Have you entered a song into the American Idol Songwriter Contest?

AIUPDATE – APRIL 27: Big, huge, fun American Idol liveblog + discussion happening on our new discussion boards.

If so, we’d love to hear it!

A number of songwriters commenting in a previous thread have started sharing their songs with us and with each other, as have posters over at Just Plain Folks.

Here’s an open thread to keep the discussion going about the American Idol songwriting contest until voting begins in a few more weeks!

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128 responses

  1. Mark L. Avatar


    The “confirmation” I got back after uploading last Sunday…..was an email thanking me for entering the contest and receipt for the Visa info regarding the $10 billing. Best of Luck to everyone.

  2. Donna,

    You should have received a confirmation email if your song was submitted. Also I believe ther was some kind of confirmation page when the song was actually submitted. Hope you made it in….probably just a glitch.

  3. Another thing to keep in mind is this contest wasn’t announced as an “amature” song writing contest. Considering “the stage” AI presents, it seems reasonable to expect to be up against seasoned professionals.

    It might be strange for you to see your song(s) in the final 20 sitting next to Elton John’s or Quincy Jones’s – if they have tunes “unencumbered” as it were, by any standing agreements.

  4. All true, Taterix…however, all the past idol finale songs were written by seasoned professionals and, yet, AI is looking for something better, as we’ve already discussed. I think the “spirit” of this competition WAS to find a gem by a completely “unknown” songwriter. But it wasn’t to the exclusion of professionals, either. The promo articles had the people from 19 Entertainment saying that they could imagine a 50-year-old mom sitting on a porch in Tennesse and coming up with a winning song. If that doesn’t scream “amateur”, I don’t know what does! I guess it would be possible, but like you said earlier, songwriting is a craft with certain rules and structure. A runaway tune, no matter how pleasant, that doesn’t reach a great chorus within a certain amount of time, is out of structure. And AI isn’t going to re-write anyone’s songs, because then they would become co-writers. I’m hoping Elton John and Quincy Jones stayed on the sidelines for this one!

  5. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    To Ann S….

    Yeah, I totally agree with you there, whether or not radio has an impact, the songs have to have really great hooks, they have to make you feel something, and they have to sound like a real singer could sing them.

    It is funny you mentioned that you listen to radio a lot. It seems that these days there are two kinds of people – those that still listen to radio and those that don’t. You are lucky, you can listen at work. I have never had a job where I could do that, so that might have something to do with why my radio listening days are over. But overall, it has a lot to do with what city you live in too. Here in Dallas, the radio market is an awful disaster. There is literally NO radio station here that has modern music by current bands (within the last year). Radio stations here all are narrowly managed into stereotypes. If you find a station that plays something besides classic rock, or rap/hip-hop, or country, they all play music from more than 2 years ago and they play the same 20 songs over and over. It is really disgusting. I think the best places for radio are the giant cities like New York and Los Angeles, where the industry is located. Digital radio still has literally no big percentage of the market and has not taken off like they had hoped it would, although I hear it is really cool from the few people I know whom have it. London also has a very big thriving radio market as well.

    I used to love radio when I was a kid. Seems like every weekend we listened to the radio to hear Casey Kasem’s Top 40. Before MTV came along, that was the only way you got to hear new music, and it was so much fun to hear new great songs by new artists, no matter what genre they were. It was so much better back in those days. Then MTV became the big new artist vehicle. Now MTV is dying a slow death and now the big thing is the internet and i-Tunes. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….

    The hardest thing about this contest is writing something that has wide appeal. I have heard quite a few of the songs that people have posted that they entered in this AI contest, and most of them are really bad. But there are a few really good ones too. And one or two were really awesome songs, damned well recorded, sung, etc. that would be great for radio, but they totally had nothing to do with Idol and therefore I think they won’t be picked. They also didn’t have wide appeal either. It is so hard to guess exactly what the judges are going to be looking for other than to speculate, which although as fun as I think it is to do so, really in the end is a waste of time. I think they will do what they said in the guide for sure – they will pick a song that has a typical Idol theme, one that has wide appeal to a wide age range, and one that is really emotional and has great hooks. That is a very fine line indeed for most songwriters. I would be willing to say that if we could hear all the songs entered, and only keep the ones that were really good sounding (great production, great singer, beautiful hooks) that 99% of those great songs would not have the Idol theme to them, so they will be thrown out on that alone. Writing a great song is not that difficult if you have the raw talent and determination to do so. But even if you can do that, writing something very specific like for AI is really much more difficult to get right. Most of what I have heard, even the great sounding ones, were songs that people had already written way before this contest started. I would love to just be able to hear songs that people had just written in the two weeks of the contest, like me and my friend Matt did. Now that would be something more impressive to me. But of course, being successful has nothing to do with luck, it has to do with being prepared when the chance comes, and having a fully produced song in your pocket ready to go for a chance like this does give you a certain advantage.

  6. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    to Taterix, in response to #3…

    You are right, they didn’t say anything about this being an contest for amatures, but all contests are amature contests really. If you are a professional already, you are working in the industry and getting work and getting paid to do so. You would not need to enter contests like the AI contest, and probly wouldn’t do so anyway.

    Although I think some semi-professionals will enter, I think AI is looking for a someone in the same position as the singers are on the show. New raw talent that is not over produced and not currently working in the industry.

    By the contest rules alone, I think many people were confused. The big professionals, someone like Diane Warren, could totally enter this contest if they wanted. Every song they write has no publishing or distribution deal on it until someone buys the song from them, so they could enter. Some professionals do have contracts with publishing companies though, so some of them might not be permitted to enter under those legal terms.

    Overall I think this is the coolest contest ever since AI started 6 years ago. I love all the reality shows that have people using their talents to compete. They all want people who are amatures, not professionals looking for publicity or a leg up. So we will have to wait and see what the songs are like when the Top 20 are announced. I can hardly stand to wait until May 2nd…..

  7. David V Avatar

    When I started thinking about how many entrants there were, I figured the judges were going to stop listening to a song after 30 seconds and move on if something didn’t grab them. I re-arranged my song so that the hook is the first thing one hears. Most songs, even great ones, usually start slow and fairly uneventfully but I figured that using that kind of song structure was a chance I couldn’t take.

  8. We start fairly slow on ours (click my login name for link to tune – “without you”). In retrospect, I would have gone with pushing it up another notch-and-a-half on the second verse. But we were working with a 48 hour deadline and nothing but the chord stucture and melody with which to work. All-in-all, I make no apologies, we’re please with our honest effort. At the same time I’m not kidding myself either- it’s a long shot, even with unlimited resources – time, tools, money, and talent.

    But I agree with everyone, this is a coolest thing and you’re crazy not to take a shot – so that’s what we did. I just hope the A&R rep makes it to the first chorus – the rest, I believe, holds water for an AI audience.

  9. Does anyone know when the top twenty were to be announced?

  10. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    To Rob, in response to #9…

    Yes, the Top 20 will be announced on May 2nd, that is also when the online voting begins.

  11. Jeanie:

    This is in response to the comments made by Jeffery (4/18, #16 on the previous page) concerning your situation. (Jeffery…you make some good points, and I don’t necessarily disagree with everything you say; but I’m not sure that your comments are definitive from a legal perspective.)

    First of all, a song, as originally composed, does not have to include notation of chord accompaniment in order to be a legally valid composition subject to copyright. It could consist, for any number for reasons, simply of melody and lyrics. (I hold copyrights on a couple of such pieces myself.) There is also the point of view that given the structure of Western tonal music and the natural aural relationship between notes in a particular scale, the logical harmonic progression of a song is inherent in the melody. So if someone “figures out??? the basic chords that should accompany your song, it could be argued that they are simply uncovering what is naturally there, not creating anything new from the standpoint of composition. Of course, there can be variations. You can add intervals to a basic triad, producing a different chord, or use passing chords from one point to the next…but now we’re drifting into the realm of arranging. As far as arranging goes, people write new and different arrangements for existing songs all the time; and even though the instrumentation, harmonic structure, etc. may differ from other arrangements and from some original version of the song, it’s still the same song. An arranger cannot claim co-authorship of the song itself simply based on having written an arrangement, even if it’s the first full arrangement ever done for a new song.

    On the other hand, certain aspects of instrumentation and arrangement might, in some circumstances, be considered to be part of the base composition. One case in point is the recent legal battle over the old Procul Harum song, “A Whiter Shade of Pale???. The original organist for the band sued the credited authors and the publisher, claiming that he was a co-author and had been deprived of his rights. The claim was based on the fact that he was the one who came up with the distinctive organ solo that is such a memorable part of the song as originally recorded. The defendants countered that his contribution was simply one aspect of the arrangement, and should not be considered part of the basic song. In a ruling that surprised a lot of people, the judge declared in favor of the organist, stating the opinion that the organ solo was indeed an integral part of the composition, for copyright and royalty purposes. Does this establish a precedent that will allow any musician to successfully claim co-authorship if they add something to a song in the studio or in performance? Probably, and hopefully, not; but it is something to keep in mind.

    Regarding your particular situation, Jeanie…well, it depends. Per U.S. copyright law, once you compose a song and fix it in some tangible form (write out the music and lyrics, or make a sound recording), a copyright is considered to exist, and you, as the author, are the copyright owner. (The act of registering the copyright with the Copyright Office does not create the copyright, but it is recommended as the best way to ensure legal protection.) From what you said, it sounds like you did make a recording of yourself singing the song, prior to working with your musicians. If so, then you have a copyright. After that, if all that these musicians did was to work out the chords to provide accompaniment for your American Idol demo, then they probably would not have any legitimate claim to co-authorship. (They might claim you owe them something in return for their services as arrangers and performers, but that’s not the same as being co-owners of the copyright.) On the other hand, if they did add something distinctive to the work that could be construed to be an integral part of the composition, or if during the course of arranging the song they, with your concurrence, made any significant changes to your melody or lyrics, then it’s possible that they could have a legitimate claim to co-authorship. It’s difficult to venture an opinion without hearing your original composition, and comparing it to how it was presented in your AI demo. Since this is such a legal grey area, a qualified entertainment lawyer would be the best person to make such a call. (And even that might not be a definitive opinion. I’m sure the defendants in the Procul Harum case had legal counsel who assured them they were in the right.)

    I would recommend a few things to you, Jeanie, for the future. 1) Learn enough about music so that you can write out the music and work out the chords for your songs yourself. 2) If not, then engage someone to do this work for you, or collaborate with a co-author who is a trained musician. 3) Otherwise, register your copyright as soon as a song is completed. (You should do this anyway.) They will accept a sound recording, even if it’s just you singing, in lieu of musical notation, with accompanying lyric sheet. 4) Be careful who you work with, and, as Jeffery suggested, make sure you have appropriate legal agreements in place with any collaborators, arrangers, studio musicians, etc. 5) Keep in mind that the comments you find on a discussion website like this, though they can be very helpful, are anonymous postings from people whose professional background, experience and credentials are unknown to you (including me). So…6) Learn as much as you can about the business of music and the legal aspects. The book Jeffery mentioned by Don Passman is an excellent source. And…7) Always consult with an attorney and/or other qualified professionals when it comes to the trickier and more critical aspects of your career. Best of luck!


  12. I was wondering how do I listen to some of the songs people have entered?

  13. Trish & Ben Ireland Avatar
    Trish & Ben Ireland

    Somebody asked if the Top 20 won’t know who the winners are until they post them. I’m pretty sure they will know ahead of time because the registration form asked for your phone number and said, “This is in case we need to contact you if you made the Top 20.” I’d say it sounds like a sure think that they’ll contact you but then again, so much else of what the website said didn’t really happen either…

  14. I gotta a believe they will contact the top 20 at least a week before voting. They will probably need to deal with some contractual stuff plus the will probably do some due diligence to make sure none of the songs/writers are encumbered.

  15. Ironmanbob Avatar

    Here is a poor mans copywrite. Take your recording with your lyrics and put them into a padded manila envelope or a box and seal it with paper tape. Take it to your local post office and have them date stamp over the seamed edge of the tape and then mail it certified mail back to yourself. Use paper tape so they can tell if it has ever been opened. I don’t know how legal this is but it’s sure proof of when you wrote it.

  16. I would be very surprised if they haven’t already contacted some if not all of their first choices for the Top20. I don’t know for sure. But, when you’re running a first class organization like 19Entertainment and you need to get masters and have contracts signed and returned, you don’t want to wait until the last minute. I could be very wrong and they are sitll having a hard time picking only 20. Which is really good news for all concerned.

  17. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    To Bob, in response to #11…

    Wow, I had never heard about the Procul Harum situation, but then again I don’t know anything about them other than the fact that they are a band LOL…But I agree with the judge 100% only if there was no “musician for hire” agreement between the main writers/producers and the organist. I am betting that they did not have that organist sign one of those, and of course if he came up with a dope solo in the middle of the song, that makes it even more in the organist’s favor. I will bet Procul Harum won’t make that mistake again. And neither will the organist.

    But I agree with you, none of us are professional legal council by any means, but it sure don’t hurt to be aware of the pitfalls before hand.

    And as far as melody and chords, yeah, melody definitely implies chords 100%. But the copyright of a sung vocal melody has to be proved within reasonable doubt, and if someone intends to have music put to their melody, then they have to show that they never intended to have music on the track, and they have to make sure the person who put music on the track understood that without a doubt, and there was some agreement (verbal or paper) stating such intent like “musician for hire”. Basically, it all has to be talked about and discussed up front and agreed upon. Otherwise, you are open to being sued by your friendly neighborhood entertainment lawyer. And it looks good from a legal standpoint if you look like you have good intent and have taken all reasonable legal measures and that you are not out to prevent someone from their rights in the process. Of course, even if you have every legal right to your track, anyone who worked on it can for any stupid reason try to sue you for rights to money garnered from the receipts, but you can minimize those chances as long as you take care of business up front.

    I am pretty lucky because my friend Matt and I work together on everything we do, so it is 50/50 with us. Our intent is to work together, not be solo artists. But if we wanted to work on solo material, we would have to make it perfectly clear that is what we want to do, otherwise, legally, anything we write could be intended for our collaborations in the hands of an adept lawyer.

    We just gotta take care of business and our interests and show professionalism as best we can. I was in shock when I read the D Passman book way back in 1994, but I am glad that I have that info in the back of my mind and feel more comfortable working with anyone now.

  18. I would be very surprised if they haven’t already contacted some if not all of their first choices for the Top20. I don’t know for sure. But, when you’re running a first class organization like 19Entertainment and you need to get masters and have contracts signed and returned, you don’t want to wait until the last minute. I could be very wrong and they are sitll having a hard time picking only 20. Which is really good news for all concerned.

  19. I have a list of quite a few (at least 50) of the contest entries I’ve been able to find via different search methods. If you go to my blog (linked above) and scroll down a couple posts, the list is called “American Idol Songwriting Contest Entries” or something cryptic like that. If you have a song you’d like added to the list, please leave a message in the comments!

  20. I’m so upset that they won’t be re-recording the song. I’m a total beginner to song-writing contests. The website went on and on about how they are not judging your singing, they are judging your song. Fine, I’m sure professionals will be able to get past my pitchy vocals, but not joe public. I write songs that are not necessarily intended for my voice – songs for men, for sopranos, for gospel singers, etc..

    As if this matters, by my calculations if they are getting songs at the rate of 500 in 9 hours, there must be at least 10,000 entries. But a girl can dream!

  21. Wow, I didn’t realize that they were looking for polished recordings. We have good lyrics and melody, I hope they’re not lost amongst some of the stronger, more polished recordings. I ended up doing the vocal and I’m a writer not a singer. Anyway, we had a blast and I look forward to seeing the top 20. Good luck to all.

  22. I wanted to say to you guys that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I felt that I should say something since all of you have taken the time to make this competition a little easier for me. I too submitted 2 songs. One I did alone and the other I co-wrote with my singer (who she also submitted 2 of her own songs). Both songs were written to spec. and came out very well. I would post them, but legally I’m afraid of what could happen if by some chance I made the top 20. I’m a composer and have quite a few published titles, but none are “pop” titles. It felt really good to write a “pop” piece since I hadn’t done that in over 10 years. The reason I had stopped writing pop music was because they seemed to only end up in a drawer with no outlet. However, with choral (or serious/”classical”) music you can easily submit pieces to publishers since they mostly accept unsolicited material. SO, I got the choral pieces off the ground and stuck with it.

    Luckily, this awesome competition has offered a possible “real” listen to a popular piece –too cool! I read about the possible 30 second rule and I tend to agree. I feel that if the reviewers make it to the end of your piece, your are probably in the top 20 -OR- a least moved to the “possible” top 20 pile.

    I kept my recording simple … only piano and vocals. I didn’t use and overly complex harmonic structure as I didn’t wanna take away from the melody and message. However, I left room for the AI folks to work their “idol magic”. I opened up with a strong line of the first verse: “Looking back on my life I see my dreams, staring at me. Like an old friend giving me strength to carry on and find my wings.”

    The title of that song is: NOW I CAN FLY

    The second song is titled: I WANT TO BE YOUR LOVE
    that one starts as: “The day has come to show you, how hard the rode has been. For son long I have wanted this, I hope this dream never ends.”

    Once again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and expertise. I found this site while googling to find out more information about the contest.

    Good luck to all!

  23. With all the discussion about giving AI a song that both the top two contenders could sing, I have to admit that I threw all caution to the wind…I wrote one song for Melinda (conceiveably only Lakisha or Phil could also sing it credibly because it’s about life getting in the way of what you were put here to do, and finally realizing that), and I wrote the other song for Jordin. She’s the ONLY one who could sing the song because it’s young and upbeat and only she has the vocal range to sing it. I KNOW what they asked for, but time and time again, the show proves during “theme” nights that not every singer can sing every song, no matter what the “arrangement”. I also took the chance that Melinda and Jordin would be the last two standing, and that their large fan bases would be proportionately represented in the songwriting votes. I’m sure that anybody at AI who listens to my song submissions is going to know who fits them. If that alone makes them get the ax, so be it. Crazy? Yes. Fun? You bet!

  24. When considering songwriting: The more one is concerned about copyrights, the less trouble they should find protecting them.

  25. Dear Fellow Writers,

    I have listened to a couple of your IDOL submissions. I was particularly fond of “The Finest Hour”…great voice too.

    Help me. I realize this is a shot inthe dark that they’d even read or respond to the this desperate e-mail, but, does anyone have the e-mail to 19 entertainment, the one they had listed, but, is no longer on there?

    Please pass it along if you can. Check out my two entries, if you’d like at, my space.com/stephanierenaejohnson

    God’ll Get Back Our Souls
    Gonna Remember You

    Best Wishes to all of us dreamers AND doers!

  26. Anne-Marie Avatar

    I have enjoyed these threads as well. I, too, had the Safari problem, which I circumvented by using my brother’s PC to enter. Then I was thrown for a loop when I received my receipt and noticed there was a space for a billing address for my CC, but I hadn’t entered one, nor did I recall having been asked for it. My mind was eventually put to rest when I looked online at my CC statement and saw that 19 Entertainment had indeed taken the $10. Did anyone else have this same worry?

    I wonder if they will use Autotune on our entries if they make it to the Top 20. That would be nice…

  27. BonJoeV Avatar


    I have heard back from 19 Entertainment regarding the posting of submitted songs on the web. (No – it wasn’t to contact me that I was in the Top 20!!)

    There are no issues with any songwriter posting submitted songs on websites, myspace accounts, etc. This will NOT eliminate a songwriter from the competition.

    Thought I’d share that with this group since I voiced this as a concern a couple of days ago.

    Joe V.

  28. Here’s my entry. It’s the 2nd song on this page called “Blooming”:


    My wife Teresa sings it.

    Great song Tatrix. Best of luck!

    Btw, Anne-Marie, I doubt they’ll do anything to the sound files they receive it. Plus, unfortunately, it’s impossible to use autotune on a vocal that’s already been mixed into the track.

