Terms and Conditions

NOTE: The Nashville Songwriters Association International ("NSAI") receives inquiries from time-to-time about the language below asking if this means NSAI will own your song(s) or any royalties the song(s) may ever generate; ABSOLUTELY NOT. The Contest only helps you promote your song(s) with your permission. In the event NSAI desires to use your song(s) after the Contest is over, you will receive a separate communication from NSAI requesting approval to use your song(s). NSAI was founded to protect your royalties and promote the profession of songwriting.


OVERVIEW: Beginning at 12:00 a.m. Central Daylight Savings Time ("CDST") on September 1, 2017 through 11:59 p.m. CDST on October 31, 2017, NSAI will accept original songs and lyric sheets (collectively, a "Song") from eligible songwriters (each, a "Songwriter" and collectively, the "Songwriters"), which will be judged by music industry professionals and NSAI staff and the top eleven (11) will be judged during a live online event by a music industry-based celebrity panel including five (5) or more celebrity judges (each of whom are subject to change without notice), during which a Grand Prize Winner will be chosen. This is a skill-based contest; the element of chance will not be present at any stage of this Contest.


WHO MAY PARTICIPATE: Contest is open only to Songwriters who are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia (excluding residents of Maryland and Colorado), Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, 13 years of age or older. Residents of Maryland and Colorado may not enter. Eligible minors (ages 13-17 years of age) must obtain their parents or legal guardians' permission prior to participating. A Songwriter submitting a song with multiple co-writers must have all co-writers consent to participate in this Contest. For the purpose of this Contest, no co-writer or Songwriter may be subject to a current agreement with a publishing company, record label or other entertainment related entity to render recording or songwriting services that is currently in effect and/or have agreed to provide rights in and to musical compositions or recordings to any such company, label or entity at the time of song(s) entry. Any Songwriter or co-writer (of submitted song) who at the time of entry derives the majority of their income from songwriting, currently has a staff writing deal with a publishing company, or has ever had a song appear on any of the following charts is not eligible to participate in the Contest; Billboard, Mediabase, and/or Radio & Records (R&R).


Employees and their immediate families (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside or those living in the same households, whether or not related) of NSAI, Country Music Television, Inc. ("CMT"), Viacom Media Networks, a division of Viacom International, Inc. (together with CMT, "VMN"), and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees, successors and assigns, officers, directors, contractors, partners, shareholders, representatives, members, agents, employees, and advertising and promotion agencies, web developers, and marketing agents (collectively with Promoter Parties, the "Released Parties") are not eligible to participate in the Contest. NSAI reserves the right to require Songwriters to prove that they are eligible. Void in Maryland, Colorado and where prohibited by law. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, provincial, territorial, state, national and local laws.


HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Songwriters must submit songs on nsai.cmt.com (the "Website") or by mailing in a copy of their Song on one (1) audio CD per song entry and printed lyrics sheets for each entry to the following address: NSAI - "Attn: Song Contest" 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN, USA 37203. An entry fee of $35 USD for current NSAI members, or $45 USD for non NSAI members must accompany each Song submission. Failure to provide an entry fee for any Song will result in such Song being deemed void. To submit a Song online, visit the Website and follow the instructions provided to sign-in to your NSAI (if a member) account or just submit if not an NSAI member; then, follow the directions provided to complete the online registration form, and upload your Song and accompanying lyrics sheet (all information provided by a Songwriter including Song and lyric sheet upload shall hereinafter collectively be referred to as the "Submission"). Songs must be in .mp3 format no larger than 8MB in file size and no longer than five (5) minutes in length. Incomplete Submissions, including but not limited to those Submissions that do not address the requirements set forth in these Terms and Conditions, may be disqualified at NSAI's sole discretion.


By making a Submission, Songwriter hereby grants to NSAI a fully-paid up and royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual and worldwide license to use and display the Submission on the Website, other sites owned by NSAI, and third party websites and in other media now or hereafter known, and otherwise use the Submission in accordance with these Terms and Conditions, without compensation of any kind or further notice to or approval from Songwriter or any third party, unless otherwise specified by NSAI. Promoter Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Promoter Parties do not guarantee that any Submission made will be posted. Songwriters retain any and all ownership rights they may have in and to the Submissions and NSAI shall not be deemed to be the owner of such Submissions as a result of these Terms and Conditions.


