20th Annual NSAI Song Contest Presented by MARTIN GUITAR AND STRINGS AND CMT (“Contest”)

Terms and Conditions


NOTE: NSAI will NOT own your song(s) or any royalties the song(s) may ever generate as a result of you entering the Contest. In the event NSAI desires to use your song(s) after the Contest is over, you will receive a separate communication from NSAI requesting approval to use your song(s). NSAI was founded to protect your royalties and promote the profession of songwriting.


OVERVIEW: Beginning at 12:00 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time ("CDT") on September 1, 2019 through 12:00 p.m. CDT on October 31, 2019, NSAI will accept original songs and lyric sheets (each, a "Song") from eligible songwriters (each, a "Songwriter" and collectively, the "Songwriters"), which will be judged by music industry professionals and the top ten (10) will be voted on by a panel of elite music industry professionals. This is a skill-based contest; the element of chance will not be present at any stage of this Contest. Our Lyric-Only winner will be voted on separately.


WHO MAY PARTICIPATE: Contest is open only to Songwriters who are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia (excluding residents of Maryland, Colorado, and Connecticut), Canada (excluding Quebec), United Kingdom and Australia, 13 years of age or older. Residents of Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, and Quebec may not enter. Eligible minors (ages 13-17 years of age) must obtain their parents or legal guardians' permission prior to participating. A Songwriter submitting a song with multiple co-writers must have all co-writers’ consent to participate in this Contest. For the purpose of this Contest, no co-writer or Songwriter may be subject to a current agreement with a publishing company, record label or other entertainment-related entity to render recording or songwriting services that is currently in effect and/or have agreed to provide rights in and to musical compositions or recordings to any such company, label or entity at the time of song(s) entry. Any Songwriter or co-writer (of submitted song) who at the time of entry derives the majority of his/her income from songwriting, currently has a staff writing a deal with a publishing company, or has ever had a song appear on any of the following charts is not eligible to participate in the Contest:  Billboard, Mediabase, Radio & Records (R&R) and/or any other commercial chart equivalent. Employees and their immediate families (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside or those living in the same households, whether or not related) of NSAI, Country Music Television, Inc. ("CMT"), Viacom Media Networks, a division of Viacom International, Inc. (together with CMT, "VMN"), Martin Guitars and Strings, and all other Contest sponsors and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees, successors and assigns, officers, directors, contractors, partners, shareholders, representatives, members, agents, employees, and advertising and promotion agencies, web developers, and marketing agents (collectively with Promoter Parties, the "Released Parties") are not eligible to participate in the Contest. NSAI reserves the right to require Songwriters to prove that they are eligible.  Void in Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, and where prohibited by law. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, provincial, territorial, state and local laws.


HOW TO ENTER: Songwriters must submit songs on the Website or by mailing in a copy of their Song on one (1) audio CD per song entry and printed lyrics sheets for each entry to the following address: NSAI - "Attn: Song Contest" 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN, USA 37203. An entry fee of $35 USD for current NSAI members, or $45 USD for non NSAI members must accompany each Song submission. Failure to provide an entry fee for any Song will result in such Song being deemed void. To submit a Song online, visit the Website and follow the instructions provided to sign-in to your NSAI (if a member) account or just submit if not an NSAI member; then, follow the directions provided to complete the online registration form, and upload your Song and accompanying lyrics sheet (all information provided by a Songwriter including Song and lyric sheet upload shall hereinafter collectively be referred to as the "Submission"). Songs must be in .mp3 or .m4a format, no larger than 8MB in file size and no longer than five (5) minutes in length. Incomplete Submissions, including but not limited to those Submissions that do not address the requirements set forth in these Terms and Conditions, may be disqualified at NSAI's sole discretion.


By making a Submission, Songwriter hereby grants to NSAI a fully paid up and royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and worldwide license to use and display the Submission on the Website, other sites owned by NSAI, and third party websites and in other media now or hereafter known, and otherwise use the Submission in accordance with these Terms and Conditions for promotional and/or educational purposes, without compensation of any kind or further notice to or approval from Songwriter or any third party, unless otherwise specified by NSAI. Promoter Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Promoter Parties do not guarantee that any Submission made will be posted. Songwriters retain any and all ownership rights they may have in and to the Submissions and NSAI shall not be deemed to be the owner of such Submissions as a result of these Terms and Conditions.  FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT, NSAI WILL NOT USE ANY SUBMISSION FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES BUT RATHER ALL USAGE SHALL BE FOR PROMOTIONAL, MARKETING, ADVERTISING AND/OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  ANY COMMERCIAL USE OF ANY SUBMISSION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO FURTHER AGREEMENT BETWEEN SONGWRITER AND NSAI AND SHALL REQUIRE SONGWRITER’S WRITTEN CONSENT.


