Fri, Jul 25, 2014

NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT



 Got questions about the NSAI Song Contest?


We’ve got the answers!

Check out the list of FAQs below and click on the question to find out more.


Please review the FAQ below before contacting NSAI.


 click on any question to view the answer

  • Who is eligible to submit a song to the contest?

The NSAI Song Contest is open to ALL aspiring songwriters. Anyone who has held a staff songwriter position in the past or currently makes the majority of his/her income from songwriting is not eligible. This includes any and all potential co-writers on the song. NSAI is the only major songwriting contest that is open only to amateur writers and that is something in which we take very seriously. 

  • How much does it cost to enter a song?

$35 for NSAI members / $45 for non-members.

  • Is there a discount for submitting multiple songs?

No. The $35/$45 fee is per song. This includes lyric entries.

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  • How do I submit a song through the mail?

Visit or and download the application form. Fill it out completely and mail the form along with your payment, cd and lyric sheet to the address listed on the application. MAKE SURE to fill out all necessary information and include all materials. Missing information or materials will delay the processing of your entry and could possibly keep your song from being considered in the contest.

  • How can I submit online?

Visit or and click on the link for submitting online. You will be routed to, an online resource for musicians to create electronic press kits. If you do not already have a sonicbids account, you will be asked to create one before proceeding. You do not need to be a member of sonicbids or NSAI to submit to the contest. Creating a profile is free and you will never be asked to pay extra for anything.

  • I created my profile on Sonicbids and received my trial membership. What happens if my trial membership runs out before the contest ends?

You’re all good! If your EPK goes inactive during the listing, your submission will still be valid – the EPK and songs will still be available, and you will still receive any related notification when the time comes. :)

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  • Can I drop off my songs in person?

Absolutely! If you live near NSAI’s office in Nashville, save a stamp! Make sure you have all materials necessary (song, application form, lyric sheet, payment) and that they are in a sealed package. Then stop by NSAI and drop’em off! We are open M-Th 10am – 5pm, and F 10am – 4pm.

  • Can I submit songs that I wrote with someone else?

Yes, though there are some important distinctions. Many songs are co-written with 2 or even 3 or more people. We welcome co-written songs into our contest. However, all writers must be of amateur status and not make their income from songwriting. The person who submits the song to the contest is considered the main contact for any potential prize distribution.

  • Is the contest open to all genres?

Yes! NSAI may be based in Nashville, but we serve writers in ALL genres. In fact, many of our recent Grand Prize winning songs have been in genres outside of Country, including Pop, Contemporary Christian, Rock and Singer/Songwriter. ALL songs are judged based upon the same 10-pt scale regardless of genre.

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  • Can I submit lyrics-only?

Yes! The NSAI Song Contest has a Lyric-Only category. Submit your lyrics in the same fashion that you submit any other song. The price for lyric submissions is the same.

  • Can I submit the SAME song to both the Lyric-Only and full-song categories?

Yes, although you must fill out two separate submission forms and pay for two separate entries. We cannot simply apply the lyrics of one submission into the lyric-only category. Each entry must have a separate entry form and payment.

  • Can I send in an instrumental-only song?

No. We do not accept instrumental pieces at this time.

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  • I’m sending in more than one song. Can I pay with one check?

Yes. If you send in multiple songs in the same package, you can include one check written in the proper amount. However, each song must be on a separate cd and each entry must have its own entry form.

  • Can I submit multiple songs on the same CD?

No. We have multiple judges and we separate entries from each other. As such, each song you intend to submit to our contest must be on its own CD. You also must include a separate entry form for each submission.

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  • Can I email you an mp3 of my song?

No. ALL online submissions must be made through We cannot accept emailed submissions directly to NSAI.

  • Is the contest open to entries from the United States only?

No! We accept entries from literally all around the world. Writers from England, Ireland, Africa, Australia and more have placed in past contests. However, if you are submitting a song in a foreign language, you must include an English translation in order to be eligible.

  • Who judges the songs that are submitted to the contest?

Judges are comprised of Music Industry Proffesionals, Award Winning Sonwriters, NSAI Pro Songwriters and NSAI Board Members. These professionals will judge the various rounds of the contest.

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  • How many winners are there?

SONG CATEGORY: 1 Grand Prize Winner, 1 CMT Listeners’ Choice Award Winner, 10 Runners-Up and 10 Honorable Mentions. 

LYRIC CATEGORY: 1 Overall Winner

  • What is the CMT Listeners’ Choice?