    Dave Smith – http://www.iconmusicstudio.com

  29. Hey guys, it sounds like we have a lot of excited songwriters out there waiting like crazy for May 2. I dont agree with the comment that 19E would have already contacted the proposed top 20. We might not know at all until they are posted on 5/2. They might notify them by email the day before. As far as contracts to sign and all that, there shouldnt be any, only for the winner. When you submitted your song, you gave them all the permission they need to use it on their site. I think only the winner will be signing something. Good luck to all.

  30. David V Avatar

    Bob Z,
    The contest ended Wed. morning and AI probably has about 20 thousand songs to go through. Given the last minute, low priority feel of this whole songwriter contest, I don’t think they will have picked have their final 20 until about next Wed. That will still give them 1 whole week to get everyone’s master file, which they warned everyone to have “immediately”available if contacted. As far as contracts, I think you are already locked in tight, as far as their rights to your song , by that little Agree to Terms block you clicked off when you entered this contest and they don’t need to do any negotiating with anyone.

  31. Here is a link to a myspace account I just created this morning (or click on my name above):


    I have a simple $150 4-track digital recorder, a couple of mics and a Roland XV-88 keyboard — that’s all I used for the demos that are on the site.

  32. The title of my song is “I gave it my all” and if the A&R person gets to the chorus I am positive they will listen to the whole song. My only fears are that the quality of the demo is really bad: voice and piano over a computer mic, and also that the chorus begins 39 seconds into the song and given what people here have said about the 30 second rule… I also worry that the melody of the verse may not be strong enough to keep him/her there that long.

    I would post the song but the I bombed in the performance of the demo that I submitted. Pitch problems and lyric screw ups. Also the production values of the demo as such that I would not want to put that online just yet. I am going to re-record it with a better vocal performance and if I am satisfied I will post the song. I am also scheduled to record a professional demo in a couple weeks… after that is done I will post both. In the mean time, in lieu of the song itself I have described the song is as much detail as I can.

    The song clocks in about 3 mins 10 seconds. The structure of the song is:
    Piano Solo Intro: 0:00

    Verse 1a: 0:06
    Verse 1b: 0:17 (identical to 1a different lyrics)
    Pre-chorus: 0:28
    Chorus: 0:39

    Verse 2a: 1:11
    Verse 2b: 1:22
    Pre-chorus: 1:33
    Chorus: 1:44

    Bridge: 2:08

    Chorus: 2:30

    Coda: 2:54

    End: 3:10

    Either Melinda or Jordin is going to win so I wrote this song with either of them in mind, but I think Melinda would really nail this song. There’s a line in there for her… “That your place is in the shadows”. But Jordin would hit a home run too.

    It is a traditional Power Ballad a la Whitney Houston but I try tell a story too which makes the verses, I worry, a little wordy.

    Verse 1a talks, albeit more poetically than I do here, about why they entered the contest — the dream to be a star.

    Verse 1b acknowledges that she is not alone in this dream — millions of other people also have that same dream.

    Prechorus is the standard “believe in yourself and you’ll succeed??? sentiment.

    The chorus talks about how she gave it her all and that giving it your all changes you and that’s how she was able to make it.

    Verse 2a she talks to the listener about how life writ large is just like the journey she has just been on.

    Verse 2b continues the idea of 2a by noting that people will always tell you that you can’t do this and you can’t do that and this is where the line “Your place is in the shadows” comes.

    Pre chorus is again “I believe in myself and if you fall get back up??? sentiment.

    Chorus is the same as above — I gave it my all, it changed me and I made it.

    Bridge is a summery of the whole song.

    Chorus is the same — I gave it my all, it changed me and I made it

    Coda is I gave it my aaaaaaaalll!

    I think it is a great song and I am definitely going to drop the $ to make a professional demo of it. The Chorus is very catchy and I know this because my girlfriend who doesn’t know a thing about music but listens to the top 40 radio stuff was humming it days after. So here’s hoping the A&R person gets that far into the song. Good Luck to all!

  33. What does it mean to give them the master file immediately? I thought I sent it to them the day I entered??

  34. DavidLJ Avatar

    Just another writer chiming in that no one I know has heard anything yet. I’m a little peaved that they were unclear about whether you could enter more than one song! Oh well. Good luck to everyone.

  35. I think they will have to notify the top 20 around next wednesday april 25 becasue all top 20 will have to sing a different agreement than we all did. And if someone refuses to sign it they will have to offer other people. So I suppose it would be fair to have a day to consider the offer. So that means they have until friday to make substitute offers and acceptances. Then the weekend to “clean” the entries etc and ready for Tuesday voting.

  36. Waiting is the hardest part I guess. But it’s been good just to read everybody’s comments. And the songs sound great. I wish everyone good luck. I don’t think that there were many more than 10,000 songs submitted. Each A&R person on the team was probably assigned so many and then they would bring their picks back to the team where they would make that final decision. I agree that this Wed. would be the date that they want to have everyone in the top 20 notified. And all Top 20 finalist will sign a publishing contract and recieve an advance against Royalties. It would be nice if they would send the rest of us an Email that the top 20 have been chosen.
    I submitted two songs. But the first one would probably have the better chance. I wish that I could have had a female singer on the first one. It is probably the only song that I have written that I can’t sing convincingly. Still I’m confident about that one. Good Luck to You all!



  37. Johnny Fkiaras Avatar
    Johnny Fkiaras

    Heard many submissions, great work guys! Me and my girlfriend Anna wrote something that we think fit the theme of the show, we only sent this one in because they were so unclear about how many can be sent in, oh well. For anyone who would like to hear our submission go to annafleshler.com………….click live then click demo, her site is great as Anna also has samples of her art as she is also a painter. All feedback is welcome you can reach me at psilos25@aol.com or reach Anna at her website. Goodluck everyone, ciao

  38. Mark L. Avatar

    You have to tip your hat to 19Entertainment. It’s conceivable that they have found themselves with a couple of hundred original unencumbered tunes that they like a lot.

    Considering how many artists they have with their company and (perhaps) a constant need for new material….they may just find themselves in a great position today. All for the cost of working their poor A&R ppl to the bone. Other record companies may sit up and take notice and review their policies with regards to unknown material….but it may be too late for them….because everyone has already sent their great stuff to 19Entertainment.

    Again….best of luck to all.

  39. Johnny Fkiaras Avatar
    Johnny Fkiaras

    Ah one more thing, may favorite art piece that Anna has can be found at annafleshler.com then by clicking blog at the bottom of the page, a personal favorite!

  40. Ironmanbob:

    The “poor man’s” copyright you describe (#15) is something of a musical urban legend that’s been around for many years. It is not recognized in U.S. Copyright Law as proof of copyright ownership, at least not on its own. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is the only evidence that is accepted in a court of law “prima facie” – legalese for “if you’ve got this and no one can contradict it or prove it false, then its the only evidence you need”. Does that mean that if you have not officially registered your copyright then someone can steal your work and there’s nothing you can do about it? No, but it does mean that you’re going to have to work harder to prove your case. Something like this “poor man’s” copyright might be accepted as one piece of evidence, but you will probably have to corroborate it with other evidence.


  41. David V.,

    In your post to Bob Z., you talked about AI having “rights” to the submitted songs. This seems to be worrying a lot of people. Maybe some of you can CHIME IN PLEASE, but I don’t think they are talking about copyrights (meaning song ownership?)…I think they want just publishing rights. If you are the writer of the music and lyrics, you are the sole copyright owner of the song and unless you sell or assign that copyright to someone else, it’s yours forever. I do not believe that any of us “signed over” our ownership of our songs in this contest. That would have to be a significant legal transaction not open to interpretation by either party. I don’t have the “contract” printed out (too late now), but I thought the top 20 were the only ones to “sign away” (for lack of a better term) only the PUBLISHING rights for their songs for a period of 10 years. That would give AI the right to record and distribute those songs in any way they see fit for the next ten years (or NOT do anything with them, but they would have the first right of refusal if a top 20 writer went to them and said they had someone else who wanted to publish their song). If this is the case, to me, that’s not a problem because AI is a virtual “hit-making” machine and if they want to keep your song around to be used at the right time for the right person, that’s OK with me. Who better to babysit it? And remember, that is just for the top 20. The other songs will only be kept in storage with no binding contracts. If those songs find a publisher, AI is not going to stop them. I remember on the CMA awards last year, Brooks and Dunn won song of the year and they brought up on stage with them a minister (I recall) who had co-written the song with them. I am sure that guy is “sittin’ pretty” right now with songwriting income royalties from album/single sales and BMI/ASCAP.

  42. I’ve listened to a lot of the entries posted here and on Lydia’s blog. My thoughts:

    There are some real standouts musically. Impressive melody’s and production on many songs. That being said . . .

    I have yet to come across any standout lyrics. To be honest, I am finding most of the lyrics to absolutely cringeworthy. I don’t mean to offend anyone, and I won’t call out any in particular, but it seems as if almost every song is an ultra-generic take on dreams coming true, you believed in me, i’ve made it this far because i didn’t give up, this is the night, etc.

    Now I realize that previous Idol songs (Do I Make You Proud in particular) have been an ultra-generic cheesefest, so maybe this is exactly what they are looking for. But as a rabid consumer of popular music, this is not what I want to listen to. I am really hoping that at least some of the Top 20 ends up being songs that address the dreams/emotional journey theme in a more subtle or tangential manner. Am I the only one who feels this way?

    Regardless of my opinions, congratulations to everyone who put in the effort to make an entry. Everyone should be proud of what they accomplished.

  43. Hey guys! This is so exciting. 🙂 Very excited for all of us.

    I entered a few songs but the one I’m most excited about is one my dad wrote called “My Life Is Mine” which my family band performed (The Veltz Family [.com]). Take a listen! This youtube link is to a video my brother and I made a long time ago featuring sports moments in history set to the song.


    Enjoyed listening to all your songs as well. I’ll be back to check in for more!

