CMT Contests


To enter by mail, print this form. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader which may be downloaded free from the Internet.)

For online submissions please go to

This is the 12th year of the NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT. *NEW THIS YEAR* is the lyric-only category.

The prizes received by contest winners are designed to help amateur songwriters on their road to becoming a professional songwriter and enhance their careers.

Just a few of the prizes up for grabs this year include:

  • Sixty-minute mentoring session with legendary songwriter and artist Charlie Daniels.
  • Your song pitched to music industry execs through our Winners Compilation CD for one year.
  • Three-day trip to Nashville including accommodations by Hilton Garden Inn and airfare by American Airlines.
  • A private tour of the CMT studios.
  • Entrance to the NSAI Songwriter Networking Program.
  • Prizes from Gibson, SHURE, Elixir Strings, CMT and more.

The Top 12 winning songwriters will each have their song pitched to music industry execs through our Winners Compilation CD for one year.

What’s the one thing every songwriter needs? Connections. And that’s exactly what sets the NSAI Song Contest Presented by CMT apart from all the others. The grand prize winner will receive a mentoring session from legendary songwriter and artist Charlie Daniels. "In the music business, the old saying, 'It’s not what you know; it’s who you know,' proves to be true," said Bart Herbison, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

The popular CMT Listeners' Choice Award is also back for a sixth year. Beginning Feb. 1, 2012, the Top 10 finalists in the NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT will be posted at Music fans can go to the site through Feb. 28, 2012, listen to the finalists' demos and vote for their favorite song. The song with the most audience votes will be the CMT Listeners' Choice Award winner.

Prizes are awarded to one (1) Grand Prize Winner, one (1) CMT Listeners' Choice Winner, one (1) Lyric-Only Winner, ten (10) Runners-Up and ten (10) Honorable Mentions. The contest is open to all genres of music. All songs entered receive a judging report. Music industry executives, professional songwriters and NSAI board members judge songs based on lyrics, melody and composition. Performance and production will not be evaluated.

The entry cost is $35 per entry for NSAI members and $45 per entry for all non-NSAI members.

Songwriters may enter as many songs as they like.

All entries must be postmarked by the FINAL CONTEST DEADLINE: Oct. 31, 2011 (CST). All genres of music are accepted and encouraged.

The NSAI Song Contest is presented by CMT and sponsored by the following organizations: American Airlines, American Songwriter, ASCAP, BMI, the Boot, Elixir, Gibson, Hilton Garden Inn, Olympus, the Parlor Studio, SESAC, SHURE Microphones, Sonicbids, the Bluebird Cafe, We Make Tapes and Discs, Best Built Songs, Black River Entertainment, Cotton Valley Records, Effusion Entertainment, Magic Mustang Music and Roots Three Music.

NSAI is the world's largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization.

Got questions about the contest? We’ve got answers. Click here for a list of FAQs.

Sweeps Info


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Covering every aspect of the craft and business of songwriting.
ASCAP is a membership association of over 240,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers of every kind of music as well as hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization with a board of directors elected by and from the membership.
A Nashville institution. Over 2,500 songwriters play this world famous music room each year. The Bluebird Cafe is an intimate venue for audiences to see and hear the music up close.
Performing rights organization BMI represents more than 300,000 songwriters and publishers in all genres of music through its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million musical works from around the world.
The Boot is a source for country music, giving fans all of the latest news about their favorite stars, plus exclusive interviews, music videos, original videos, live performances and much more.
Guitar strings are coated in a micro-thin polymer for protection from contaminants that dampen vibration and accelerate corrosion. Elixir Strings sound and feel their best three to five times longer than ordinary strings.
The official guitar of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).
At Hilton Garden Inn, we know how important big days are. Whether meeting with an important customer, interviewing for a job, reconnecting with family or conducting an important seminar, having everything you need the night before is critical to being your best. And that’s why we focus on five key pillars to ensure your stay is as pleasurable as it is productive: Sleep Deep, Work Smart, Eat Well, Stay Fit, Treat Yourself. When tomorrow is a big day, stay HGI tonight.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. continues to be an innovator, developing new technologies to expand the frontiers of digital imaging and audio recording. Olympus leads where others have followed. Olympus technologies enable consumers to go places and do things they never thought possible, enhancing people's lives every day. Proof that Olympus enables consumers to capture it all.
The Parlor Studio is a world class, Grammy award winning, Nashville recording studio owned by musician/songwriters who are dedicated to helping new and established music recording artists create the best possible record.
SESAC is a performing rights organization with headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles and London.
SHURE has been dedicated to helping you tell the truth with notes, words and sounds since 1925.
Sonicbids is a Web site that helps bands get gigs and promoters book the right bands. Our community includes over 150,000 bands, singers, songwriters and performers of all kinds.
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 51 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies including the first wireless 4G.
We are celebrating 32 years of business in 2011. We have great prices, we get the job done when promised (or before!) and we actually respond to your phone inquiries in real time -- no phone menus, messages or operators in a distant land.

