Competition rules

  1. A Song is defined as a combination of Lyrics and Melody (music) therefore this competition is NOT open to instrumental entries.
  2. Songs must be oriented to Australian Country life, scenery, subject material and attitude. This can include romantic interest and city comparison but not songs with only a city setting/context.
  3. A song can only entered into one category ie a song should not be entered into multiple categories (please note exceptions in ”4,5,6&7” below)   
  4. If a song is entered into one category but is also suitable for either the the LOCAL HEROES, YOUTH or the writer qualifies as a NEW SONGWRITER (see entry criteria below) then that song can be entered into these categories as well.  
  5. If you qualify as a Youth writer (under 18 yrs) and you have a commercial release you can enter the New Songwriter category (see entry criteria below) with that same released song.  
  6. Any songs entered in any category can be entered again in the LOCAL HEROES category (if applicable).  
  7. Songwriters that qualify as New Songwriters and enter songs in New Songwriter category are also able to enter songs into any categories (that are appropriate) except for Novice or Youth (if the writer is over 18 years).
  8. If you enter a song into any category you are not able to enter the lyrics (of that song) into the LYRICS ONLY category.  
  9. All entries for any section must be written by an Australian and/or New Zealand resident /citizen.  IE if you are an Australian/New Zealand citizen/ resident and you are located overseas – you are able to enter the competition.  However, should any member of a co-writing TEAM not be an Australian/New Zealand resident or citizen the song is not eligible for entry.
  10. Cover versions of others work will NOT be accepted.  This includes the use of poems or lyrics written by others not of your nominated songwriting team, re-arrangements or re-working of songs written by others (not of your songwriting team).  These will NOT be accepted as this is a Song writing Contest for original material (both lyrics and music) only.  However, entries will be accepted from appointed agents/representatives and/or publishers of an original writer. 
  11. Songs maybe recorded outside Australia and may include backing musicians/vocalists from outside Australia.  The competition is  about song writing not production or recording.  
  12. The songs must be submitted by MP3 (128kbps) via the online entry platform provided by Song Central.  All entries to this competition, must be via online.  However, If TSA members (only) are not able to enter via the online platform they are able to contact Judy Smith (0408 601 246) who will provide an alternative option.  This option is not available for non TSA members.
  13. The judge’s decision is final and the TSA will not enter into any discussion regarding the results of the competition.  
  14. In entering the contest the entrant has deemed to have read, understood and agreed to the rules associated with entering the TSA Song writer Salute Awards competition.    
  15. The TSA cannot be held responsible for any perceived digression or non-compliance in any matter.
  16. Offensive material, or songs containing language not deemed to be acceptable by the judges i.e. swearing / foul language will not score well in the competition – so don’t waste your entry fee.
  17. Trophies will be awarded to the writers of a winning song.  A maximum of three trophies will be awarded to the writer and any co-writers.  Should more co-writers be involved, additional trophies may be ordered from the TSA at cost. 
  18. The awards will be presented in January at the TSA Concert and Awards Show in Tamworth.  All finalists will be notified prior to the Awards.  Should they not be able to attend the Awards they will need to arrange for a representative to be present on the night to accept their Award on their behalf.  Any transport of an Award from Tamworth will be done at their own cost.  Please advise the TSA via email if you are not able to attend the Awards and who your nominated representative will be to collect your Award Email 
  19. Any song not accepted or declared ineligible will not generate a refund to the entrant.
  20. A previous winning song cannot be entered again in any category.


All categories are ‘OPEN‘ except for the NOVICE, LYRICS, and NEW SONGWRITER categories.  “Open” means the song can be published, released for sale or be an unreleased song.  Please refer to items below in relation to NOVICE, LYRICS and the NEW SONGWRITER categories.

  • NOVICE – the ‘Garry Koehler Commemorative Award’ is a restricted category whereby only unreleased material from a writer and/or team of writers who are considered to be Novice writers ie they have not won a songwriting contest or released song(s) for sale and are not published writers.  
  • YOUTH – the ‘John P Toomey Commemorative Award’- is a restricted category for entrants under the age of 18 years (at the time of entry).  Songs entered into this category can released or unreleased songs.  Any song entered into this category may be also entered into other general open categories. 
  • LYRICS ONLY- this category is for ‘stand alone’ lyrics that are not part of a completed song (released or otherwise)
  • BUSH BALLAD – the ‘Bev Daniel Commemorative Award- open category  (A song with simple chord pattern or musical arrangement sometimes with no chorus or bridge. There must be a story, rural/outback based. The lyric is foremost to the music.  Instruments are usually acoustic, think “campfire”. Examples Slim Dusty “Leave him in the Longyard”, “Laughter in the Hills”, “Fire of Gidgee Coals”)
  • TRADITIONAL COUNTRY SONG- the ‘Eric Watson Commemorative Award’- open category (A Traditional Country Song has lyrics which tells a story, the arrangement complimenting the delivery and more musically developed than Bush Ballad. The story again rural based and possibly with a more modern setting. Examples, Sara Storer “Beautiful Circle, Adam Harvey “A Shake of the Hand” John Williamson “Chandelier of Stars”)
  • BLUEGRASS – open category
  • GOSPEL/SPIRITUAL – open category
  • COUNTRY ROCK – open category
  • COUNTRY BALLAD – the ‘John and Judy Martin Commemorative Award’  – open category
  • COUNTRY BLUES –open category
  • ALT COUNTRY – open category
  • COMEDY /NOVELTY- the ‘Geoff Mack Commemorative Award’ –open category
  • LOCAL HEROES- the ‘Johnny Ashcroft Commemorative Award’- open category.  This category is for writers whose subject is either an individual, or a group ie stockman, doctor, paramedic, police, fire fighter/s, soldier/s, Lifesaver/s, Volunteer or citizen who the writer feels should be honoured with a song.   The TSA provide support to Legacy by donating half the entry fees for this category to Legacy.
  • TSA NEW SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR – The new Songwriter of The Year Award for a team or individual is to recognise and promote new talent in Australian Country Music.  There is a cash prize of $1000.00 for the winning song only plus up to three trophies.  This award is for original material, lyric and melody and has date restrictions as well – the song must be commercially available/released from the last 12 months.  Entrants (along with each member of the songwriting team) must have had their first commercial release within the last 5 years prior to the close of this competition ie between the 1st October 2016 and the 30th September 2021.   Also, no member of the (song writing) team can have won a song writing contest with a commercially released song in the last 5 years.  Any Song entered must have been commercially released after 1st October 2020.  Commercially released means that the song is recorded and a copy of that recording is available for purchase through any medium including private sale.  Entrants may be asked to provide information to this effect.  
  • COUNTRY SONG OF THE YEAR – is not open for entry to anyone. The winning song is identified via the judging process and selected from the winning songs from all the categories listed above.                               


Additional Notes

Country Song of The Year: There is an award for Country Song of the Year. The song will be selected from the winners of all the sections and will be selected by a special panel based. The award will be a separate presentation on the night.

Songs entered on behalf of others: Apart from Entries received from original writers, entries will be accepted from appointed agents/representatives of original writers and/or publishers of the original writer. Note that all conditions (1-17) are applicable in this case.


All entries will be judged by various panels selected by the TSA from the music industry. A panel of three judges shall be involved in the judging process. Each member of the panel shall score the song on an overall basis. Semi finalists will be judged again by a different panel to determine the finalists and the eventual winners.


All winning songs (except LOCAL HEROES – $200 and APRA AMCOS /TSA New Songwriters of the Year Award – $1000) will receive a cash payment of $200. The writers of the winning song will also receive a Trophy (see rule 14 above).