How To Win

The contest structure has completely changed this year, so this is a must-read page for entrants. We now select the Catapult Final 30 based on the first round of voting as follows:

  • Most votes (10 places)

Promote your song to friends and fans. The ten songs with the highest number of votes win a place in the finals. (In the first two years we awarded all final places this way.) 

  • Best supporting artists (10 places)

Vote for at least ten other great songs in the contest to win a second audition for your own song. 

Great songwriters can spot other great songs, right? Vote for the songs you consider to be the best in the contest. If the Catapult team loves the songs you've voted for, then your song gets shortlisted and reviewed by a panel. The ten (10) best shortlisted second auditions win a place in the finals. 

See the footnote on this page for the exact method we use to shortlist and select these finalists.

  • Most votes from other entrants (5 places)
  • Wildcard selections (5 places)

Then we add the five (5) songs that receive the most votes from other entrants. And finally, our Catapult team hands out wildcards to five songs we select after listening to every song in the contest during our initial review and approval of entries.

The Final 30 songs stay live for public voting until the judging panel has made their decision. Then we announce the winners. All votes count, right up until the end, so keep voting!


Our judging panel then reviews the Final 30 using the following criteria:

  1. The quality of the song composition, melody, arrangement and lyrics, regardless of genre.
  2. Vocal performance and musicianship are also important because better performances will give the judges a clearer idea of the potential and skill in the composition, but the main judging criteria is the quality of the song composition itself.
  3. Recording quality is important, but well performed home recorded projects can definitely win Catapult. It just needs to be a clear, well mixed recording that does justice to the song composition.
  4. The quality of the song video is not taken into account by the judging panel to be fair to lower budget entries who still write amazing songs, but more engaging videos can gain interest and win public and peer votes. Good videos are a plus, but it’s still very possible to win Catapult by recording a live gig or uploading an interesting rolling montage of photos.


Catapult awards the following prizes:

Once the judging is complete, we tally the individual judge’s votes. The highest ranked song wins the Judge’s Choice Award.

The song in the judge’s top 10 that has received the highest overall number of entrant/public votes during the contest wins the Voters Choice Award. (Note: this has changed from previous years. You must make the judge’s top 10 to be eligible for the Voters Choice Award.)

The Overall Winner is selected as the song that receives the highest combined ranking from both the judging panel and the voters.

An entry can only win a maximum of two major awards. If an outstanding song manages to rank highest in all categories, then the Voters Choice award will be awarded to the next highest ranked song.

We also provide a special promotion via the Catapult FB timeline and a trophy to the songs that receive the highest number of votes from other entrants (Peer Choice Award), and the song that the Catapult team decided was their overall favourite out of the 5 wildcards we selected (Catapult Team Award).

Good luck!



Footnote: Best Supporting Artist selection

We select the best supporting artists exactly as follows:

1. Catapult flags approximately 1 in 4 songs as our favourites while we approve entries and listen to feedback during the contest. We use the same criteria (quality of song composition etc) as the judging panel.
2. We look at which artists have placed at least ten votes for other artists during the contest.
3. The 25 artists who most closely match the Catapult favourites with their votes are shortlisted. (Note: it’s the highest percentage of matches – NOT highest number of matches – so don’t vote for everyone and take care to vote for only the best songs you can find.)
4. A panel then looks closely at these 25 entries and picks ten finalists based on the quality of the shortlisted song.

A very good strategy would involve listening to at least 50 songs in the contest, taking notes on the best songs, then going back and voting for the best 10 to 15 songs you listened to. