So if you ask me (which no one has), only submit your songs to contests that will tell you why you were selected or rejected.

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