But winning the CMT/NSAI Song Contest isn't just about the great prizes; winners of previous years' competitions have been launched from amateur status to professional, garnering full-time careers as songwriters and artists. 2002's grand prize winner Tracy Naples signed a label development deal with DreamWorks Records shortly after her winning song was selected. 2003 grand prize winner Jesse Terry was offered a publishing deal as a staff songwriter on Music Row and is currently co-writing with several Nashville hitmakers.
Keith Taggart, who won the 2004 grand prize for his song "That's Where I Call Home," played a show-stopping set at the world-renown Bluebird Caf� during Nashville's Tin Pan South Festival - the largest songwriters festival in the world. Taggart, who resides in Liverpool, England, has met with major music publishers and pro writers and is currently exploring options made available to him as the result of winning the CMT/NSAI Song Contest.
Fans can vote for their favorite song from March 1 to April 23, 2006 at CMT.com, where 15 finalists will compete for the CMT Listener's Choice Award.
The 2005 Song Contest grand prize winner, the CMT Listener's Choice Award winner and four finalists, will automatically be offered a single-song publishing contract from one of six major publishers. Along with the single-song contract offer, both the grand prize winner and the CMT Listener's Choice Award winner will also receive entrance into the NSAI Songwriter Prot�g� program, which includes one full year of mentoring, educational sessions and career path development with members of the NSAI staff; a series of one-on-one mentoring sessions with award-winning professional songwriters, major publishers and teachers; a full course on how a songwriter can generate income; and appointments with music publishers and record label A&R representatives.
The grand prize winner will also receive a three-day trip to Nashville including airfare and accommodations (restrictions apply), as well as an invitation to perform at the Bluebird Caf� during NSAI's Tin Pan South (or an alternative NSAI Legislative show) and on a broadcast of "Words and Music" songwriters show on Nashville's local CBS affiliate. A story about the winner's songwriting journey will also be distributed to the CMT Radio Network. An interview and recording of the winning song will be made available to stations in the CMT Radio Network. The winner will also have the opportunity to have a performance of their winning song played on CMT.com. NSAI will also produce a professional demo of the winning song and pitch it to publishers and A&R record label executives for one year.
The CMT's Listeners' Choice Award winner will receive tickets for two to the 2007 CMT Music Awards, a private tour of the CMT Studios in Nashville, tickets for the winner and one guest to one scheduled CMT Television, Internet, or Radio performance taping (airfare, transportation, and hotel for each event not included). The winner will also receive CMT-branded merchandise and memorabilia, a single-song publishing contract from a major publisher, and a three-day trip for one to Nashville including airfare and hotel accommodations (restrictions apply). NSAI will also produce a professional demo of the CMT Listeners' Choice Award winner's song and pitch it to publishers and A&R record label executives for one year. Four finalists will also receive a professional demo and song pitching for a year.
In addition to industry contacts, single-song contract offers, professional demo production and personal service, top winners of the CMT/NSAI Song Contest also receive great prizes. The grand prize winner receives an Epiphone DR-200 CE Guitar, a one-year supply of Elixir Strings, one Fostex VF80Ex equipment station, one SHURE KSM27 microphone, and tuition for one-year to SongU.com. The CMT Listener's Choice Award winner receives an Epiphone DR-200 CE Guitar, one SHURE SM58 microphone and tuition for six months to SongU.com. Four finalists win an Epiphone DR-200 CEGuitar, one SHURE SM58 microphone and tuition for six-months to SongU.com. All winners will also receive MasterWriter songwriter software, a one-year SongRamp.com pro membership, a free registration to NSAI Songwriter's Symposium or Song Camp 101 or 102, and a one-year NSAI membership.
Prizes are awarded to one (1) grand prize winner, one (1) CMT Listeners' Choice winner, four (4) finalists, ten (10) runners-up and forty (40) 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.
All entrants receive a free self-paced SongU.com course ($39.95 value). Songwriters entering before September 30, 2005 will receive $5 off the entry fee; all current NSAI members receive an additional $5 off their total entry fee. All entries must be postmarked by the final contest deadline of November 30, 2005.
The 6th Annual CMT/NSAI Song Contest is presented by CMT and sponsored by the following companies: Americana Rhythm magazine, Atlantis Music Conference, Bluebird Caf�, BMI, Country Music Today magazine, DiscMakers, Elixir Strings, FOSTEX, FRETS magazine, MasterWriter, Nashville Scene, Gibson Guitars, Guitar Player magazine, Americana Music Association, SHURE Microphones, Singer & Musician magazine, Sonicbids, American Songwriter magazine, SongRamp.com, SongU.com and 95.5 The Wolf.
The music companies providing single-song publishing contracts are Sony, BMG, Curb, EMI, Warner/Chappell and Cal IV.
All proceeds from the 6th Annual CMT/NSAI Song Contest will benefit NSAI's legislative efforts to protect the rights of songwriters. NSAI is the world's largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization.