Monday, May 24

7 Ways To Improve Your Odds Of Winning A Song Contest

Here's a good read below from We Are Listening's Lior Shamir. Lior always has a good insight into what it takes for artists to get the most out of their promotional activities. Check it out.

1. Look For Clues

Most song contests publish a goldmine of information about their contest judges on their websites. Each judge’s professional profile may contain clues as to what kind of music is most likely to get his or her attention. You can determine what the judges are looking for by checking which artist, publisher, label or music supervisor each judge is presently working with.

2. Look For Patterns
Most song contest websites stream their winners’ songs. If you take the time to listen to a number of the winning songs, you may discover a pattern – a songwriting style, genre or topic – that appears to catch the judges’ ears time and time again. Use this information to your advantage when deciding on a song to submit for the contest of your choice.

3. Write Like A Pro
If you’re including a lyric with your song contest entry, it should not read like a page from a book. Format your lyric so that each section of your song is clearly labeled (e.g. Verse, Chorus, Bridge), use a line space to separate each section of the song, use upper case letters to highlight hooks and new sections only, and don’t include chord changes, notes, or copyright information unless they are specifically asked for.

4. Clean Up Your Act
Your contest submission does not have to be professionally produced but you may be marked down if you’re not hitting your notes, your instruments are out of tune, the band’s not in the pocket, or the recording is inaudible. Make it easy for the contest judges to enjoy your music by eliminating poor performance and unprofessional presentation.

5. Focus On The Song
Song contest judges are professionals. They will not be swayed by awesome production around a mediocre song. When you’re choosing which song to submit for a song contest, focus on the song not the bells and whistles.

6. Put Your Best Foot Forward
A song contest is not a science experiment. Participate in a song contest as if you’re pitching your best material to a label, publisher, music supervisor or event by submitting thoroughly polished songs – not a demo you threw together last night.

7. Do Your Due Diligence
Most song contests cost money to enter. The odds of winning are always going to be stacked against you, much like the odds of getting signed by a major label or publisher. Read the rules, terms and FAQ carefully. Then read them again. Make sure you completely understand what is required of you and take the initiative to contact the contest promoter with questions. Don’t spend your hard earned cash until you’re absolutely sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Taking this small extra step will spare you the disappointment of entering the wrong song into the wrong song contest.

About the Author

Lior Shamir is the Managing Director of We Are Listening, a leading international song contest platform for independent artists. We Are Listening has landed their contest winners on the stages of the world’s largest music festivals, placed their songs on internationally syndicated television shows, and secured the most desirable co-writing, publishing and recording opportunities in the business.

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Anonymous said...

Most contest already have their winners picked from their camps. Its all about business from a competition stand pointe. We prefer to let the masses want what they may. Then pay attention to the funk. We were told by one of the best record promotions guys in the world Tom Gilardi that the biggest mistake of his carreer was smashing
" I want to hold your hand" by the Beatles in the sixties and swearing up and down he'd never work that crap at Capital

Anonymous said...

gee thanks for the swell advice Jango, I never would have thought that to win a song contest I should "focus on the song" and mark things legibly. And to think I've been expecting to win song competitions all these years by mailing in a bag of wet turds!- duh duhduh

Anonymous said...

Did some one say Wine a song?

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jango Airplay said...

Hello everyone, Jango Juggler here.

The above comment was deleted because it was copy/pasted into about 4 blog posts and was not related to the topic of the post.

Please do keep comments related to the topic of the actual post.

Also, if you have a feature suggestion please e.mail it to We keep track of feature suggestions there and it helps us decide on upcoming feature additions

Thanks again all for all the blog activity

- JJ

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the blogger who wrote that many of these contests have "pre-selected" winners. However, there are a few that are for real. The song contest scam - much like the poetry and book writing scams - is a front to get a few folks a little more material into their portfolios so that they look like they're somebody when their agent "pitches" their material to a label or marketing firm. The old adage is true: play because you love the music - not because you're trying to get rich quick. There is a reason why they call us "starving" artists.

Al bainbridge said...

It's a total scam! I received a 'critique' that I paid $30 for. I also put it forward for the song writing contest, The 'critique' said one thing and the competition said another! Absolute crap!!!