NSAI 50 Moments in History

Each week of 2017 we'll look back on 50 milestones in NSAI's history! We look forward to looking back on all the organization has experienced and accomplished. Check back here each week for the most recent NSAI 50 Moment.

Have an NSAI memory to share with us? Use #NSAI50 and tag @NSAIOfficial on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

August 28, 2017 - In 2000, NSAI held its First Annual Song Contest.  Connie Howard was named the winner and Dave Stewart the runner-up.  The contest is still going strong every fall and is now a joint-venture with CMT.  This year’s contest kicks off September 1.

August 21, 2017 - On August 19, 1978, the Nashville Songwriters Association sponsored its first songwriting seminar outside of the Nashville area. Over 100 aspiring songwriters participated in the event held in Kansas City, KS, with panelists including songwriters: Billl Hall, Patsy and Ed Bruce, Sonny Throckmorton, Linda Hargrove, Ron Peterson, Don Wayne and, Brad MeCuen of SESAC, Merlin Littlefield of ASCAP, Roger Sovine of BMI and NSA Executive Director Maggie Cavender. The songwriter panelists presented a showcase that evening.

August 14, 2017 - August 1997—Bart Herbison is hired as Executive Director of NSAI.  He had worked for U.S. Congressman Bob Clement where he had worked for a decade with the organization on songwriter copyright and intellectual property issues.

August 7, 2017 - In 1983, NSAI, through the auspices of Frances Preston and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), presented Barbara Mandrell in "The Lady Is a Champ," direct from the MGM Grand Show in Las Vegas, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Jackson Hall in Nashville. This August 4 show was taped for a ninety minute HBO special, with all proceeds going directly to NSAI. This special concert raised $40,000.

July 17, 2017 - In January 2015, NSAI gave its website an update and added new member services to its menu.  Most notably Online Pitch giving members around the world an opportunity to pitch songs to publishers from their own homes, Member Pages allowing members to strut their stuff and communicate with one another through the website and the NSAI Certification program.  The first “NSAI Certified” songwriter was member Wildman Hardesty.

July 10, 2017 - In 2003 Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn began the “Congressional Songwriter’s Caucus,” a group of House and Senate members on Capitol Hill that supported songwriter issues.  NSAI was instrumental in gaining members of the Caucus and putting on an annual songwriter show for Caucus members and guests in Washington, D.C.

July 6, 2017 - In July 2009, with Nashville Insurance executive Robert Frost of Frost Specialty, Inc., NSAI created the first-ever group Copyright Infringement Insurance for American songwriters designed to offer affordable rates in the event of a copyright infringement claim.

June 28, 2017 - NSAI has awarded “Songwriter-Artist of the Decade” twice in our history.  The first was Vince Gill (“When I Call Your Name”, “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away”, “One More Last Chance”, “I Still Believe In You”, etc.) for the years 1990-1999.  The second was Toby Keith (“How Do You Like Me Now?!”, “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This”, “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight”, “American Soldier”, “Beer For My Horses”, etc.) for the years 2000-2009.  We’re looking forward to awarding it again soon for the years 2010-2019.

June 21, 2017-Throughout the first half of 1981, NSAI continued to lobby for an increase in the mechanical royalty rate. On June 18, due to these efforts by NSAI and other songwriter organizations, the United States Court of Appeals upheld the Copyright Royalty Tribunal's decision to increase the mechanical royalty rate to four cents, effective July 1, 1981.

June 15, 2017On June 15, 2016, we made our debut on social media with live streaming! NSAI Coffee Break, hosted by Libby Oellerich, featured songwriter-extraordinaire and NSAI Board Member, Jeff Cohen.

May 29, 2017In 2013, NSAI created a lifetime achievement award in the name of one of our founders: the Kris Kristofferson award.  At a private event at the Bluebird Café, Kris presented the very first Kris Kristofferson Award to his friend and collaborator Willie Nelson and the two treated the small private gathering to a concert.

May 17, 2017NSAI was instrumental in having the State of Tennessee Senate pass Resolution No. 121 on May 19, 2003 to designate songwriting as one of Tennessee’s official art forms.

May 10, 2017 - On February 25, 2015, at the behest of NSAI along with like-minded organizations ASCAP, BMI, CMPA, NMPA and SESAC, Congressmen Doug Collins (R-GA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced the Songwriter Equity Act of 2014 (H.R.4079) in an attempt to change the standards by which songwriters’ rates are set for both mechanical and performance royalties.  Later that same year, an accompanying Senate bill (S.2321) was introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Corker (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  Both bills were reintroduced at the beginning of the 114th Congress as H.R.1283 and S.662.

