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This ended February 16, 2011
Songwriting Contest

The Winter Songwriting Contest is under way!  Pro-quality recording for your song, plus the chance to get live in-person feedback on your song from label-signed Christian composers and performing artists at the spring Songwriters' Boot Camp. 

This is the time to put the finishing touches on that song, and get it in.  Due to some great last-minute submissions, the deadline was extended February 16, 2011. Remember it doesn't have to be ready for the radio - production is part of the prize - you just need your words and your tune to enter.

Now here are some tips on how to win...

  • The number one criterion for the judges is the lyrics:  They must be spiritually sound, which means they have to be checked against the Bible. It's not considered cheating to check the Bible yourself! And if you start there too, it's easy to make sure your lyrics are Rock-solid. Remember it's risky to pick just one verse - always look at a couple before and a couple after to make sure you are on the right track.  It's a great idea to include a note with your entry about the scriptural truths you intend your song to communicate.
  • The song does not have to quote scripture or include any of our favourite Christian clichés, and doesn't have to appear obviously Christian at all. But it must be clear when thinking closely about the lyrics that they are totally sound. All songs need to contain Biblical truth based on God's word that will draw people to faith, strengthen people's existing faith, or challenge them to Christian growth.
  • Don't copy what someone else has done. Yes, you can create music in whatever genre you think is right for your words. But come up with your own beat and your own tune.
  • Like anything important in life, always start your writing and composing by praying. If you really write and sing for the King, that is going to come through in your music.

First prize: $500 worth of studio recording time, plus a free ticket to Songwriters' Boot Camp in May to present your song.  

Second prize: $300 of studio time, plus a free ticket to Songwriters' Boot Camp.  

Third prize: $200 of studio time to record your song.

Contest Rules

  1. Must be an original composition of Christian music, vocal plus instrument, any genre, hymns to hip-hop.
  2. There is no cash value to any of the prizes. Prizes must be accepted as awarded.  Decisions of the judges may appear completely arbitrary, unreasonable, or in really poor musical taste, but they are final anyway.
  3. There is no cost to enter, and nothing to pay for recording, production or Boot Camp.  Entrants are responsible for arranging any transportation they need, though DeoSound will attempt to co-ordinate private carpooling for the Boot Camp if winner(s) require it.  Boot Camp winners are responsible for their own lunch.  There is no known tax value to any prize offered, but should there be any government taxes to pay on any prize, the winner is responsible for paying them.
  4. All entries must be licensed under a Creative Commons license before entering.  This means you must be comfortable with making your song, both the composition and recorded performance,  freely available  for non-commercial use, even if you don't win.  Anyone will be able to use your song for non-commercial purposes, provided they credit you as the composer and/or performer, assuming you use the CC BY-NC-SA license.  Find out more about licensing your music here.  Participants retain commercial rights, and will receive a copy of the master files that they can use for any purpose, such as demos.
  5. DeoSound nominates an individual to act producer, who has the final word on takes, arrangements, mixes, mastering, etc., with input from the artist as practical.  Session musicians to round out the song may be made available for recording at the discretion of DeoSound.  Production, mixing, mastering and any session musicians (where needed) will be managed by DeoSound.
  6. All entrants must be 18 or over, or provide proof of permission to participate from a parent or guardian.  Entrants under 18 must make arrangements for a responsible person to be present with them at any recording or mixing session.
  7. To use the recording portion of the prize, the winner must be available for up to 10 hours recording and production time on evenings and/or weekends in January/February 2011 in Mississauga, ON.  Value of studio time is based on small-studio commercial rates that are typically $75 per hour and up.  Recording offered as part of the prize will take place in a non-commercial studio with similar (or better) technical facilities.
  8. To use Songwriters' Boot Camp portion of the prize, winner must have valid passport and be able to travel to Buffalo, NY on May 21, 2010 (full day, leaving very early morning, returning late evening).  In the event that a winning entry cannot use the Boot Camp portion of the prize, winner must declare that they cannot use the Boot Camp prize no later than March 31, 2010, so the prize may be awarded to another entrant.
  9. The contest is run on a best-efforts basis.  If anything goes badly wrong, like the studio gets flooded out or the border is closed on the day of the Songwriters' Boot Camp, it's very sad, but there is no provision for a substitute prize.  
  10. Your entry indicates acceptance of all these rules and conditions,  that you acknowledge you are participating entirely at your own risk, and that you agree DeoSound, its directors, agents, staff, organizers, volunteers and everyone associated in any way is absolved from any and all liability in regard to the contest, the prizes, and the licensing of your song.
Submit your entries via e-mail to Winter2010 [at] DeoSound [dot] org.  Entries must include an MP3 and a complete copy of the words.  
You'll get extra points if you include chords, or even better, the melody or an actual arrangement (see some recommended free tools at DeoSound.org). The quality of the recording is not that important, because the prize includes pro-quality recording of your song so that it will be ready for Songwriters' Boot Camp.

We're always happy to offer free advice too - though it may be worth what you pay for it.  If you have questions or want to talk over a song idea, please contact us by e-mail anytime.

Go for gold!  Great prizes - free studio time for your song, plus feedback from professional songwriters at Bootcamp 2010.  Get working on your entry now, contest closes February 16, 2011!