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2013 Songwriting Awards Now Open!

It's official: The DeoSound 2013 Christian Songwriting Awards are now open for entries!

We know many of you have been waiting - thank you for your patience!

The awards have grown a lot, and we had to change our systems to cope.

Even though the awards are bigger, we wanted to ensure that songwriters continue to receive personal feedback from the judges. That's important, because it means every songwriter can still get better and better at writing songs for God, even if they don't receive an award.

And serving God with our lives and our music is what it's all about!

New for this year

Our new systems are not the only changes we've made. The awards are bigger, we're covering more countries, and we're rewarding those that spread the word:

  • The awards amounts are the biggest ever. Plus, it's possible for a first-place winner to still be considered for our new Songwriters' Craft award of $500. That means the maximum possible award value available for any one song is nearly $2000!
  • Entries are now accepted from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the US and Canada. Of course entries from other countries are welcome too - they will receive the same attention and feedback from the judges, plus publicity and recognition, it's just they are just not eligible for the cash part of any award.
  • For all of you that are so great in helping to spread the word, there's also a new Talent Scout award: If you find the winner, you can receive an award of $100. See below how you can tweet, link, post or pin away!

One thing that hasn't changed: Entry remains completely free.

So get your song ready to enter, and spread the word!

Seven ways you can get the word out

1. Be old school! Put up this poster at your church, school or club.

2. Give this handout to your pastor, teacher, or worship band.

3. Tweet it up

4. at Twitter

5. Add DeoSound to your network at LinkedIn 

6. Pin some hope for an upside-down world

7. Last but not least - you could actually just talk to the songwriters you know!

Last date for entries

To allow for the delays, and the fact that many students in the northern hemisphere are already away for their summer, we've set the closing date for entries just for this year to be October 15, 2013. But if your song is ready, there is no reason to wait until the last minute - enter now!

Entry is now online - head on over to Awards.DeoSound.org, where you'll find the complete rules. Even if your song is not quite ready, you should create your account, so you can see exactly what's needed for your song.

What music can I enter?

God is the ultimate creative type. He is responsible for every good thing in the universe, in all the astounding variety.

We expect God's goodness and creativity will be reflected in the diversity of entries again this year: Past years have brought entries ranging from rap to worship, and from metal to choral songs for children.

Meet some winners

Past winners have not only been creative in their songs, but also in the wide variety of ways they used their awards.

Singer/songwriter Caroline Van Halteren took first place in 2012 for her contemplative "Ashes to Beauty". Caroline feels a strong call to bring God's word to his people through music. She is preparing for worship leadership, and used her $1000 award toward her degree in Modern Music Ministry in Nashville, USA. Serving a congregation is wonderful and worthwhile, and Caroline sees songwriting as a way of sharing her faith and her gifts well beyond those walls.

Kevin White, a youth pastor near Toronto, Canada, was a 2012 award winner for the rap song "Piece of the Pie", co-created with Daniel Mullin and Michelle White. Kevin put his award toward recording equipment, so he can make more music for less money.

While cash awards attract attention, songwriters have found the benefits run deeper: Every entrant received individual feedback from the judges to help them get ever-better at writing Christian songs, and encouragement to share their gifts with the Christian community.

Getting your songs to the world

The DeoSound awards have also helped songwriters get their songs heard.

Sean Evans story provides a great example. Years ago, Sean wrote the song "Jesus' Eyes", along with Aidan Purnell. He originally wrote it in thanksgiving to God for his pastor. It was indeed the blessing to his pastor Sean had hoped for. But getting his songs to more people was difficult. A full-time job and a young family made it impossible for him to look at forming a band, recording an album or two, and touring in the normal commercial way. How to go further?

Sean decided to enter the DeoSound awards in 2011. As part of the process, he learned about Creative Commons licensing. Sean found he could easily let people all over the world use his song for non-commercial purposes, avoiding all the complications of traditional publishing and international licensing. It was easy quick to use, simply marking his songs "Copyright Sean Evans CC-BY-NC-SA Some rights reserved," along with the year. Sean also liked the fact it was completely free.

Sean's song went on to become one of the 2011 DeoSound award winners. If his song achieves commercial success, Sean can still profit from it. But Sean's main goal is that God can use his song for even bigger things: "I hope the song will be used to honour other men and women of God, and inspire us all to see our neighbours through Jesus' eyes!"

Another 2011 winner, Jude Fernandez, explained why he chose not to lock up his song with the usual restrictive commercial copyright, "Always write songs and music from your heart. If you gain financially from your music, it can be one sign that your music is good. But whether it is a song of praise, a love ballad or rock and roll, good music has to come from your heart with no thought of fame and fortune. If you receive financial gain from it, that is really just the icing on the cake.”

Jude has since seen his song downloaded in numerous countries around the world. He has no idea who is singing it, but is perfectly OK with that. He is just glad God is using his music: “I would like this song to be sung all over the world to praise God and his son Jesus. And remind us of how loving, forgiving and powerful our God is.”

Christian songwriters who want to say "Amen!" to that can enter their songs at Awards.DeoSound.org. Entry is free, and open until October 15, 2013.

Your next step

Enter your song!

If you think you can polish it up, check out our free online songwriters' workshop.

Remember, even if your song is not quite ready to enter, you should still create your account now, and make sure you check out exactly what is needed for each entry. You don't want to discover you are missing something important at the last minute!

Complete rules for the awards are available at Awards.DeoSound.org. Additional information on DeoSound, and free music downloads from past winners, can be found at DeoSound.org/winners.

Can God use your song to turn the world upside-down? Here's how to enter!

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