May 1, 2017On May 1, 1989, after 17 years of service as Executive Director, Maggie Cavender moved into the newly created position of Director Emerita, and music row veteran Pat Rogers was named Executive Director. In honor of Cavender, the Maggie Cavender Award of Service was created to be given annual to an individual who has worked hard for the interests of songwriters.

April 17, 2017- In 1999, NSAI had its first bill introduced its in Congress, “The Songwriters Capital Gains Tax Equity Act,” designed to change a fifty-year old inequity in the way songwriter royalty income was taxed.   Experts said passage of the law would “be impossible” because it would change the way song copyright assets were viewed under the tax code.

April 10, 2017 - In early 1974, NSA went on record to vocally support anti- piracy legislation in Congress designed to combat counterfeit records and tapes that were being manufactured and sold with no royalties paid to the original creators.

April 3, 2017 - March 28-April 1, 2017, Tin Pan South celebrated its 25th anniversary.

March 27, 2017
In Spring 1992 NSAI started the “Tin Pan South” songwriters festival.  It would eventually become the largest songwriter-only festival in the United States with about 100 shows during the weeklong event and around 400 songwriter performers. 

March 20, 2017 
In 2007, Regions Bank stepped up as the Title Sponsor for Tin Pan South and celebrates their 10th year as our partner this year.

March 13, 2017 
In 1992, NSAI created the “White Hat Award” to recognize a political leader who had been a particularly good friend to songwriters.  The first was given to U.S. Representative Bob Clement (D-TN), the Congressman from Nashville who had always taken an interest in the plight of the American songwriter.

March 6, 2017
The organization began work in the late 1960’s to successfully persuade most of Nashville's Record companies to start printing the full names of the writers on label copy by 1970. This was followed by working to get more name credit of writers on album jackets. They wanted the public to know that artists did not always write the songs fans loved.

March 1, 2017
The organization began work in the late 1960’s to successfully persuade most of Nashville's Record companies to start printing the full names of the writers on label copy by 1970. This was followed by working to get more name credit of writers on album jackets. They wanted the public to know that artists did not always write the songs fans loved. 

February 22, 2017
February 23-24,1979, the Nashville Songwriters Association held is first annual Songwriter Symposium. The theme was "Songwriting A to Z." it was held February 23 and 24 at the Hyatt Regency by Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, and Nashville Mayor Richard Fulton proclaimed it “Nashville Songwriters Association International Week.

February 15, 2017
In October 1970 the Nashville Songwriters Association sponsored a songwriter showcase during the annual DJ Convention featuring Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Dallas Frazier and others. It is believed this is the first time “It All Begins With A Song” was used.  The theme, to become known worldwide, was the idea of NSA’s volunteer secretary, songwriter and Grand Ole Opry performer Lorene Mann.

February 9, 2017
In February 2005, NSAI purchased the Music Mill studio building on Music Row as its permanent headquarters. They began operations in the 12,000 square foot facility in May.  The Music Mill would be the first location owned by NSAI who had seen many rented and donated locations throughout its history. 

February 1, 2017
NSA elected its first board of directors in late 1968 including Liz Anderson, Boudleaux Bryant, Tom T. Hall, Ted Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Vic McAlpin, Bobby Russell, Glen Sutton, Glen Tubb, Bob Tubert and John Bucky Wilkin. Officers were Buddy Mize, President; Eddie Miller, Vice President; Johnny Scoggins, Treasurer; Marijohn Wilkin, Secretary; and Clarence Selman Sergeant-at-Arms.

January 25, 2017 - On December 6, 1967, the very first organizational meeting of the Nashville Songwriters Association was held at the Old Professional's Club on 16th Ave. South. About forty songwriters were present, including Marijohn Wilkin, Kris Kristofferson, Clarence Selman, Johnny Scoggins, Rusty Adams, Eddie Sovine, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Liz and Casey Anderson, Tommy Floyd, and Eddie Miller.

January 19, 2017 - On January 1, 2008 NSAI assumed ownership of the legendary Bluebird Cafe, America’s premier songwriter performance venue.  Erika Wollam-Nichols, who worked at NSAI at the time and had previously worked at the Bluebird Cafe, was named General Manager.

January 9, 2017 - In mid-November, 1967, Eddie Miller developed the nucleus of the idea for a songwriter advocacy trade association and presented it to fellow songwriters Buddy Mize and Bill Brock during lunch at Ireland's restaurant in Nashville. They were all excited by the idea and decided to move forward to create the Nashville Songwriters Association.