Publishing Sponsors:
Best Built Songs
Black River Entertainment
Cotton Valley Records
Effusion Entertainment
Magic Mustang Music
Roots Three Music

Special thanks to the Americana Music Association and Simon Ripley's Music and Arts

Lyric Mentors:

Tia Sillers is a consummate song crafter who has maintained a strong commitment to artistic integrity, even while achieving staggering commercial success. Her landmark song "I Hope You Dance," initially recorded by Lee Ann Womack, went on to win every conceivable award including the Grammy, CMA, ACM, NSAI, ASCAP, and BMI song of the year. Tia is far from a one-hit wonder though, having had songs recorded by numerous other artists, including the No.1 hits "That'd Be Alright" by Alan Jackson and "There's Your Trouble" by the Dixie Chicks. Crossing genres, she achieved success with Kenny Wayne Shepherd on multiple tracks, including the top 5 hits "Last Goodbye" and "Was" and the No.1 smash "Blue on Black," which not only held the top spot on the rock charts for 17 weeks but was also the Billboard rock song of the year.

Dottie Moore has a rich history in songwriting and the music business. A lyricisit only, Dottie has penned many hits including "Mile Out of Memphis" that has been recording by many artists including Carl Perkins. She's also had cuts from the Oak Ridge Boys, wrote with Gary Morris and was signed to his publishing company. Dottie has also written Matt Morris (Mickey Mouse Club 1991-1994). She served on the NSAI board of directors for over nine years, is a member of CMA and NARAS and is currently managing a new country duo, Curtis and Luckey.

Charlie Daniels


You Could Win

  • Grand Prize
  • Sixty minute mentoring session with legendary songwriter and artist Charlie Daniels.
  • Two tickets and backstage passes to a 2012 Charlie Daniels Band show of your choice.
  • Your song pitched to music industry execs through winners compilation CD for one year.
  • Three-day trip to Nashville including accommodations by Hilton Garden Inn and airfare from American Airlines.
  • Tickets for two (2) to the 2012 CMT Music Awards.
  • An acoustic Gibson guitar.
  • Much More

  • CMT Listeners' Choice Award Winner
  • Sixty minute, three-song consultation with Jay Frank (SVP of Music Strategy - CMT) along wěth his book Future Hit DNA.
  • Your song pitched to music industry execs through winners compilation CD for one year.
  • Three-day trip to Nashville including accommodations by Hilton Garden Inn and airfare from American Airlines.
  • Single-song demo produced at the Parlor Studios with professional producers and musicians.
  • Tickets for two (2) to the 2012 CMT Music Awards.
  • Much More

  • Lyric-Only Winner
  • A mentoring session with Tia Sellers ("I Hope You Dance" recorded by Lee Ann Womack) and Dottie Moore ("Mile Out of Memphis" recorded by Carl Perkins).
  • NSAI event gift certificate.
  • One-year NSAI membership.
  • A Sprint smart phone or other device of your cholce with 10 percent off your monthly service.
  • Much More

  • Runners-Up
  • A meeting with a major music publisher.
  • Your song pitched to music industry execs through our winners compilation CD for one year.
  • One SHURE microphone.
  • NSAI event gift certificate.
  • One-year NSAI membership.
  • Much More

  • Honorable Mentions
  • Certificate of achievement.

  • All Entrants
  • A free personalized judging report.