have a question about the validity of song writing contests. I
am extremely new to submitting songs to publishing companies and
I want to make sure I know how they work before sending material
to them. Some contests claim that the writer retains all rights...this
must mean that you lose those rights with some other song publishers.
If you're not paid any royalties, etc. , what exacly is the compensation?
Is it a common practice for some publishers to "bait" songwriters
with a contest and then steal the songs? I suppose you can make
a bad deal with even copyrighted material when it comes to promoting
your music..... Any insight would be appreciated Thank you , I
enjoy your articles!
-- George S.
George. There are so many songwriting contests out there. Many are
run by very reputable firms, like the John Lennon Songwriting Contest
or the USA Songwriting contest (See Songwriting
Contest Listings for more info). But, there are many that
are not so legit and you have to be careful. There are many that
you can submit to for free and many that you have to pay a fee to
get into. This usually has no bearing on the quality of the contest.
Most do it to offset the costs of having people screen the thousands
and thousands of entries that they receive. Whatever contest you
decide to get into , make sure you thoroughly check it out first.
Email the contest people and ask how long they've been running.
Get references from past winners and ask fellow musicians which
they've been in. Check sites like the Muse's Muse for listings.
Reputable sites like this will usually only list contests that are
legitimate, saving you time.
(Editor's Note: George, while I certainly do my best not to put
questionable content in front of The Muse's Muse viewers, it's impossible
for me to check out every single contest in detail. *Please* do
the checking. Don't assume that just because it's listed here, it's
ok. I'd rather you be safe than sorry, ok? Good luck!)
there publishing, record companies and other firms who will scam
the contest and steal songs? Absolutely. You hear about it all too
often. Make sure your stuff is copyrighted before you ever submit
it to anyone's contest or otherwise.
never heard of any songwriting contest demanding the rights to your
songs. If they do, run the other way. That's a sure sign of a scam.
These are your songs, end of story. If you sign with a publisher
or record company, the story is much different, but not for a simple
contest. I've been in contests and have never had a problem. But
I spent time making sure they were the right ones for me.
is not a common practice for publishers to bait songwriters so they
can steal their songs, at least not the reputable publishers. There
are, however, song sharks out there who are very unscrupulous and
will steal from their own mothers if they thought they could make
a buck off of it. If you get a letter in the mail from a publisher
or a record company who you've never solicited and have never heard
from before in any form, and they are asking you to submit songs
for consideration, throw it right into the garbage. This is a common
tactic by the sharks. They get unsuspecting writers all excited
that a record company/publishing company has contacted them and
they count on the writers naivete and expect them to send songs.
Then if there is a problem, they have lawyers who will usually make
it so hard and expensive that the writer has no recourse to get
his song back. There's a lot more to it, but that's the general
far as making a bad deal, it happens everyday to someone. It's happened
to me in the past. Make sure your music is copyrighted and also
make sure you have a good entertainment lawyer on retainer. They
may cost a lot, but they are well worth every penny when things
do go wrong.
this helped you. Feel free to email me any time you want with questions.