Submission must be the original work of the Songwriter, and must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. Prior to making a Submission, Songwriter must obtain any and all releases and consents from any and all co-writers, and any songwriter and other parties necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Submission by NSAI in the manner set forth in these Terms and Conditions. Songwriter and/or co-writers may not submit the same song more than once into the same category (Full Song Category or Lyric Only Category). NSAI reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to NSAI from any Songwriter at any time and, at its discretion, to disqualify any Submission they determine, in their discretion, fails to satisfy any of the above requirements.                                  


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions must comply with the following content guidelines

   •Content cannot promote any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous;       

   •Content cannot be obscene or offensive, endorse any form of hate or hate group;          

   •Content cannot defame, misrepresent or contain disparaging remarks about NSAI, VMN, Martin Guitars and                       Strings, and/or any other Contest sponsors and/or its/their products or other people or companies;          

   •Content must contain artistic and musical performance value;          

   •Content cannot contain any material that infringes on the intellectual property rights or other rights of any third party,         including, without limitation contractual rights, copyrights, rights of privacy, music and/or lyrics owned or

        administered by any other person or entity, or contain any personal identification such as license plate numbers,

        e-mails or street addresses;          

   •Content cannot contain copyrighted materials owned by others (including recordings, sampling or “scratching” and   

     other works published or used on or in websites, television, movies or other media);          

   •Content cannot communicate messages inconsistent with the positive goodwill to which NSAI, VMN, and Martin

     Guitars and Strings wishes to associate; and          

   •Content cannot depict acts or situations, and cannot itself be, in violation of any law or otherwise.  


All eligible Submissions received by NSAI will be judged by music industry professionals (as described herein) based equally on the criteria outlined in the respective judging forms (the “Judging Criteria”).  In Round One (1) all eligible Submissions received will be judged by a single music industry professional. In Round Two (2) the top five percent of entries from round (1) will be judged by two or more music industry professionals who vote on whether or not to advance that song to round three; and in Round Three (3), five or more music industry professionals select ten (10) finalists and ten (10) honorable mentions.


Subject to verification of eligibility, compliance with these Terms and Conditions, the ten (10) Submissions deemed potential "Finalists" will advance to the final judging phase (as described below). The ten (10) Submissions deemed "Honorable Mentions" will receive the Honorable Mention award specified. In the event of a tie, the Submission with the highest score in the "originality" criterion will be determined a Finalist. NSAI reserves the right to advance fewer than ten (10) Finalist Submissions and/or award fewer than ten (10) Honorable Mention awards if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible Submissions of sufficient quality. Separate from the above, Round Two (2) judges will select the top twenty (20) lyric-only scored songs. In the event of a tie, NSAI reserves the right to advance more or less than twenty (20) songs. Once reviewed, the top 5 (five) judged lyric-only songs will move on to Round Three (3). Round Three (3) judges will select one (1) Submission and deem it the "Lyric-Only" award recipient and one (1) Submission and deem it the “Lyric-Only Runner-Up” award recipient.


In early 2020, the Finalist Submissions will be voted on by a panel of elite music industry professionals. The panel will listen to each of the ten (10) Finalists Submissions and score each song from 1-10. The song with the highest score will be deemed the  Martin Guitars and Strings and CMT Grand Prize Winner. The remaining Finalist Submissions will be deemed Runner-Up Award Winners. In the event of a tie, the judges will openly debate and select a final winner. The Final Judging Phase will be filmed and released on the CMT and NSAI websites in late February. By participating in the Contest, Songwriters (i) agree to be bound by the full Terms and Conditions, available at nsai.cmt.com including all eligibility requirements, the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use, and (ii) agree to be bound by the decisions of NSAI, which are final and binding in all matters relating to this Contest. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in disqualification from this Contest.