    -Laura of The Veltz Family

  44. Just thought I would post this (hoping for some kind of feedback, positive or otherwise).


  45. This forum is a nice way to keep busy while awaiting the results of our entries. Thanks to all who have posted songs and lists so we can all see what has been submitted to the AI contest. I must have listened to 50 or more songs but is nothing compared to the thousands I’m sure they received. It is my own personal opinion as a music listener that “dreams” “I believe” “proud” and many other obvious lyrics in these songs should have been kept out. These are overused and boring. What makes a good song is to keep the listener interested. You can make your point without stating the obvious! In almost all the songs I’ve heard for this contest there was always the most important part missing… THE HOOK….
    Not one song came out and grabbed me, some had the right beginnings but left me waiting for the climax of the song that never came. I don’t mean to be cold or rude to anyone, that is not the intention of my post. However, for $30 or so you can buy a songwriters book that may help many of you unlock or break through these pitfalls. All of the songs I heard have Smash Hit potential but they need reworking. Never settle for your first draft. Look at it under a microscope. If it was easy everyone would do it!

  46. I tried posting this earlier and I forgot to capitalize the title of the song. Oh well. I’m just looking for comments…


  47. Steve,

    I couldn’t agree more. The use of cliche material in many of the AI songwriter submissions I have heard is beyond me. While I stand by this, I also agree that writing music is most often a positive and therapeutic creative outlet for individuals, and can prove to be an excellent bonding experience for a band or group. Some of the music may not be impressive to everyone, but what counts is that it is impressive to the people who write it. I personally write music for myself, and if other people happen to like it, that makes it that much better. I write always from personal experience, not like a fictional movie for the purposes of entertainment created in a writer’s mind from scratch. That way I know two things if people are listening to my music. One, they like the way it sounds. Two, they are interested in the way I talk about my life. I often feel that people that get caught up in writing cliches throughout a piece of music do not sound as if they were written through personal experience, and therefore a lack of connection is heard/seen by the audience between the performer and the very song they wrote. Imagery is fantastic, but when it is overplayed or becomes unrealistic and too figurative, the song becomes a jumble. Subtleties should be able to speak for themselves, and the phrases in the songs should help paint the pictures without the use of actual words describing such events as common occurrences. This, in my humble opinion, is when the songs begin to become “cringeworthy” as you put it. I don’t claim to be the best songwriter, but like I said, I write music for me, to help me through events in my own life, and so far some people seem to enjoy it. Isn’t that the most anyone can really ask for? Winning this competition is more of a dream than a reality, statistically speaking, for all of us, so we should all just be proud we did our best.

  48. Steve,

    I think you’re right. Some of the melodies are really memorable (good work guys and gals), but for the most part, the lyrics are superficial. If a writer can find a way to say, for instance, “the road was tough” without actually saying “the road was tough”, it’s amazing how much depth and interest and meaning can be communicated. The former “cheese” is NOT what this contest what about, IMO, because the rules gave much emphasis to lyric writing. They even had a tutorial on lyric writing at the Songwriter site! Am I willing to put my money where my mouth is, you ask? Well, I’d love feedback on my songs just like anyone else, but copyright stuff and the fact that I won’t open a #@Space account (’cause I won’t allow my kids to) keeps my songs a secret for now.

  49. Hi everyone –

    Great blog (just found it) and great work, everyone. I do wonder if in fact the lyrics will be the first thing looked at and THEN the music if the lyrics measure up. That way, the screeners don’t have to listen to each mp3 and they can weed through songs quickly to see if the lyric is on the mark?

  50. I am afraid that everyone seems to be taking all of this too seriously. I mean, just like everyone else, I would love to be in the top 20 and have my song chosen, etc. but also you have to look at the AI venue and realize that it is mostly a POP venue, where lyrics like “the road was tough” is what people want to hear on the radio. They want to feel like someone understands their hardships too. And some of the more heavy-handed lyrics are so specific or “lyrical” that they don’t play, practically, to the general audience.
    Who knows, though.
    I put my song on a myspace account and would, of course, love any/all feedback.
    It’s called SHINE.


  51. Trish & Ben Ireland Avatar
    Trish & Ben Ireland

    I have a feeling some people didn’t read the T&A very carefully. A few things it says answers many of the concerns I’m reading on this site. It states:

    2. By entering the Competition you grant to 19 Entertainment the following irrevocable rights throughout the World:
    1. the right to copy and store the Song, the Recording and the Lyric Sheet in any and all media;
    2. the right to copy and reproduce the Song, the Recording and the Lyric Sheet in any and all media for the purposes of the Competition (as defined below);
    3. the right to publicly perform the Song and the Recording in any and all media for the purposes of the Competition;
    4. the right to record and authorise others to record the Song for the purposes of the Competition;
    5. the right to synchronise the Song and the Recording with visual images for the purposes of the Competition;
    6. the right to use your name, likeness and biographical information and those of each Co-Writer for the purposes of the Competition; and
    7. the right to authorise others to do any or all of the above.

    So basically they can do whatever they want with your song for the COMPETITION just because you entered. Even if they want to make a gag reel out of the poor songs for the show, you have given them that right by entering. It also says:

    5. If the Song is selected by 19 Entertainment as one of the Top 20 Songs, you (and all Co-Writers) will be required to enter into a further agreement with 19 Entertainment (“the Publishing Agreement???) as a condition of you continuing in the Competition.

    Now to me, that sounds like you have to fill out some paperwork if you make the TOP 20. Not to mention that it also says:

    6. If the Song is not selected by 19 Entertainment as one of the Top 20 Songs the Song will be held in reserve should the Writer of any of the Top 20 Songs fail to enter into the Publishing Agreement.

    That right there says, if someone says no to the paperwork then they will pick someone else for the TOP 20. If they follow their Terms and Conditions, they are definitely going to contact the Top 20 beforehand. They can’t post them for voting, have someone win, and then the person say, “Um no, I won’t sign that.”

    Wow, all that jumbo I learned in High School English about using references was really worth something.

  52. Steve, I agree. I thought I might be the only one thinking that. Maybe the A&R guys have some kind of lyrics filter they apply to filter out the cliche-laden songs before they have to spend time listening to them. You know, if the filter finds excessive use of the word “dream” combined with the word “believe,” “all my life” and “in your eyes” it filters out the song. Hehehe. Just kidding, I’m enjoying everyone’s songs, including the ones about believing in your dreams no matter what. 😀

  53. Hey all,

    I really enjoyed “Without You” by Planet Sunday!
    On another note, I want to make a comment on the whole raw song spirit of this contest. I agree that this would be ideal for the many reasons mentioned above by others.

    HOWEVER, here me out, my fellow writers! Just because someone submits a “produced” song, does not mean that they have deep pockets NOR does it mean they are a production genious savvy with multiple instruments.

    I say this because this is NOT THE CASE for me, and I venture to say that I am not alone. In fact, please be aware of the circumstances/history behind these submissions, and other submissions that are “more produced”, and know that we are all entering a contest such as this because our songwriting dream has yet to come true! So, please give those of us that DID NOT submit a raw song a little love!

    If I had financial resources, computer where-with-all and played an instrument, I would have easily entered a recently written song inspired by the Melinda DooLittles of the world. In fact, I have 4 or five songs in bits and pieces on paper around the house. However, given the above mentioned limitations, I was not able to bring them to life at the current time. Believe me, I contemplated singing them acapella, but could not figure how the heck to do this with my computer. Again, I tried.

    So, I hope you understand the need to stand up for us submitters that may appear to be “selling out” by submitting a fully produced song!
    In many cases, like mine, we simply had no other choice than to submit a song that was already in our repertoire that, in our hearts, appeared to fit this opportunity.

    Besides, a good song is a good song! These reps have the ability and experience to see through a “produced” song OR a minimally presented raw demo, to uncover hit potential! And, let’s give the public a little credit, they have a bit more insight than we may think!

    So, for the first time around, given the nature of this novel contest, and rather “time-crunched” parameters, I encourage all of us to be open minded.

    Once again, like I said up front, I am not arguing that, in the spirit of the contest and for America to see “the process”, that next year a guideline should be set in place that advocates a raw demo vibe. I get this.

    However, for today, I would like to feel that we are all in the same boat, excited for the awesome opportunity to be part of something like this. After all, isn’t this what all of us songwriters have been secretly wondering about and hoping for? A chance to make the public aware of this “behind the scenes” often unappreciated, misunderstood element of the making of an Artist-A GREAT SONG.

    THANKS for letting me share my perspective.

    My Best To Each and Everyone of us!

  54. Q:Who would be best at singing your contest entry song?
    The Males:
    Blake Lewis
    Chris Richardson
    Phil Stacey

    The Females:
    Jordin Sparks
    LaKisha Jones
    Melinda Doolittle

    One of these six will sing the winning song.
    I have a feeling the winner will be one of the females.
    I think Simon’s crew has the same feeling.

    I don’t think we’ll be hearing any country songs in the top 20 either.

    Honestly I don’t think it would be that hard to sort through 20,000 songs for this thing.

    Right off the bat you scrap the country, alternative, heavy and hard rock stuff. I really really doubt you will hear anything that was produced rough with only a guitar and vocals or the like unless it was absolutely a killer of a song so scrap all those to. Scrap all the I have a dream and I’m proud stuff. Now there should only be a pile of a few hundred songs or so.
    The title of each song is one of if not THE most important components so let’s scrap anything that isn’t interesting like “I’m in love”, “I love you” etc.
    Is the title original? (did you google your title to see how many songs came up with the same title?) Origanlality is more important than ever, we don’t want someone accidentaly buying someones elses song thinking it was yours.
    If the title isn’t in the Chorus of the song, scrap it.
    OK, now we have a couple hundred! Does the song follow 1 of the following 4 successful song structures?

    1-Verse Chorus Verse Chorus
    2-Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus
    3-Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Verse Chorus
    4-Verse Verse Bridge Verse

    Scrap those songs that don’t have one of the above.

    Is the intro to the song more than 8 bars? Scrap it if more than 8.

    Does each Chorus have the same melody and lyrics?
    If not scrap it.

    Are we down to a hundred songs yet?

    You think I’m crazy?

    This is exactly what’s going on this very moment, and that was just a drop in the bucket of things to look and listen for.

