International Songwriters Association (ISA) Songs And Songwriting Song Contests

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Song Contests

The John Lennon Song Contest, which attracts entries from songwriters all over the world, is now firmly established as one of the leading international songwriting contests.

The contest which began in 1997, is open to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in any one of 12 categories. The JLSC is open year-round and features two Sessions, one usually closing in June and the other in December, with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 Maxell Song Of The Year winner.

Songwriters do not need a professional recording. Entries are judged on originality, melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable).

Songs may be entered in any of the following categories:

Rock Country Jazz Pop World Rhythm & Blues Hip Hop Gospel/Inspirational Latin Electronic Folk, and Children's.

Unusually, instrumental compositions are encouraged.

40 Contests Open

Over three dozen international songwriting contests take place each year, ranging from the USA to Ireland.

Most of the modern songwriting contests are open to overseas entries, apart from those national competitions arranged country-by-country for participation in the annual Eurovision Songwriting Contest, which is the largest and most successful songwriting contest held in the world.

The Eurovision Song Contest was founded in 1956 with just seven countries paricipating, but since then, every European nation or state (with the sole exception of Vatican City), has at some stage participated.

Apart from the Eurovision, contests can be divided into two types - those organised to publicise a particular place or product (such as the San Remo Festival or the Avon Cosmetics Song Contest), and those organised purely as businesses, by private individuals or corporations.

In general, contests can be a means of entry to the real world of songwriting (Abba made their international debut on the Eurovision), and some of them do offer very substantial cash prizes.

The high-cash operations are in the main, well organised, usually boasting a panel of independent judges and backed by sponsors who exercise some control over the operation.

They are of course, business operations, existing for profit, aiming to accumulate enough income to pay out the promised prize money at the end of the day.

Others frankly, are little more than glorified lotteries where X+ dollars are earned in entry fees, and X dollars are paid out in prizes, and serious questions have been raised by songwriters concerning the integrity of some of the judging.

In other words - shop around!

If you are organising a song contest - why not contact the ISA?

We will be happy to advise, and indeed to publicise the contest once we have seen the rules and conditions of entry.

John Lennon Songwriting Contest Eurovision American Idol Songwriting Contest Billboard Song Contest ISC

ISA International Songwriters Association (1967)