Submission must be the original work of the Songwriter, and must not infringe upon the copyrights," rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity, or be otherwise contrary to applicable laws and regulations. Prior to making a Submission, Songwriter must obtain any and all releases and consents from any and all co-writers, and any songwriter and other parties necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Submission by NSAI in the manner set forth in these Terms and Conditions. Songwriter and/or co-writers may not submit the same song more than once into the same category (Full Song Category or Lyric Only Category). NSAI reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to NSAI from any Songwriter at any time and, at its discretion, to disqualify any Submission they determine, in their discretion, fails to satisfy any of the above requirements.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions must comply with the following content guidelines, and compliance therewith shall be determined in NSAI’s reasonable discretion:

  • Content cannot promote any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous;
  • Content cannot be obscene or offensive, endorse any form of hate or hate group;
  • Content cannot defame, misrepresent or contain disparaging remarks about NSAI and VMN, its products or other people or companies;
  • Content must contain artistic and musical performance value;
  • Content cannot contain any material that infringes on the intellectual property rights or other rights of any third party, including, without limitation contractual rights, copyrights, rights of privacy, music and/or lyrics owned or administered by any other person or entity, or contain any personal identification such as license plate numbers, e-mail addresses or street addresses;
  • Content cannot contain copyrighted materials owned by others (including recordings, sampling or "scratching" and other works published or used on or in websites, television, movies or other media);
  • Content cannot communicate messages inconsistent with the positive goodwill to which NSAI and VMN wishes to associate; and
  • Content cannot depict acts or situations, and cannot itself be, in violation of any law or otherwise.


NSAI reserves the right to disqualify any Submission (or portion thereof) for any reason, in its sole and absolute discretion, including its determination in their sole discretion that a Submission fails to satisfy any of the above requirements.


JUDGING PHASE: All eligible Submissions received by NSAI will be judged by music industry professionals (as described herein) based equally on the criteria outlined in the respective judging forms. Click HERE for the judging form; (the "Judging Criteria"). In Round One (1) all eligible Submissions received will be judged by a single music industry professional. In Round Two (2) the top five percent of entries from round (1) will be judged by a small group comprised of both music industry professionals and NSAI staff who vote on whether or not to advance that song to Round three (3); and in Round three (3) five or more music industry professionals and NSAI staff select eleven (11) finalists and ten (10) honorable mentions. Subject to verification of eligibility, compliance with these Terms and Conditions, the eleven (11) Submissions deemed potential "Finalists" will advance to the final judging phase (as described below). The ten (10) Submissions deemed "Honorable Mentions" will receive the Honorable Mention award specified below. In the event of a tie, the Submission with the highest score in the "originality" criterion will be determined a Finalist. NSAI reserves the right to advance fewer than eleven (11) Finalist Submissions to the final judging phase and/or award fewer than ten (10) Honorable Mention awards if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible Submissions of sufficient quality.


Lyric-only submissions will be judged following the same process as described above during Round 1 resulting in the top 20 lyric-only scored songs moving onto Round 2. In the event of a tie, NSAI reserves the right to advance more or less than twenty songs. Round 2 songs which will also be judged following the same process as described above resulting in the top 5 lyric only songs moving on to Round 3, which will be judged separate from above. In Round 3, judges will select one submission and deem it the "Lyric-Only" award recipient and one additional submission and deem it the "Lyric-Only Runner-Up" award recipient.


FINAL JUDGING PHASE: In February of 2018, the Finalist Submissions will be voted on by a music industry-based celebrity panel of five (5) or more elite music industry professionals (celebrity judge panel subject to change without notice). The panel will listen to each of the eleven (11) Finalists Submissions and score each song from 1-10. The song with the highest score will be deemed the CMT Grand Prize Winner. The remaining Finalist Submissions will be deemed Runner-Up Award Winners. In the event of a tie, the judges will openly debate and select a final winner. The Final Judging Phase will be an online live-streamed event and will also be filmed and released on the CMT and NSAI websites in late February.


FINALIST NOTIFICATION: Judges' and NSAI's decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to this Contest. Potential Finalists will be notified via mail, email and/or phone and will be required to complete an Affidavit of Eligibility (or if an eligible Canadian resident, a Declaration of Eligibility), Liability and Publicity Release (unless prohibited by law) and any other documents required by NSAI and VMN, which must be returned within fourteen (14) business days of date appearing on Finalist notification. Return of Finalist notification as undeliverable, failure to sign and return requested documentation within the specified time period, the inability of NSAI and CMT to contact a potential Finalist within a reasonable time period or noncompliance with these Terms and Conditions by potential Finalist will result in disqualification and, at NSAI's sole discretion, a Runner-Up Finalist may be notified. In the event a Finalist is an eligible minor in his/her jurisdiction of residence, NSAI and VMN reserves the right to provide an award (if applicable) in the name of his/her parent or legal guardian who will be responsible for fulfilling all requirements imposed on award recipient set forth herein.


GRAND PRIZE AWARD (1 recipient): One (1) sixty (60) minute mentoring session with Sony Music Nashville recording artist Maren Morris, one (1) meeting with an ole representative, a one (1) year single song contract for the winning song with ole, $5,000 United States Dollars (or the local currency equivalent) cash prize, one (1) mentoring session with a CMT executive, three (3) music industry meetings (which could include record Label A&R, publishers and/or songwriting professionals), one (1) pro song breakdown session, NSAI Residency (includes one-year NSAI membership, free attendance to one NSAI event (good for one (1) year), winning Song presented at one (1) NSAI Pitch to Publisher luncheon), live performance opportunities including 2018 Tin Pan South, at The Bluebird Café and for CMT's music strategy team, CMT Award Pack (includes two (2) tickets to the 2018 CMT Awards, attendance to a CMT show taping, and a private tour of CMT headquarters) and press release sent to Grand Prize Winner's hometown TV stations, newspaper and radio stations, name posted on NSAI website, NSAI E-News, NSAI social media pages, The Bluebird Cafe newsletter and CMT.com, one (1) set of D’Addario guitar strings, Song placement on NSAI’s Top 40 Page, Choice of one (1) pass to the Music Biz Conference, a Grand Prize trophy and a three-day trip to Nashville (including 3-day, 2-night accommodations at Kimpton Aertson (based on availability). One (1) roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines excluding predetermined blackout dates and upon availability (limited to US travel within the 50 continental states and only in cities serviced by Southwest Airlines). If the award recipient's legal residence is within 250 miles of Nashville, TN, only hotel accommodations will be awarded. Prizes expire one year from the time Grand Prize Winner is publicly announced.


RUNNER-UP AWARDS (10 recipients): One (1) meeting with an industry professional (which could include record Label A&R, publishers and/or songwriting professionals), one (1) set of D’Addario guitar strings, one (1) year NSAI membership, song placement on NSAI’s Top 40 page and a certificate of achievement. Prizes expire one year from the time Runner-Up Award Winners are publicly announced.


HONORABLE MENTION AWARDS (10 recipients): Song placement on NSAI's Top 40 Song Page and a certificate of achievement. Prizes expire one year from the time Honorable Mention Award Winners are publicly announced.


LYRIC-ONLY AWARD (1 recipient): One (1) sixty (60) minute mentoring session with a to-be-announced at a later date songwriter, One (1) meeting with an industry professional (which could include record Label A&R, publishers and/or songwriting professionals), a one (1) year NSAI membership, free attendance to one NSAI event (good for one (1) year), name included on NSAI website, NSAI E-News, NSAI social media pages, The Bluebird Cafe newsletter, and CMT.com, press release sent to Lyric-only Winner's hometown TV stations, radio stations and newspaper publication, one (1) set of D’Addario guitar strings, Lyric-Only Winner trophy, one (1) pass to the Music Biz Conference, One (1) round trip flight, excluding predetermined blackout dates (limited to travel within the 50 continental states anywhere Southwest Airlines flies) if the Lyric Only Winner’s legal residence is more than 250 miles outside of Nashville, TN. Prizes expire one (1) year from the time the Lyric-Only Award Winner is publicly announced.


LYRIC-ONLY RUNNER-UP AWARD: (1 recipient): Free attendance to one (1) NSAI event (good for one (1) year), one (1) set of D’Addario guitar strings, one (1) year NSAI membership, certificate of achievement, name posted on NSAI website, NSAI E-News, NSAI social media pages, The Bluebird Cafe newsletter and CMT.com.


Award recipients may not substitute, assign or transfer award or redeem any award for cash, but NSAI reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to substitute any award (or portion thereof) with one of comparable or greater value. Awards are as stated and there is no cash or other alternative to the award in whole or in part. By participating in the Contest, Songwriters agree that the awards are awarded on an "as is" basis, and that neither NSAI nor any of its subsidiary or affiliated companies, makes any representations or warranties of any nature with respect to the prize. Award recipients are solely responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes, if any, as well as any other costs and expenses associated with award acceptance and use not specified herein as being provided. All award details are at NSAI's sole discretion.