The CMT Listeners’ Choice is the fan-voting segment of the contest. Once the panel of industry judges have finished all rounds of judging and selected the Grand Prize Winner, the top 10 songs (after the Grand Prize) are posted on for a period of one month (Feb.1-28 2014). Friends, family and fans will have the opportunity to log-on, listen and vote for their favorite song. The song that accumulates the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded the CMT Listeners’ Choice Award. 

  • Can the same song win the Grand Prize and the CMT Listeners’ Choice Award?

No. The judging panel chooses the Grand Prize Winner(but does not announce it) and sets the song aside. The top-ten scoring songs remaining will compete for the CMT Listeners’ Choice Award. 

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  • Where can I find a list of prizes?

Right here!! You can also visit or at any time for a complete list of prizes. 

  • If I don’t place in the contest, do I still receive anything from NSAI?

Yes! Every song, regardless of final placement will receive a judging score sheet. This score sheet will reflect the average scores that each judge gives your song. It is not meant as an in-depth critique such as you might receive from NSAI’s Song Evaluation Service, for example. Rather, these score sheets are meant to serve as a useful guide and barometer for how industry professionals viewed your song. 

  • When will I hear about the results of the contest?

Submissions run from Aug. 1 – Oct. 31, 2013. If you are selected as a finalist for the CMT Listeners’ Choice Award, you will be notified by phone or email by no later than Jan. 15, 2014. All winners will be notified of their placement by no later than April 1, 2014. Once all winners have been announced, NSAI will begin mailing out the judging score sheets. 

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  • How do I inform you if I move or change phone numbers/email addresses after I’ve already submitted a song?

We rely on the contact information you provide us when you enter a song. We use this information to get in touch with all winners and mail out the judging score sheets at the conclusion of the contest. If your contact information changes during the course of the contest, please contact us at and type SONG CONTEST ADDRESS CHANGE in the Subject field. You may also call us at 800.321.6008. 

  • How are the prizes divided amongst co-writers?

The entrant who submits the song to the contest is our main contact for all prize distribution and will be awarded all prizes directly in the event that the song places in the contest. It is up to the entrant of each winning song to divide up prizes as they see fit. 

  • If my song placed in last year’s contest, may I resubmit it again this year?

If your song won the Grand Prize or CMT Listeners’ Choice Award, it is not eligible for submission the following year. However, Runner-Up and Honorable Mention songs may be resubmitted. 

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  • If my song is available on iTunes or other digital download sites, may I still submit it?

Yes, provided the song is not signed to a professional publishing contract and your total income derived from the song (or songwriting in general) does not make up the majority of your yearly income. 

  • Does my submission need to be a professional quality recording?

Absolutely not! Submit your song in a manner that represents you and the song in the best way possible, given your means. A simple, guitar/vocal or piano/vocal work-tape is more than enough in most cases. HOWEVER, do not confuse this with a bad quality recording. You will want to avoid sending in songs with ambient noise in the background (phone ringing, dog barking, T.V., etc.), or significantly lacking vocal quality, tempo and pitch issues, etc. These things can distract the listener immensely and take away from your song as a whole. Melody, for example, is a significant part of the judging process. If you submit a song featuring a very off-pitch singer that does not sing the correct melody, the judges have to evaluate the song based upon what was submitted. Only you can decide if you should be the person to play or sing on your submission. 

  • I am not a good singer. Can I get someone else to sing on my submission?

Yes! Many people get professional demo singers – or simply friends who sing very well – to perform their songs. This does not mean that they are co-writers on the song.  

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  • When do you stop accepting submissions?

October 31, 2013. All online entries must be received by 11:59 EST on 10/31. Any mail-in entries must be post-marked by this date in order to be eligible.

  • I recently made changes to a song I’ve already submitted. Can I send you the new version to replace my original submission?

No. Once a song is submitted, we cannot replace it with any other song. Though if the changes you make are significant enough, you are welcome to submit the song again. 

  • I have written new lyrics to an already-existing melody made famous by another artist/writer. Can I submit this song?

No. Both melody and lyric must be the writer’s original work in order to be eligible for the contest. This applies to songs under public domain as well. 

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  • Is there an age requirement for submitting a song?

No. Writers of all ages can submit to our contest. Minors under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian fill out the appropriate areas of the application form in order to be eligible. 

  • Will my submission be returned to me at the end of the contest?

No. We will not return cds or other packages received during the contest. 



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Or call 800.321.6008

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