There are many awards and competitions in the music world, many of course are well known, well publicised, even televised. Some however are not so well known and for many of us, this is where we start perhaps to gain valuable feedback (and praise) for our work.
Here is a list of the ones we know … maybe see you at one or two of them soon?
Arthur Awards (The Arthurs)
The Arthur Awards began life as a friendly swipe at music business awards ceremonies but, rather ironically, has now become a sought after industry accolade.
Established 1999, AIM represents over 800 member companies, from the largest and most respected labels in the World, to small start-ups and individual artists releasing their own music for the first time, it’s aim (pardon the pun!) is to foster ‘the creative talent, innovation and eclecticism in the independent music industry’.
The BET Awards are a renowned accolade of awards presented to African Americans
and other minorities in music, acting, sports, and other fields of entertainment over the past year. First established in 2001, it is broadcast live by the Black Entertainment Television network.
Owned by BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry) ‘The Brits’ status has grown as one of the most inspiring and exciting events in music across the globe, maintaining the brands strong relationship with music and helping the music industry nurture home grown talent.
The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by the more than 11,000 industry professional members of CMA, which when established in 1958 became the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music. The first CMA Awards Banquet and Show was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards was broadcast on NBC television for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television. The show aired on NBC through 1971 and on the CBS Television Network from 1972 through 2005 before moving in 2006 to ABC, where it is set to air through 2021.
Sponsored by the Dallas Songwriters Association, a educational organization located in Dallas Texas dedicated to providing information on the craft and business of songwriting.
To take part in the Eurovision Song Contest you need to win a national selection, or be selected by one of the participating broadcasters so keep an eye on announcements made by your national public broadcaster. Usually, these announcements are made available through their website, and include details on how to send in your song. If there is no public broadcaster in your country taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest, it is not possible to represent your country. To take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, you would have to enter your song for nomination in another country. Note that not all broadcasters accept songs from foreign artists, song writers and composers. Should you be selected to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, you will then of course represent the respective country. Most broadcasters set their deadlines to submit songs somewhere between September and December.
Exposure Music Awards is a celebration of quality independent music dedicated to the discovery & development of artists in any genre.
The GBMAA exists to acknowledge, promote, and honour the achievements of independent artists in the gospel music sector for Ministry, Industry, and Creativity. These awards are to honour independent artists who have excelled in their musical genre during the eligibility period. All artists requiring consideration must be an Independent Gospel Artist.
The Great American Song Contest is open to amateur and semi-pro songwriters only (not professionals) and limits annual entries to 5,000, thus increasing the odds of winning for participants and ensuring that the judges have adequate time to review each song carefully to provide written evaluations.
This is the industry highlight at the centre of WMC (Winter Music Conference) Week. One of the most anticipated annual events on the global music calendar (and the only longstanding awards event dedicated to the EDM industry), the IDMAs generate over two million votes from music enthusiasts in 209 countries and territories every year to recognize and honour exceptional achievements in 56 award categories. Another unique aspect of the IDMAs is the convergence of industry legends and emerging talent alike. As part of its mission statement to serve as a platform for the advancement of the industry, the IDMAs place particular emphasis on innovative artists and industry. As music continues to evolve the IDMAs have emerged as an essential platform for career-launching appearances.
This annual award promotes excellence in Acoustic Music Performance and Artistry. Acoustic artists in various genres can gain exciting radio and web exposure through this competition. Judging is based on excellence in music performance, songwriting/composition/song choice, music production and originality/artistry.
This is an annual on-line song competition to give recognition to some of the best-emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist.
An annual song contest whose mission is to provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to have their songs heard in a professional, international arena. ISC is designed to nurture the musical talent of songwriters on all levels and promote excellence in the art of songwriting. Amateur and professional songwriters and musicians are invited to participate.
The IVORS is internationally respected as the premier award ceremony to reflect the talent of British songwriters and composers and their contribution as the creative source of the music industry’s prosperity.
An international contest that began in 1997, open to amateur and professional songwriters with 12 categories. The JLSC is open year-round and features two sessions with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 “Song of the Year.”
You don’t need a professional recording, entries will be judged on originality, melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable). Categories are Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, World, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Gospel/Inspirational, Latin, Electronic, Folk, and Children’s. Instrumental compositions are encouraged.