LICENSE/USE OF SUBMISSIONS: By making a Submission, Songwriters (including all band and/or group members comprising Songwriter, if applicable) grant NSAI, VMN and its designees, assignees and licensees a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, fully paid up and royalty-free, sub-licensable, transferable right to exploit the copyright in the recording and the underlying composition thereto and any and all ancillary and subsidiary rights therein in any media now known or hereafter developed, with respect to the Submissions, including without limitation the right to edit, publish, use, adapt, exploit, perform, modify, copy, disseminate or dispose of any Submissions, the compositions embodied therein or any elements thereof (including the names and likenesses of any individuals and any property embodied therein), online (including, without limitation, other sites owned by NSAI and third party websites), in print, film, television, or in any other media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide in perpetuity, for programming, advertising, publicity, promotional and any other non-commercial purposes without compensation, without payment of residuals, costs or fees, and without permission or notification to Songwriter (including all band and/or group members, if applicable) or any third party of any kind, unless otherwise specified by NSAI, except as prohibited by law. Promoter Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Promoter Parties do not guarantee that any Submission made will be posted. Songwriters retain any and all ownership rights they may have in and to the Submissions.


Without limitation of the foregoing and for the avoidance of doubt, these Terms and Conditions shall not transfer any ownership in and to the Submissions to NSAI. Songwriters retain any and all ownership rights in and to the Submissions, and NSAI shall not be deemed to be the owner of such Submissions as a result of these Terms and Conditions. By making a Submission, Songwriter hereby grants to NSAI a fully-paid up and royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual and worldwide license to use and display the Submission on the website, other sites owned by NSAI, and third party websites and in other media now or hereafter known, solely in connection with the Contest for non-commercial purposes and otherwise use the Submission in accordance with these Terms and Conditions solely in connection with the Contest for non-commercial purposes, without compensation of any kind or further notice to or approval from Songwriter or any third party, unless otherwise specified by NSAI. Promoter Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Promoter Parties do not guarantee that any Submission made will be posted.


NATURE OF RELATIONSHIP: Nothing in these Terms and Conditions or any other agreement with Songwriter shall be deemed to create an employment or agency relationship between any of the Released Parties and Songwriter. Songwriter agrees that he/she shall not look to the Released Parties for any compensation, employment and other benefits. Songwriter hereby acknowledges and agrees that the relationship between Songwriter and NSAI and any of its designees is not a confidential, fiduciary, or other special relationship, and that Songwriter's decision to provide a Submission does not place NSAI or any of the Released Parties in a position that is any different from the position held by members of the general public.


PUBLICITY RELEASE: Participation in this Contest constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use Songwriter's names, likenesses, voices, performances, award received, photographs, statements and biographical information (all at NSAI's discretion) for future advertising, publicity and other purposes relating to this Contest in any and all media now or hereafter devised throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification or permission.


RELEASE OF TECHNICAL LIABILITY: Released Parties are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, stolen, altered, garbled, incorrect, incomplete, delayed or undelivered votes, and Submissions, all of which will be void. Released Parties are also not responsible for problems uploading or downloading any Contest-related information or materials from the Website, any errors or problems associated with uploading Submissions on the Website, or for any other technical malfunctions of electronic equipment, computer online systems, servers, or providers, computer hardware or software failures, phone lines, failure of any Submission to be received by NSAI on account of technical problems, traffic, congestion on the internet or the Website, or for any other technical problems including telecommunication, miscommunication or failure, and failed, lost, delayed, incomplete, garbled or misdirected mail or other communications which may limit Songwriter's ability to participate in this Contest. Released Parties are not responsible for any other errors or malfunctions of any kind, whether network, printing, typographical, human or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or malfunctions which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing, judging or voting of Submissions, the tabulation and processing of votes, or deletion of any Submissions. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall in any way limit Released Parties liability for death or personal injury caused by their negligence or for any other matter where liability may not as a matter of law be limited.


RIGHT TO TERMINATE & MODIFY: NSAI reserves the right to modify, suspend or terminate the Contest in the event it becomes infected by a computer virus or is otherwise technically impaired, and to cancel or suspend the Contest in its entirety should tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or other causes corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the Contest. NSAI reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the Submission process or the operation of this Contest or any website (including the Website), intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other Songwriter or User, NSAI or any of its representatives or to otherwise be acting in violation of these Terms and Conditions and void all associated Submissions.


MISCELLANEOUS: Authorized subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses. In the event of a dispute regarding Submissions received from multiple users having the same e-mail account, the authorized subscriber of the e-mail account at the time of Submission will be deemed to be the Songwriter and must comply with these Terms and Conditions. Authorized subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses.


