Annual Song Contest 2018


KO Underground
1320 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101


Sunday June 3, 2018 5:00 pm
Check is starts at 4:30 pm

How to Enter

Submit Online

  • Entry Fees: Submit submission fee of $20
  • Provide Song Information: Once your fee is accepted, you will be directed to an information form. This form will allow your to enter your contact information, song lyrics, and upload your an MP3 of your song. You can only submit one song at a time. Once the first song is entered you can then add a second song if desired.
  • Deadline for online submission: is 4:00 p.m. Sunday May 27th, 2018
  • Contest Event: Come out to the event on June 3rd, 2018
Enter Contest

San Diego Songwriter’s Guild Song Contest Rules

  • Song entries will be judged by a committee consisting of industry professionals, songwriters and/or SDSG staff. Judges will score entries on five criteria:
    1. lyrics,
    2. melody,
    3. form,
    4. originality and
    5. presentation.
  • All styles of music are eligible, but instrumentals will receive no lyric score.
  • Each entry must be the contestant’s original work. By entering this contest you are confirming that the song submitted is original and you hold rights to the song.  Failure to comply will result in immediate disqualification and an alternative winner will be selected.
  • Songwriter must be present at the time of the awards presentation to receive prize.  Songwriters  who are not present at the awards presentation will be disqualified from consideration for prizes and awards.
  • Contestants and their collaborators retain all rights to works submitted, but entries will not be returned by SDSG.
  • Contest is open to amateur songwriters, meaning one who has not been employed as a staff writer for a publishing company, who is not being paid for such services, and/or who has not received more than $5,000 in song royalty income within the past year.
  • No song previously recorded and released through major national distribution in any country is eligible.
  • Grand Prize (Platinum) winning songwriter from the previous two consecutive song contest (2015, 2016) is not eligible to enter the contest.  All other previous entrants from years not indicated above can make a song submission.
  • The contest is open to songwriters who are 18 years of age or older on the date of entry submission. Any entrant who is a minor in his or her jurisdiction of legal residence must submit written permission from his or her parent or legal guardian to participate in the contest. Parental Consent Form – Contestants under 18 years old Download
  • Songs that placed in the top 4 prize categories (Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze) from previous year’s song contest cannot be resubmitted and will be disqualified.
  • Prizes for this year’s contest have yet to be determined. Check out prizes from prior years at our website Note: many of the prizes are “San Diego” based and can only be redeemed in San Diego stores, offices, and studios.
  • Winners are responsible for division of prizes and taxes.
  • No more than 70 entries will be accepted; SDSG reserves the right to limit submissions further.
  • A maximum of one of entry will be accepted per writer. Co-writes count proportionately toward this total. (For example: an entry with two writers counts as 1/2 of one entry for each writer.)  San Diego Songwriter’s Guild reserves the right to limit entries further.
  • San Diego Songwriter’s Guild is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, postage due, stolen, or misappropriated entries.
  • Entry constitutes permission to use winner’s names, likeness and voices for future publicity and advertising purposes without additional compensation.
  • This contest is limited to local songwriters only.  You must be a current resident living in San Diego County, California.
  • Entries that violate these rules may be disqualified, and submitted fees will not be returned. All judges’ decisions are final.

Contest Date: June 3rd 2018

Join the San Diego Songwriter’s Guild or renew your expired membership when you enter and you may enter at member rates. Membership Applications are available at Online and at the event.

Admission to the live event is FREE to contestant and one additional guest.

Parental Consent Form – Contestants under 18 years old Download

22 comments for “Annual Song Contest 2018

  1. Jackie
    September 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I had previously entered your contest and did not know ahead of time that only a portion of the song would be played. Since the stories behind the lyrics are the most important part, could you please advise on how I can be assured that the entire story be considered regardless of whether all of the words are heard? Last time I felt like it was cut off at a point where it was unclear what the song was about. Many of my songs are summed up in the final verse.