    There are always plenty of contests and ways to get your songs heard so please don’t take it personal if your song is not in the top 20. Take what you’ve learned and your next song will be so much better.

    For those who say “taking it too seriously” well, do it right or don’t do it at all. Be a perfectionist or at least try to be, nothing is perfect. Do you know how many songs even a professional songwriter writes before he/she gets one that is chart worthy? A LOT! Practice makes …..well’ perfect!

  55. Johnny Fkiaras Avatar
    Johnny Fkiaras

    I love hearing everyones submissions, especially love the Veltz family, seen them a couple of times play, awesome http://www.ann, if anyone would liek to hear our submission check it out at afleshler.com/LiVE_.html

  56. Wow – I finally found people who are willing to come out and say “I didn’t like other peoples’ submissions”! Thank goodness; I thought I was the only one.

    Not that I’m cocky or confident that my own submission was so great. It’s “ear candy” too. It has to be ear candy or the general public won’t vote for it even if it does make the Top 20. This is a business, folks, and the business of selling music to America involves creating songs America will buy.

    For me, I’m just happy that my co-writer and I wrote the song about 15 years ago while in college (as opposed to writing it specifically for AI). She wrote the words for her mother’s 50th birthday and asked me to write some music for it. So the lyrics do not revolve around “journies” and “I’m a star” and “proud” and all the other things that were purported here to be “cheesy”.

    Who knows? Maybe the fact that our song was not written for Idol will differentiate it enough to make the Top 20… then again, if it does I rather wonder if America would want to “buy” it over the “cheesy” – yet applicable to Idol – lyrics.

    So now you can give me your opinion if you like. Here’s the Chorus to “Here For You”:





  57. Molly – I agree with you. This is like playing the lottery and the fun part of this opportunity is the “what if” scenarios that constantly go through a songwriters mind. This is not unlike the AI contestents each year that crowd the country’s arena’s every fall audition for the next season). We’re all in one of those “virtual” stadiums right now, folks waiting to hear the words “you’re going to Hollywood!”.

    My opinion is that a songwriter that can capture that theme AI is looking for, have a fresh sound with a “hook”, and still have a song with commercial appeal will be the one’s making the Top 20. There are many songs here with “cliche” lyrics (mine included). While I don’t think that’s to the point of being “cringeworthy” to the general public, I do think AI will choose songs where the writers are able to go beyond that yet capture the above.

    Laura of the Valdez family: I really liked “My Life Is Mine”. You may very well be in that niche I describe above (but that’s my opinion and everybody has one of those!). The only thing I didn’t like about the song was the part of the video where the Penguins scored on my Philadelphia Flyers. :-0

  58. Molly-

    I hear you, but I don’t think any of us who have talked about writing a good lyric are advocating heavy-handed, Shakespearian, high-brow garble-degook. What a bore. I agree…

    But if we are all looking to improve our craft (I know I am), then we have to take seriously what seriously successful songwriters are telling us. I believe you can even find somewhere on Joe Taylor’s site here an article about lyric writing that says a great song will take the listener someplace and let them experience it for themselves. What’s more interesting…”fifty miles of whiskey shots to numb the pain” or “the road was tough”? Again, it’s not Shakespeare. To address your point about people wanting someone to understand their hardships (or their joys or whatever), a lyric that cuts TO core, not one that cuts OUT the core, is what people want. At least, that’s what I want and that’s how I write. I have a fondness for this discussion board because people have been willing to respectfully challenge some ideas of what good songwriting is… Over at the AI discussion, everyone believes that everyone’s song should win. That’s because they all sound the same and say the same things in the same ways. I don’t think that helps anyone improve their craft. You might as well just spin the wheel and see which song it lands on because it just doesn’t matter.

  59. Pete man, you must have stayed up all night to write that one…lol

  60. Ok …enough of me commenting on everyone’s songs.

    It’s only fair I supply you with a link to my entries.

    They aren’t that great either, there are many mistakes I described in my previous post. This is how we learn, admit the mistakes and fix them. So rip my songs apart… tell the honest truth. It’s the only way we as songwriters can tell how we are doing. Don’t ask your friends and family if they like your song. Of course they will be polite….


    Thanks for listening!

  61. david v Avatar

    Trish and/or Ben Ireland,
    I didn’t say there would not be any further paperwork to sign. I said there would be no further negotiations. I am sure Simon Fuller and his staff will give me about 45 seconds to decide if I want to accept his terms or hit the road. He has about 10,00 songwriter eager to take my place in line.
    With all due respect, I think writing a great and commercially viable song is not the sausage-making process you describe. Just my opinion. For this competition, I put my chorus (because it has the strongest melodic hook and best lyrics) first, with no intro at all. Why? Because THAT, and not one of 4 song structures, is what they said they are looking for. I wanted to make it real easy for them to find what they are looking for.When in doubt, read the directions.

  62. I would like to point out that nothing I typed up in my last comment was intended to be taken as a direct attack on any music that anyone submitted here in this forum. I listened to many submissions in other forums that people had posted, and I stayed silent in those areas because I frankly had nothing nice to say. The reason I choose to post comments in this forum as opposed to any of the others is it appears the most reputable, as made so by the apparent capable intellect of you readers and musicians also posting comments on this site. My apologies for any misunderstanding if there were any.

  63. Trish Ireland Avatar
    Trish Ireland

    Dave V,

    I’m not sure why you think I said you said there would not be any more paper work. Lots of people had concerns whether 19Entertainment would contact them beforehand. Just putting in my 2 cents about what I thought the T&C had to say about it. Sorry if you felt attacked.

  64. Just to clarify,
    I didn’t mean to suggest that people shouldn’t take their own songwriting seriously, I meant this contest in particular. As has been stated, the bar is not very high (when you think of previous year’s selections) and though it would be nice to think that the producers are trying to change that, it’s more likely that they’re just trying to find another way to promote the show and the single.
    The “rules” for writing the lyrics suggested all of the things that people have mentioned in this thread as being cliched (taking a journey, making dreams come true). They said this is what they’re actually looking for.
    When I was writing my song, part of the fun was being able to use those types of senarios that are so engrained in us, and normally avoided in ‘serious’ songwriting at all costs.
    At the end of the day, I think most people are just looking for a hook they can really get into, something they can sing along with, and something that makes sense to them.
    I’ve spent a lot of time today listening to submissions from various people, and while many of them are quite good, so many have such a personal component to it that it’s hard to imagine an American Idol contestant singing them. It’s one thing when you’re writing songs for yourself, that convey a situation and time that you’ve been through. But when you’re writing for a singer who is (likely) younger and in a completely different place in their life (like being a finalist on AI, for one) they’re not going to have the same story to tell.
    The nature of this particular contest suggests that the more generic theme is going to be the most accessible and approachable.

    On a different note, I’m curious to know how people think they’re going to handle choosing the top 20. I have my theory, but I’d love to hear others.
    Personally, I think they are going to eliminate the majority based purely on the lyrics. It’s going to take too much time to listen to all of the songs, and reading the lyrics is the quickest way to know if a song is even worth listening to.
    This is where I’ve been debating – the listening stage. Part of me thinks that maybe they’ll only give each song 30 secs. in order to move through them all. However, everyone knows that the major hook usually comes in the chorus, so perhaps they’ll listen all the way through til then? I know, for my submission in particular, it all happens in the chorus. If they give it 30 secs. I can be sure I wasted $10.
    Any one else have different thoughts?


  65. Hi All, small correction to Johnny’s message above… the link to hear our idol song is http://www.annafleshler.com/LiVE_.html

    good job everyone! We are ALL playing our part in history.

  66. Alright – I wrote a song for the contest even though I know I have much better songs. I followed the directions about writing for the contest and found that my song sounded just like all the other ones submitted.
    Here’s a myspace page….

  67. I second that Eric!
    I’m not knocking anyone…more like trying to help all of us and pointing out general text book songwriting facts. Unfortunately it is a “sausage making process” when you are trying to get into the biz. Once you make a name for yourself you can overstep the boundries I mentioned earlier. A key note is that listening to all these songs has been awesome and entertaining and that’s what’s it’s all about!

  68. Eric/Tony:
    No offense taken from my end. Your observations are quite valid. Pop/Commerical music is inofitself a repeatable phenomenon (how many songs have been written in the I-IV-V progression over the past 40 years!?). Lyrical content falls into that same category (IMO). I still stand by my opinions on what I think AI will be looking for, but that’s anyone’s guess since we don’t have an example yet of a Top 20 candidate.

    If I had the answer for writing the perfect song with the perfect lyrical content, I wouldn’t be working in Corporate America . . :-). I’ve really enjoyed listening to multiple original material in various postings and links today — it amazes me the amount of untapped talent out here.

    BTW – someone posted a comment a day or two ago referencing a book on music writing. Would that person mind reposting? I must be missing it in the large stream of posts.


    Joe V.

  69. Enjoying all of the posts and listening to some of the entries. I’m having problems listening to some of the myspace postings though. Do you need to be a member in order to listen, because I can’t seem to get most of them to play (only those that offer the option to download)?

  70. Mark L. Avatar

    Hahaha…..group therapy…!! Thanks Joe T. for moderating the site….and again….19Entertainment for providing a couple of weeks of fun for everyone. All the Best.

  71. A very good book for songwriters is:

    “6 Steps to songwriting success” by David Blume

    If you are serious about songwriting cough up the $22 and get this book or one like, there are many.

    I wrote 11 songs more than 4 years ago and I wrote them without knowing anything except from what I learned by listening to and playing music my whole life. I was only 1/2 way through this book when I heard about AI’s contest and did’nt have time to put my new knowledge to work and rewrite my material.

    While reading a book like this you will realize you have been doing most of these things all along but now you will know why. You will also learn a lot of new skills.

    If I had read any books like this 10 years ago I can imagine how much better my songs would be today!

    Obviously reading a book does’nt make you a professional songwriter but if you incorporate these skills into your craft you will have an edge on those who are writing blind like I did before this read.

