American Idol Songwriting Competition Back for 2008

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With not a whole lot of rumor or speculation, the fate of the American Idol Songwriter contest for 2008 was up in the air until this week, when officials reopened the contest site to the public.

By all accounts, this year's contest is just like last year's contest. Key points:

  • You have just under ten days left to enter. While this might be a point of contention for some songwriters, the idea here is that you can either submit a demo that's sitting on your shelf or you can write something especially for the contest.

  • Production quality counts. Although the rules and the marketing material suggest that "the right song" could just be a Daniel Johnston style riff into a cassette recorder, we learned last year that the screeners do appreciate songs that are pretty fully realized on the recording. You should get yourself a copy of GarageBand or find a friend who can help you polish that demo. If you're not a particularly strong singer, take the time this week to find someone who can track the song for you.

  • Licensing for the contest, as we discovered last year, is favorable. Far better than most contests, and basically licensing the song for use by the production company with the potential for an upfront advance against future royalties.

Last year, we had some spirited debate on this site about the contest, so much that we installed new bulletin boards. All of those old conversations are archived, so you can get a taste of the emotional rollercoaster the American Idol Songwriter competition has become.

Remember that, like all contests, this one is totally subjective. If you don't make the finals, don't give up writing. Instead, focus on creating more great songs and sharing them with fellow songwriters on our boards.

Editor's Note #1: Please remember that has no connection whatsoever with the American Idol Songwriter Competition. I am casually acquainted with a few of the contest organizers, and with some of the folks promoting the contest. However, I don't have anything to do with the screening process and I can't offer any coaching, support, or insight beyond what I've posted here on the site.

Editor's Note #2: Regretfully, I cannot respond to voicemail or e-mail about the contest -- there is simply not enough time to get through it all. Last year, I was getting about 50 voicemails a day from folks who thought that I was in charge of the contest, or that I could provide entry information. Your best bet is to review the official site and to seek advice from fellow contestants on our message boards.