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October 23, 2007

Song contests

Coupla years ago a friend of mine won a major songwriting contest in Australia but, much to his frustration, told me that success didn't translate into better fortunes as a performer. Since I heard that story I have been wondering about the effectiveness of entering these competitions as a device for career development.

This year I entered fRETfEST, and made the semi-finals, but also entered three songs in the Q-Song Awards and got nothing. For the record, I have entered the "12 Good bars and True" in the International Songwriting Competition, and am planning to enter "Vital Signs" in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. We'll soon see what, if any, advantage this gets me. It's certainly aiming high (I'm not holding my breath to win anything), but I figure the most important thing about entering these big competitions is to get your songs in front of the judges. The winner will be a fairly subjective selection, but I'm pretty sure having placed in the top ten and getting your songs noticed by people at this level in the industry can't be a bad thing. The prizes on offer would be nice, but the prize of getting my song recorded by a major artist is even better.

However, over at Hometracked, Des has reported on his experience and posted some thoughts about it. I think he's spot on, though his title is misleading in that he's not talking about songwriting so much as band performance. His experience is that his band performed live in front of judges, hence the emphasis on appearance, etc. I also doubt that this aspect is one that can be turned into a sustainable revenue stream, though the one-off winnings would be great and it gives you a reason to promote as well as a line in the band biog.

I also think the real virtues of these things are in giving your practices a focus and getting feedback on how you're doing - regardless of the result, always get as much feedback as you can from as many sources as possible!

Posted by Hughie at October 23, 2007 10:09 AM

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