    We all agree that songwriting is an art and there isn’t any 1 set way to make music. However for those of us trying to break into the business you must give in and follow the rules. There are different rules for different types of music. Country music has different structure than Pop and Rap well, they forgot the C infront of that word. …lol Hoope this info helps some of you. Good Luck!

  72. Hi everyone!
    I would certainly love any comments you might have on my submission since I’m continually working on it, and any feedback would be invaluable.


  73. Mark L. Avatar

    ps….I think they will listen to at least 1 min. of every song submitted. 19Entertainment has tapped into part of a unique market because of the popularity of the American Idol TV show. At the price of working an A&R staff to the bone….they may find several diamonds in the rough. More than enough value to make their time listening well spent.
    I doubt they will eliminate any song for any reason without that ~1min listening. They(19Entertainment) will encounter a dilemma if they find some wonderful and maybe great ….but very rough songs….that they know are winners….but that if they don’t have them “tweaked” before the contest….have little chance with the public voting.

    There are many equitable solutions to this problem to the benefit of all concerned. And “problem” is the wrong word.

    They will have the Top20 category for sure and the contest will be decided at stated. But….they may be making many more subcategories within their organization…

    I could be very wrong….it’s happened before…ha.

  74. I believe the book BonJoeV is referring to in #65 is “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald S. Passman, who is one of the top entertainment lawyers in the business. The emphasis is more on the needs of performers than songwriters, but it does cover things of direct interest to a songwriter, such as copyrights and publishing.

    Per the terms and conditions of the AI song contest, anyone who is offered a spot in the final 20 will have to sign a publishing agreement with 19 Entertainment in order to continue. (It should be assumed that this contract will continue to be in force even if you aren’t the winner.) Given the time frame involved, you probably won’t have much time to review this contract and make your decision. You definitely should have it reviewed by a qualified lawyer, but it doesn’t hurt to know as much as you can yourself about legalities and contracts. Some things to consider…

    1) You will be signing over the copyright (or, specifically, the publlishing portion of it) to the publisher. They won’t “own” your song; you’re still the author and still have certain rights. But you will be granting them the exclusive right to grant licenses for use of the song and to collect monies. That’s not a small thing.

    2) There is no such thing as a “standard” contract when it comes to songwriter/publisher deals. There may be certain terms and conditions that are common or usual; but no entire contract is a legal or industry “standard”. So, if they tell you, “Oh, it’s just a standard contract; you don’t have to worry; go ahead and sign it”, don’t believe it. In fact, if someone does say that, then be scared…be very, very scared…and triplecheck everything ten times.

    3) Be certain that there is a reversion clause that returns ownership of the copyright to you after a reasonable period of time (the ten years referenced in their t’s and c’s is excessive) and/or under certain conditions (e.g. if after three years there has been no commercial recording by a major label). Publishers don’t like this sort of thing, but it is common, reasonable, and in your best interests.

    4) The t’c and c’s stated that in their contract the songwriter royalty share would be 75%. That’s very generous, by industry standards, particularly for a previously unknown writer. But the question is, 75% of what? They have not said what the royalty rate would be. The benchmark is usually 3/4 of the statutory rate (currently 9.1 cents). However, you need to be careful that there is no “sweetheart” deal between the publisher and the record label. If they happen to be part of the same corporate entity, or in collusion for other purposes, the publisher just might give the song away for a ridiculously low royalty rate, and you’ll end up with 75% of next-to-nothing. Be sure there is language in the contract to cover this, such as specification of a minimum royalty rate.

    There’s a lot more to consider, and to be careful about. What they are probably counting on is that the 20 finalists will be so enamored of this opportunity, and so desparate for a break, that they will be willing to sign almost anything, no questions asked. So be careful. Of course, it’s just one song. They’re not asking you to sign away your whole catalog or give them first right of refusal on every future song you write. (At least, I don’t think they are. That’s something else for you to check.) Maybe it’s worth it to you to take the chance. However, after one brief dazzling moment of fame, you could find yourself flipping burgers for the next ten years and wondering about what might have been. It’s happened before.


  75. A week ago when I was still having no success trying to upload my song, I sent an angry email to the 19 Entertainment email address that somebody in this forum gave us (thanks), in which I said something about how Seacrest said on the show that so far about 5,000 songs have been submitted and that I didn’t believe it because so many people are having problems with their inferior website (“your inferior website” was what I put in the Subject line of the email) and I asked what kind of scam are they running.
    Well, yesterday I finally got a reply and they told me that it wasn’t a website problem but a Hotmail problem (whatever, I only used Hotmail to send this email, not for their contest) and……………that they received OVER 25,000 SUBMISSIONS.


  76. You know, I think all of us are going to have wonderful fodder for “waiting” songs, by the time the results are known.

    I’ve been listening to my MP3 a lot, trying to cure msyelf of the “cringe” factor, and it’s helping a bit. I’m a little less mortified, now. In my case, I don’t even play an instrument–the accompaniment was provided by my 13-year-old on keyboard. He recorded it on a hand-held tape player, and not only did it come out distorted but it dropped a tone so it’s a little low for my voice.

    I have to keep reminding myself of the all-things-considered factor. As in: all things considered, I did my best. And then let it go. I’ll let people know if it works. So far, not so much.

    Good luck everybody, and thanks for keeping the chatter going, here. It helps a lot.

  77. BonJoeV:

    Hey! We’re neighbors…I live in Woodbury. I was so surprised when I went to your site. I LOVE your Go Twins song! I almost entered that contest. Peril…Cheryl….really fun! Have they announced a winner yet?

  78. Uuh……..okay, I guess I’ll try again with this posting. My last one apparantly didn’t make the “moderation” cut, whatever that means. It’s fun to sit here for twenty minutes and compose a message only for it to wind up on the ash heap of cyberspace limbodom. But I digress….
    To repeat, last week when I was still having no success uploading my song, I sent an angry email to the 19 Entertainment people (to the address given to us by someone on this forum, thanks dude), saying something like “……….Seacrest said the other night that there have been 5,000 submissions so far but I don’t believe it because I know many many people that are having major difficulties uploading their songs on your inferior website (“your inferior website” was what I put in the Subject line), what kind of scam are you guys running?” Okay, I should have taken a breath before sending that.
    Anyway, yesterday I finally got a reply.
    They told me that it was not a website glitch but a problem with Hotmail (whatever, I only used Hotmail for this email and not for the contest) and that ………OVER 25,000 SONGS WERE SUBMITTED


  79. Ann,

    Funny that you’re listening to your song often to reduce the “cringe” factor. That usually works — literally, the more often you listen to music with mistakes/issues, the more accustomed you become to hearing the problems and eventually you stop hearing them as problems; they sound “normal”.

    I’ve been cursed by this phenomenon. I’ve listened to some of my music in the past so often during mixing that I’ve forgotten the real “problems” and let them stay there. Fortunately, I have a select group of friends who will make me painfully aware of musical deficiencies with no hesitation.

    Yet — in the case of my Idol submission, I can hear the problems every single time I listen to it, and they don’t seem to be going away. Maybe that’s because it’s the first time I’m asking someone to listen to it critically (as opposed to “for entertainment”).

    So good luck with your cure technique. Hope it works for you.

  80. Oops, my bad. Patience, grasshopper.

  81. I wrote a song called “Carousels (Dreaming of Tomorrow)” a couple of months ago. It’s an upbeat pop/rock tune. I wrote it as a duet and had my friends sing it. We recorded it in my living room but then I had a pro EQ out the buzz noise. Turned out pretty catchy which I think is what AI is wanting.

    You can listen to it here: http://www.daveplantz.com/carousels.mp3


  82. Carolyn Avatar


    I believe the book they are referencing is
    “All You Need To Know About The Music Business??? by Donald S Passman.

  83. Pete, I know. That’s my reason for listening to it repeatedly, and for my wry comment about it not working. It’s definitely a weak performance. I’m just hoping against hope that it’s a good enough song to survive its rough packaging. I’m not sure.

    Well, also, I need to get over my horror at the prospect of people beyond the judges hearing it. I honestly thought the 20 final songs would be professionally performed prior to being presented for vote. The site sure made it sound that way.

    I feel a little hoodwinked, and have a feeling my demo is headed for one of AI’s oh-so-hilarious bad-people-singing montages.

  84. Joe Vee Avatar

    You are right. Unless I misread, AI talked about a guitar or piano and vocal with a computer plug-in microphone and that would be Ok. The quality of the recording didn’t matter according the AI. Then AI would work their magic. Unless I misread the actual wording, let alone the heavily inferred wording.

    I don’t think they intentionally mislead, I hope they didn’t. But in fact they did if they are now saying that a slick production has an advantage and there will be no re-recording or fixing allowed.

    Did I misread the actual wording, let alone the clear intent of the original AI wording?

  85. Joe T.,

    I left a heartfelt and non-accusatory, or so I thought, e-mail the other day sharing my perspective on the “more produced” submissions. It didn’t make the cut. After reading many of the expressive, opinionated posts on the site, I am wondering why this was the case?

    So, Joe T, send a reply if you don’t mind, so I can be prepped for future postings. I’m not out to offend anyone, but, would like to receive a little insight on certain taboos or unwelcomed approaches as to be able to share my voice within guidelines. I may have been too verbose or possibly too open in my approach? Anyway.

    My e-mail is luludolyrics@yahoo.com

    Thanks so much for this very informative site and all the hard work you put in to it!

    Stephanie J

  86. Joe Vee Avatar

    Follow-up: AI if you are listening. The stated point of your contest was to get the best songs. The only fair thing to do and be honest to your stated intentions; is to pick the 20 best songs and have your ace band and the same singer (or a couple of singers) do all 20 songs for the purpose of the voting. Since these songs were submitted under the pretext that they would eventually be done by someone else anyway, no one should object. The wording that you used to “catch” all of these tunes was that the production didn’t matter.

  87. Carolyn: Thanks for the book reference.

    Ann S: Hi neighbor!! Thanks for your comments on the Twins song. I was out of town last week, but I heard it was played on the air a few times on the morning show. They are picking 3 finalists over the next 3 weeks starting this Friday. Where is your link to your song? I wasn’t able to find it.