CAUTION: Any attempt by a Songwriter to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of this Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, NSAI reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys' fees) from any such Songwriter to the fullest extent permitted by law and to disqualify such Songwriter from the Contest.


SIMILAR SUBMISSIONS: By making a Submission, Songwriter acknowledges and agrees that NSAI may obtain many Submissions under this Contest and that such Submissions may be similar or identical in theme, idea, format or other respects to others submitted under this Contest and/or created or developed by NSAI on its own or by those working on NSAI's behalf, and/or other promotions staged and/or led by NSAI, and waive any and all claims Songwriter may have had, may have, and/or may have in the future, that any similar Submission, Song and/or other works accepted, reviewed and/or used by NSAI (or its designees) may be similar to Songwriter's Submission. Songwriter acknowledges and agrees that NSAI does not have now, nor shall it have in the future, any duty or liability, direct or indirect, vicarious, contributory, or otherwise, with respect to the infringement or protection of any copyright in and to Songwriter's Submission.


PERSONAL DATA: Any information collected from the Contest shall be used only in a manner consistent with the consent given by the Songwriter at the time of Submission, with these Terms and Conditions, and with NSAI's Privacy Policy at www.nsai.cmt.com, and the Terms of Use, available at www.nsai.cmt.com (such Privacy Policy and Terms of Use are incorporated herein by reference). Each Songwriter expressly agrees to the use of his/her personal information for such purpose. By participating in the Contest, Songwriters (i) agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions, including all eligibility requirements, the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use, and (ii) agree to be bound by the decisions of NSAI, which are final and binding in all matters relating to this Contest. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in disqualification from this Contest. NSAI reserves the right to permanently disqualify any Songwriter and/or any other person it believes has intentionally violated these Terms and Conditions and void all associated Submissions. The following information will be collected from each Songwriter for the purpose of administering the Contest, and may also be used by Released Parties and their affiliates to contact the potential Finalists: Songwriter name, date of birth, mailing address and email address. The Released Parties will not sell, share or otherwise disclose information collected in any manner with third parties, other than those parties necessary to fulfill the above purposes, unless entrant has given his prior express consent to receive additional information from the Released Parties or a third party. Songwriter's information may also be transferred to countries outside of the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia, including the United States. Such other countries may not have privacy laws and regulations similar to those of the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia. If a Songwriter does not provide the mandatory data required during entry registration, NSAI reserves the right to disqualify the Submission. Songwriters have a right of access to, modification and withdrawal of their personal data. Songwriters also have the right of opposition to the data collection, under certain circumstances, in accordance with applicable law. To exercise such right, an entrant may write to: NSAI, 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN 37203 ("Data Controller" and "Data Recipient"). The Released Parties will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that Songwriters' personal information is treated securely and in accordance with NSAI's Privacy Policy and these Terms and Conditions, but will not otherwise take steps to ensure compliance with the applicable English, Canadian or Australian laws.


RELEASE OF LIABILITY: By entering the Contest, Songwriter agrees to release and hold harmless the Released Parties from all claims, liability or damage caused or claimed to be caused, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in connection with participation in this Contest, or acceptance or use of any award, the administration of the Contest, the operation of any website (including the Website) or Released Parties' use of any of the rights granted herein (including any claims arising out of the use of third party content). Released Parties assume no responsibility for the conduct of any Songwriter or the responses of anyone appearing in any Submission.


ARBITRATION: Except where prohibited by law, as a condition of participating in this Contest, Songwriter agrees that (1) any and all disputes and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, or any opportunities provided, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association and held at the AAA regional office nearest the Songwriter; (2) the Federal Arbitration Act shall govern the interpretation, enforcement and all proceedings at such arbitration; and (3) judgment upon such arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. Under no circumstances will Songwriter be permitted to obtain awards for, and Songwriter hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys' fees, other than Songwriter's actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with participating in this Contest), and Songwriter further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.


DISPUTES: Except where prohibited by law and subject to the provision entitled "Specific terms for UK entrants only" below, Songwriters agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any award provided shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in the State of Tennessee, USA. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of NSAI in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Tennessee, USA, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Tennessee, USA or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Tennessee, USA.


SPECIFIC TERMS FOR UK ENTRANTS ONLY: These Terms and Conditions are governed by English law. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear any dispute or claim arising in association with the Contest or these Terms and Conditions.


PROVIDED BY: Nashville Songwriters Association International, 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN 37203