Category List and Definitions

The American Songwriting Awards recognizes and celebrates music in all genres and categories from all cultures around the world. This year’s competition will feature prizes and competition in a wide range of musical genres. Submissions will be judged against similar song types in terms of general classifications. The following categories are broadly defined and should cover most submissions. If a song falls into more than one category the creator may choose one that best fits or submit the song in multiple categories as per the contest rules. Each competition category has its own Winners, Finalists and prize packages.


Adult Alternative

Music for the young and hip looking for something new and different. This genre includes college rock, experimental music and alternative music of other genres.



This Classic American style of music goes back to the turn of the 19th century and reflects the history of America. This genre includes Chicago Blues, Delta Blues and all other blues styles.


Children’s Songs

Songs just for kids belong in this category. They include lullabies, pre-school songs, sing-a-longs and story songs for children.



Classical music dates back to medieval times but is often discovered by kids today in old cartoons. All eras and styles considered classical music belong here including all opera, orchestral pieces and other modern compositions.


Comedy / Novelty

Not all genres have to take themselves so seriously. Satire, song parodies, joke songs, novelty songs and songs just meant to make people laugh all belong here. Note that stand-up routines do not qualify as songs.


Country & Western

All styles of the Country & Western sound belong in this category, such as Bluegrass, Honky-Tonk and Urban Country.


Dance presented by 8tracks

Dubstep, Breakbeat, House, Techno, Trance, Industrial and all forms of electronica and dance music belong here.


Easy Listening

Softer sounds and gentle melodies mark this genre of music. This genre includes Adult Contemporary and Lounge music.



The traditional format for the classic singer/songwriter remains a favorite genre of serious songwriters. Includes classic folk, alternative folk, protest songs and campfire music.


Hip Hop presented by Sonicbids

The urban sound of today. Hip Hop branches into many areas such as Gangsta Rap, Dirty South Rap, East Coast Rap, West Coast Rap, Old-School Rap and all other forms of Rap and Hip Hop.



This category covers songs written for the holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Hanukah, or songs for other seasons or national celebrations.



Unsigned is a special category. This category excludes any submission that is under contract with a major label or studio. Only unsigned songwriters and independently created songs are accepted in this category. It can include any genre of music. Only major label contracts are excluded. Artists or songwriters on indie labels are eligible for this category.



This category is marked by excluding all lyrics. It can include marching band music, music as soundtracks for film or television or non-singing experimental music. Anything that is without word and is not classical belongs here.


Lyrics Only

This category is for songwriters who are only submitting song lyrics (no music). The Lyrics competition does not recognize the need for genres and all lyrics only submissions belong here.


New Age

Sounds of nature in music, music to relax, healing sounds for mediation and music to contemplate the universe go in this genre.



A mixture of African and Caribbean sounds, American Blues and Jamaican Ska, reggae is the music of the people. Styles range from fast to slow, contemporary to classic.



A very popular genre that encompasses Metal, Hard Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Rockabilly, Southern Rock, Glam Rock and any other kind of rock that knows where its power cords are.



Music that lifts the spirit and speaks to the soul with the intent to religiously uplift belongs in this category. The genre can include other styles of music (such as rock, pop, etc) as long as it has a spiritual basis and intent to speak on religious or spiritual matters.



The music of Motown, Funk, Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B and even Disco go here.



From the old spirituals of darker times to contemporary experimental music played in smoky clubs, jazz is a true American art form. This category covers Big Band, Dixieland, Jazz Fusion, Hard Bop, Ragtime and all other forms of jazz.



Music of any category or genre created by an entrant 17 years of age or under at the time of submission is eligible for this category.



Latin music has grown big enough and diverse enough to merit its own genre. This category includes Brazilian, Contemporary Latin, Pop Latino, Salsa y Tropical and other expressions of sound with a Latino flair.


Pop presented by Sony Creative Software

Without doubt, the most popular and contemporary sounds in music today. Pop now covers a wide range of song types such as Top 40, Teen Pop, Britpop and Bubblegum Pop.



This category is judged on the songwriting as well as the performance of the song. All genres of music are accepted in this category.


World Music

Music from around the world does not often fit into radio station or genre categories. This is the place for music that is cultural, traditional and unique to one place in the world.

Which category is the right fit for you? Click on the button below to enter your song into the competition.


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