    Pete: Repeated listenings for me “increase” the cringe factor . . constantly looking/hearing areas that could be improved both in the recording as well as the song itself. It always happens.

  88. Ann–

    That’s hysterical…I’m glad I’m not the only one cringing over the prospect of having a poor vocal (which happens to be me) overshadow the melody and lyric. I was running out of time and under the assumption that the top 20 would be re-recorded too…that’s okay, I’ll see ya in the montage.

    …still having problems hearing the songs posted on MySpace.

  89. Michael Avatar

    Hi, what a great site for this. I have had so many questions. Mainly, I keep checking here to see if anyone found out ANYTHING in or out. I guess I should say that My song is “Just a Dream” in case I get in. Good job here and good luck

  90. Mike, that should be our rallying cry. “See ya in the montage!”

    To those who don’t see their posts here, or see them only after a delay–I wonder whether there’s a certain amount of quirkiness with the site and/or your browsers, rather than some kind of post-screening process going on?

    So, what did people think about this project? It felt a little weird to me, as though we’re writing “dues” songs for a person who will essentially be an overnight success.

    See ya in the montage!

  91. I believe that you people discussing your music potentially ending up in a spinoff version of the now famous American Idol no-talent montages have nothing to worry about. American Idol is in the business of making money, and as you may remember, they required an entry fee to enter this songwriting competition… a minimal fee of 10 dollars per song, but at roughly 25,000 entries (per above comment), they just banked an additional 250,000 dollars they didn’t have before. (A negative montage of people who actually take the time to write songs would discourage people from entering this songwriting competition, in turn, costing the shows producers money from future lost entry fees, and more than that, possibly some hit singles after they rattled a future entrants’ confidence.) I realize that this is not a lot of money for the show, so I wonder what they are going to do with it? I think that this “Idol Gives Back” show is conveniently located immediately after all entries have been submitted so they can add up how much they made off of this and figure how much they are willing to donate from the proceeds.

  92. hey guys…just another songwriter from Chicago who entered this insane contest hoping for a shot in a million.
    I cannot wait to see what they go with for the top 20 and yes, the waiting is killing me!
    I assume they are going to start contacting mid week or so…
    I would love to be a fly on the wall in the A&R listening room.

    check out my two entries

    Comes DOwn To Me
    On My Own


  93. Danette McMahon Avatar
    Danette McMahon

    Bob, thanks for your information regarding the ‘business end’. Never having entered a competition or published a song, I am greener than green and have no legal savvy. If I should be so blessed to be in the Top 20, after fainting, I would probably be inclined to ask where the dotted line is so I can sign. You’re so right, how easy it would be to get caught up in the moment.

    And, there is the fear of trying to negotiate a better deal and end up negotiating yourself right out of the Top 20. It’s not like they won’t have any other songs to put in your place!

    This competition has been so much fun…it has renewed a passion….a willingness to dream. I am not a kid…I have put 36 years in this business, but recently started writing. This entry was my first pop tune….who knows?!?!

    Soon the mystery will be over, the intrigue will become disappoint for at least 24,480 people and life goes back to normal….whatever normal is! I just wish I could get as excited about doing housework and ironing as I have been about this contest. LOL

    Regarding Tony’s post 51–I wrote this song Easter weekend, envisioning Melinda, Jordin and Blake singing my song. I could easily hear Phil sing it (and ace it) but I didn’t think he would make it that far….but things change. I could imagine the females taking alot of liberties, having larger ranges than I do. I could imagine Blake doing some beat box stuff with it.

    I had a really rough time with my son yesterday….gut wrenching stuff….fodder for future lyrics!! Ha! (Maybe a country tune) My heart is still aching from that, emotions raw. I debated on posting my tune….could I handle the criticism….am I tough enough? Okay, so my WHOLE TUNE revolves around the word ‘dream’—–shoot me!!! :o)

    Well, I’m over it! I AM A SONGWRITER!! This is a part of who I am. I gotta start sharing them somewhere…………and be ready for any stones that may be tossed.

    You guys haven’t been too malicious, so here goes:
    http://www.myspace.com/danette sings

    I think you will enjoy the guitar player on this track. HE SMOKES!!! He blew me away….all we ever hear him play around town is jazz. I loved what he added to this tune.

    Good luck to everyone…..someone should be hearing from AI pretty soon.

  94. Anybody notice there are at least 3 Anns on this board??? I hardly ever run into other Anns in “real” life…

    I’ll keep listening for your Twins song and I’ll tell all my friends! As for my two submissions to AI, I kinda apologized for their absence from the boards in an earlier post. Too many questions I have about copyrights and opening a **Space account. (Those are fancy words for saying “I’m chicken”.) I, too, am a songwriter who had to sing my own songs into a mic hooked up to my computer, accompanied by the piano playback feature on my Finale Songwriter. Like the other Ann, I’m hoping the melodies and lyrics outperform the performance. I’m a storyteller and I don’t overtly write about feelings. I’d rather let the listener get caught off guard by their own laughter or tears. Btw, I WAS in tune 95% of the time. But that 5% where I couldn’t reach the high notes in the chorus are defintely cringe-worthy.

    Tell me this, how do you and others get those great professional orchestra sounds – is that a computer program or something you access in a studio? I can write piano music and it sounds good on Finale playback, but I’ getting tired of just piano.

  95. Hey all!
    Just started checking out everyone’s songs..some great stuff out there!

    Here’s my entry:
    http://www.jamiesouthworth.com (right side of page)

    It’s called “You’ve Already Won”

    Would love your feedback!!

    Good luck to ALL!

    love and light..

    Jamie Southworth
    “You’ve Already Won”

  96. Hi Ann S. – thanks for the local Minnesota support!!

    As for the multiple sounds, my equipment used in the recordings was just a Fostex 4 track digital recorder (cost = $150) + my Roland XV-88 keyboard. That’s it!! (that was also the case for the Twin’s song).

  97. Michael Avatar

    Hmmm, 25,000 songs? Not sure there is a way to really weed out this many songs through just looking at lyrics or just listening to mp3s. Luck must be a large part of the equation here, but I suppose the best thing about entering is that none of us will be able to kick ourselves and say we didn’t at least give it the old college try when the winners are announced.

    One can only speculate how many songs will be entered a year from now when the inaugural effort has run its course!

  98. Dave #78 – I have to tell you that your song is GREAT!! No one seems to listen to me in this post, but maybe you will…I will be very surprised if your song isn’t chosen. You have a completely different take on what a journey could feel like being a “dreamer”. I really liked that, after listening to so may “cliche” types, not that they weren’t of any quality but…I really have to say you put a totally different spin to it and hopefully AI will hear that. The vocals, melody etc. were top notch! Way to go and goodluck to everyone!

  99. Dave #78 I forgot to mention.. I wished the lyrics had been posted as well. I had a hard time understanding everything, and I think we could all learn a little from it. Thanks.

  100. OK, finally a number of entries 25 to 30 thousand…. thats a lot of songs… more than would fit on my 80GB Ipod wow!

    Out of all the thousands of songs submitted we were the only ones to let the world hear what we submitted…. what, 100 songs or so.

    Eric, I don’t think a montage would discourage people from sending in songs the next time, look at all the Idol wannabe’s that get turned down every year and they keep coming back for more.
    I think next year they will go about it differently and give more time to submit songs and they will receive 100,000 songs and not only 25K.

    In closing I think the Top 20 will be notified no later than this coming Wednesday April 25th.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if those 20 have to keep a lid on it til May 2nd.

    What an accomplishment for those 20 songwriters to have been picked out of all those entries.

    I expect the 20 will be top notch and will blow us away. The voting for the #1 will be tight and hard to decide.

    Will this forum live on after the 20 have been decided?

  101. What’s up with the delay after making a post to to this board? Anyway to beef it up so we get instant posts? There’s nothing for a long time and then all of a sudden 5 new posts are there. Thanks

  102. I do not mean to offend in saying this. I have listened to every song posted or linked from this thread(more than 100) over the last several days and I haven’t heard one that is memorable. Many “songs” seem to be little more than extended riffs and the production qualities are either very crude or over-produced.The lyrics do not seem to tell a real story. A good song tells a story that you want to hear over and over again.

  103. RE:ralph #101

    I don’t agree. I heard a few hooks. I haven’t evaluated any lyrics yet – so perhaps you’re right on that point but there has been some decent melodies with memorable hooks.

    Also remember this is American Idol. Can you really be over-produced? I didn’t hear an instance of that yet (well… I guess we went both barrels on our tune).

    It’s totally possible you’re right on every point (it’s a subjective area) but it’s still a blast to participate.

    Entry: “Without You”

  104. Joe Vee Avatar

    AI: If you’re listening. After you pick the Top20 and get their source material “immediately”, give them another 48 hours to get you an exact same version with a little better production (ie Antares treatment, etc) if they want to.

    After all, if you will re-read your original contest rules and guidelines, you did mislead ppl as to the value of production and received your entries under a false pretense. I don’t think you intended to do this, but you did and I think you owe the Top20 a chance to clean-up out of pitch vocals, etc IF they want to. At that point the Top20 will know their is some economic value in doing so.

    Also- this allows you the luxury of REALLY picking the Top20 songs because you have less worry about putting a really poor production up for voting which is probably not in your best interests anyway – and would be a shame if that in any way would keep you from really chosing the best songs.
    Which was your stated purpose.

  105. Joe Vee Avatar

    “their” is “there”

    sorry – I did take an English class.