  2. September 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    You have a valid point. Keep in mind that the judges have a copy of the lyric sheet and they have the opportunity to see the entire song story. And they do take that into consideration. If the average song is 4 minutes and with a 70 song limit it would take almost 5 hours to go through them all. That is without a break between songs. Straight though listening. Then the scores need to be compiled and the prizes distributed. If we listened to every song all the way through we would probably end the event at 4am. The good news to those who are the top songs, we do play those all the way through during the awards ceremony. In the interest of respecting people’s time the initial song listen is verse/chorus.

  3. Laura
    November 8, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Are there specific genres the judges are looking for/not looking for? Will the songs be used for anything after the contest (promoted to tv/film)?

  4. November 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

    The contest is not split up into different Genre. All genre of music is accepted for the contest. There are no specific plans for promotion by SDSG for the songs other than the winning song being posted to the website.

  5. M D W
    January 17, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Ok, so to clarify, you don’t listen to songs all the way. Through nor do you offer any promotion afterwards?

    Closing date for accepting submissions should come sooner than just a few days before the event. Logistically then you would have plenty of time to sit and listen to all the songs “straight through” or with 2 breaks, before AND after an intermission if you wanted.
    That seems entirely superficial and like an environment that doesn’t allow for a true listening experience, whether you listen to the lyrics or read them, or not. This may be self evident, but
    Any song could strike a different mood, memory, or an internal chord in everyone. Even without hearing a single word.
    If you had specific genres, categories, and judges to divide the judging work load, then I wouldn’t care.

    Look, I get it, that’s how most producers and execs would listen to songs it in “real life” …but that’s not necessarily a contest, that’s more like an investment pitch.
    Given the fact that you don’t offer any promotions other than a website feature, I don’t think it’s fair for you to act like record execs, even if some of you are, it’s a different circumstance entirely. Record execs & labels offer distribution, a budget, PR, marketing and adv., more, so a 30 -60 second listen may be apropos.
    But for a web feature?
    The prizes may be awesome, It just seems like the prize sponsors are providing the benefits that could help. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

  6. January 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    This song contest is unique from other contests in that it a live event. Both Judges and Contestants come together to listen to submitted songs the day of the event.

    We offer online submissions to eliminate long lines during registration. It also allow time to compile and prepare the audio, lyric sheets and score sheets beforehand.

    This is also a local event for San Diego County songwriters. Because it is a live event we need to manage the time that is why only a portion of the song is played. This provides enough time to get a feel for the music. If you notice on every television competition the contestant only get 90 seconds for their song.

    Judges also have lyrics available so they can examine the entire plot and story of the song. Since is a live event we also limit the number of entries to 70.

    Since there are a limited number of songs classifying by genre does not work as with larger contests that get thousands of submissions.

    As a live event songwriters can also meet and mingle with other songwriters while getting a chance to listen to each others songs.

  7. January 23, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Ok so it’s a $20 fee to submit a song and then $10 admission to the contest? Just wanna make sure I get this right. Thanks.

  8. January 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    If you are not an active member of the San Diego Songwriter’s Guild then this is correct. To become a member you will need to pay annual dues of $50.00. Membership does provide you with discounts to events and song submissions.

  9. Jeff Caldwell
    February 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Last year’s Song Contest Winner was signed by Big West Music who was in attendance at the event. Congratulations Aubryn!

  10. Adam
    February 4, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    1. I see that there is a limit of 70 song entries… so if I plan to submit my songs at the event, should I be worried that it may be full and could be denied entry?

    2. Am I right to assume that the quality of the recording is NOT a factor in this contest? If I record on my cell phone with some vocal cracks and imperfect mix, am I at a disadvantage to someone who made a professional recording?

  11. February 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Is it a problem to submit songs with some profanity in the lyrics?

  12. February 8, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Because of issues with spam a “bad word” filter is implemented on the submission form. Using certain profane words as well as some common pharmaceutical names will prevent your lyrics from being posted to the database. Should you have profanity in your lyrics it is best to mask the word. For example bull s**t.

  13. John Weber
    March 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Will there be a song writing contest in 2018? If so, when?

  14. LJ
    May 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    do you have a list of contestants? Also, I submitted my song, but I’m not sure if was accepted. Also, I used a file from my phone… So I’m not sure it would work… please let me know

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