Launched in 1996, by founder and CEO Kanya King, the MOBO Awards were the first awards show in Europe to celebrate urban music and undoubtedly the MOBOs have played an instrumental role in elevating black music and culture to mainstream popular status in the UK.
The NSAI Song Contest is an annual event run by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, a body of creative minds including songwriters from all genres of music, professional and amateur, who are committed to protecting the rights and future of the profession of songwriting, and to educate, elevate, and celebrate the songwriter and to act as a unifying force within the music community and the community at large.
The purpose of The Scottish New Music Awards is to present a professional event to honour the music made in Scotland and recognise the artists and the industry that make it happen.
The SNMA’s goal is to promote, celebrate and showcase new emerging artists and bands across all genres and to promote, celebrate and showcase the businesses within the industry i.e. recording studios, venues, photographers and print publications.
Beyond entertaining, The Scottish New Music Awards strives to educate attendees on an important part of Scottish culture. The Scottish New Music Awards is for music lovers by music lovers.
This contest is fairly new so receives far less entries than some of the other major songwriting contests which must improve the odds of placement, and Show Me the Music takes great pride in having real people listen to each song entered. Songs are judged on melody, lyrics, song structure, and originality, not on production!
Open to all amateur and professional songwriters regardless of nationality or origin. Songs may be sung in a language other than English, but the lyrics must be translated to English. You may enter as many songs as you like. You may enter multiple songs in one category, or you may enter the same song in multiple categories
Song and lyric writing contest with entries reviewed and judged on the songwriting merits alone so production quality is not taken into consideration. A simple home or live recording of a song has the same chance of winning the songwriting contest as a professional recording has of winning as many of the past winners have placed with simple vocal/guitar or vocal/piano recordings. Similarly, vocal ability is not taken into consideration, only the “songwriting” elements of the songs are considered when determining the winners.
‘Lyric Only’ entries also have the same chance of winning the competition. Once all of the material is judged, there will be one winning song representing each of the ten categories.
This is an excellent international contest that invites entries from all parts of the world not just the UK attracting writers from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Asia and Europe. Everyone has the same opportunity to have their work showcased to the music industry in London no matter where they live. Songwriting ability is being judged, not performance or production, so beginners have as much chance as everyone else who enters. Every writer in this contest gets to know the judges’ score for each song and everyone gets an official UKSC Certificate with details of their achievements and placements. There are also guaranteed prizes for everyone who enters including songwriting courses.
A competition for solo artists, bands, and singers all over the world who are not signed to a major label record company or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or imprints. The goal of Unsigned Only is to find an outstanding, talented performer: a band, singer, or solo artist…a newcomer or veteran…raw or polished – the “gem” that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package.
Conceived of and produced by the team who bring you the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only is a fresh and novel approach to other music competitions. Unsigned Only also puts the Grand Prize winner in direct, personal contact with the influential record label executives who are the ultimate decision-makers giving the winner an opportunity to be mentored by a group of record company presidents, A&R reps, and more.
Open to all, regardless of nationality or country origin, this contest started in 1995. Winners are selected by music industry judges including record label publishers, producers, A&R from Universal Music, Warner, EMI, Sony Music, and other distinguished professionals.
The West Coast Songwriters (WCS) is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1979. The West Coast Songwriters (WCS) International Song Contest includes categories include Rock, Pop, Jazz, Country, World, Americana, Gospel/Inspirational, Blues, R&B, Folk, Hip-Hop, Latin, Humorous, Children’s, Instrumental, Singer/Songwriter, Adult Contemporary and Miscellaneous/Other.
There is an “Instrumental” category but not a “lyric only” category.
This Contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters.
Open to songwriters age 18 and older (who will be required to perform submissions at the festival! the Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest encourages the growth of the art of independent performing singer-songwriters. Genres include Acoustic, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Celtic, Country and Folk.
The X Factor open auditions are a chance to make it through to the UK’s most talked-about entertainment show. You must be aged 16 or over and will need to prepare a verse or chorus of one or more songs acapella. If you’re under 18 you will need your parent or guardian’s permission to attend. Make sure you turn up early as audition slots are on a first-come, first-served basis, with slots only guaranteed for people who arrive by 9am.
Side note: When submitting your music or performance to any of the above organisations or similar scenarios, be sure to read the terms of each contract. It’s important to keep yourself and your music protected, you can find a wide range of music contracts that cover several industry scenarios for all parties involved.