  106. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    ok, so finally we have a ballpark figure of 25,000 songs submitted for this contest, hopefully that post above is a truthful one, but that number is pretty reasonable considering how everything played out and from what Ryan Seacrest mentioned about the 5,000 from the first week, it makes sense to end up with a 25k range of songs entered.

    so that roughly equates to a 1 in 1,250 chance of getting in the top 20 just based on number of entries. if you account for the load of crappy songs and take them out (probly 90% crap) then you have 20 out of 2,500 or 1 in 125 chance of getting in the top 20 if you have a good song. but if you consider that only the top 10% of those good songs will make the cut of quality of songwriting, then that means about 250 songs in the running, or 20/250, or a 1 in 12.5 chance of making the Top 20 if your song had great lyrics, great hooks, and great production. most of us don’t fall into that top category from what i have heard so far.

    i think tatrix’s song “without you” is an awesome pop song, but doesn’t really fit the AI theme enough. i think that dave’s song where his wife teresa sang it “blooming” is also really well done, great singing, great chorus, great production, but yet again the AI theme is not strong enough for me.

    that is what i think i have been seeing mostly…if the song was bad, it fit the AI theme in a really cheesy cliché way, but if the song was great (like tatrix’s and dave/teresa’s) then the AI theme was vague at best and not strong enough.

    i guess the problem is the precendet of the type of songs from all the previous seasons. they were all ballads just on the verge of cheese and not terribly original. but hey, that is what “wide appeal” is whether we like it or not.

    for the most part, i don’t think any of us will make the top 20 (hate to sound negative, but the odds are realistic). i think what we should do is once the top 20 are chosen, we should make our own album of the best songs. we could have more time to produce them, then revote for our own top 20, and put out a cd of the songs. we could include this site, and jpfolks, and others if we want. i think that would be cool. and we could throw the idol them out the window as far as the judging is concerned or at least not make it a basis to vote on.

    anyone else like that idea?

  107. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    ok, so finally we have a ballpark figure of 25,000 songs submitted for this contest, hopefully that post above is a truthful one, but that number is pretty reasonable considering how everything played out and from what Ryan Seacrest mentioned about the 5,000 from the first week, it makes sense to end up with a 25k range of songs entered.

    so that roughly equates to a 1 in 1,250 chance of getting in the top 20 just based on number of entries. if you account for the load of crappy songs and take them out (probly 90% crap) then you have 20 out of 2,500 or 1 in 125 chance of getting in the top 20 if you have a good song. but if you consider that only the top 10% of those good songs will make the cut of quality of songwriting, then that means about 250 songs in the running, or 20/250, or a 1 in 12.5 chance of making the Top 20 if your song had great lyrics, great hooks, and great production. most of us don’t fall into that top category from what i have heard so far.

    i think tatrix’s song “without you” is an awesome pop song, but doesn’t really fit the AI theme enough. i think that dave’s song where his wife teresa sang it “blooming” is also really well done, great singing, great chorus, great production, but yet again the AI theme is not strong enough for me.

    that is what i think i have been seeing mostly…if the song was bad, it fit the AI theme in a really cheesy cliché way, but if the song was great (like tatrix’s and dave/teresa’s) then the AI theme was vague at best and not strong enough.

    i guess the problem is the precendet of the type of songs from all the previous seasons. they were all ballads just on the verge of cheese and not terribly original. but hey, that is what “wide appeal” is whether we like it or not.

    for the most part, i don’t think any of us will make the top 20 (hate to sound negative, but the odds are realistic). i think what we should do is once the top 20 are chosen, we should make our own album of the best songs. we could have more time to produce them, then revote for our own top 20, and put out a cd of the songs. we could include this site, and jpfolks, and others if we want. i think that would be cool. and we could throw the idol theme out the window as far as the judging is concerned or at least not make it a basis to vote on.

    anyone else like that idea?

  108. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    hehe, sorry for the misspellings, i having a hard time this morning….lol

  109. Ann S, we’ve got a lot in common. My last initial is also S, and I also don’t have an online journal site, for the same reason: My 13-year-old wants one and I won’t allow it. I’ve *seen* those communities. Not that I’m particularly anxious to have my demo heard, or anything.

    Don’t think of it as confusing–think of it as an increased chance of seeing your (our!) name in the final vote.

    I agree with Tony, about montages. America loves them, and the contestants don’t find them discouraging.

    As regards “trite” lyrics, well, remember we’re dealing with a team that thought “Proud” was A. Appropriate for Taylor Hicks; and B. Not awkwardly written. (“And the only question with me now” ??) So really, who knows?

    See ya in the montage!

  110. I have heard some really good stuff. Remember with 30,000 entries though the chances of hearing the whole jist if the song I believe will not happen. If you don’t have it within the first 20 seconds chances are slim. Although you and I both know when we listen to music it takes hearing the whole song to really like the whole song and story behind. At any rate I have tried to listen to all the songs available and I found myself wanting to hear one of them over and over “Without You” a great tune and the melody is addicting. Great Job. I feel the folks that did just the singer and guitar is truly at a disadvantage especially for folks that vote and do not know the rules indicated not to worry about the production of the song. Anyhow Best of Luck to all of you and myself.

  111. Jeffery Cameron Avatar
    Jeffery Cameron

    Me and my friend Matt wrote a song for the AI contest called, “Until Now”. You can hear it once we post it to our myspace site and you can also hear our first completed song, “Love remains”.


  112. It’s just funny to me that a lot of us are commenting/worried about cliches in our lyrics. Have you ever read the lyrics for Carrie Underwood’s AI first release “Inside Your Heaven”, which became a Billboard record setting single?

    If that’s not the most silly string of cliches and banality. . . I don’t know what is.

    So, you have to keep in mind what AI’s (and America’s) definition of a “great song” is. Subjectivity universe. The bottom line is that no one here really knows what songs posted here do or don’t have a shot at the top 20.

    Besides, can you really take seriously negative comments from other entrants competing for one of the biggest songwriting competitions ever?

  113. After listening to a ton of songs…many sound religious in context to me. Songs about believing in God, Heaven, Angels etc. And personally I’m not sure if those types of songs are what they’re looking for. Although I could be wrong. I feel like AI is all about entertainment, and to me, making it into a religious experience doesn’t quite make sense. This is just my opinion….I feel like the songs that do win should have a bit of a more lighthearted pop feel to them…
    anyone agree, disagree?

    cheers…anyone know when they are supposed to notify the finalists?

    “Comes Down To Me”
    “On My Own”

  114. Anne-Marie Avatar

    “And the only question with me now” ha HA! I noticed that too, and think it’s the most ridiculous lyric line EVER. In fact, as I was writing my submission, I was agonizing over one line of lyrics, trying to choose between the one that was safer grammatically and the one that sounded better to the ear, and THAT line is the one that pushed me toward the better-sounding choice. Obviously they don’t care about grammar, not to mention normal English usage. Although I do still feel insecure about that line…

  115. Folks,

    I’m enjoyed reading all the post. Good songs too – thanks for sharing your insights and comments. Here’s my entry, entitled “Shining Star”. Its sung by my co-writer, Angela Knight.

    Good luck to all!


  116. Hi everybody,
    I am knew to this site, but I have enjoyed what I’ve read hear…lot’s of feedback and opinions.

    I have also submitted songs to american idol songwriting contest, one of which, I will share with everyone as a point of getting honest feedback from you all.

    Jus go to: http://www.buymusicfromus.com/music.html, and click on the song called “Grateful”.

    Let me know what you guys think about the song. Even if i don’t win, i enjoyed writing the tune.

    Michael Bell

  117. Taterix,
    It is ironic that you responded to my post because I think your song is the best of all that I have heard. It is well produced and has a good hook but it is, in my opinion, not in the power ballad genre that AI is looking for. It is a vey nice, punchy rock band song but I cannot see Melinda or Jordin sinking their teeth into it. In other words, I think your recording is plenty good enough but not as a vehicle for showcasing the voice of someone like Melinda or Jordin.

  118. ME TOO! The word “eventually” in my song wasn’t what I’d usually put…but no matter how hard I tried…it just wouldn’t budge…and it works ok…makes you wonder if when they pick a song if their team will “tweak”

    love and light!

    Jamie Southworth
    “You’ve Already Won”

  119. 25,000 Songs with 20 listeners figuring 30 songs an hour (

  120. Melissa Cash Avatar
    Melissa Cash

    I recently took my song down and then after further research, decided to put it back up. There are several songs that I believe are extremely good. Listen to “Without You”, “Round the Bend”, “Waking in a Dream”, “Waking the Angels” and “Shine Your Light on Me”. I really like these. I think they each have a great hook.

    If you want to listen to mine:

    “How to Fly”

    I have a few other songs I’ve posted. I write mainly for our church praise team and choir. This is my first time writing for anything like this.

  121. My song “Waking Up the Angels” is now back in circulation. Thanks for the listens and all the fun reading on this blog.


  122. Ugh! My post got truncated. The post read:
    25,000 songs with 20 listeners at 30 songs an hour will take 10 4 hour work days. Point being I don’t think there should be any worry about not having your song heard at least for 1 to 2 minutes. I think it will take them 5 days from the deadline to wittle it down to maybe 100 songs. At which point they’ll take much longer to select between those. 95% of what they’ll get will be obviously unsuitable after listening to 1 minute. So they’ll spend most of there time looking at the other 5%. I used to listen to tapes for unsolicated material and I could size up a CD in a couple minutes unless it was truly exceptional which in my experience was far less than 5% of the time.

  123. Taterix,
    It is ironic that you responded to my post because I actually think your song was the best I heard. My problem with your song was not anything with the song itself-nice hook and bridge and very strong production( verse is just ok) and I think a very commercial rock band single. BUT, I just don’t think that it is in the genre that the AI people are looking for. Is your song a showcase for Melinda or Jordin’s voice(which is the purpose of the song)? In my opinion, no. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I have written lots of songs over the years and I would say 100% of them were not right for this contest. That’s why I wrote a new one for this contest last week. I hope I am wrong about your song and your song gets into the top 20. Good luck!

  124. Melissa Cash Avatar
    Melissa Cash

    The songs that I’ve heard, even the ones that I don’t think are all that great, are still much better than “Do I Make You Proud” and “Destiny” from last year. I mean, what were Simon’s A&R people thinking?

    I think tatrix’s song would sound really well for Phil. I think Melinda and Jordin have a stronger chance to win than Phil, but then again, we never know.

  125. For folks who have been asking about why some comments seem to disappear, or why some comments spend a longer amount of time in moderation, here’s the answer:


  126. At 125 comments, the database starts to cry, so here’s a new thread to continue the discussion!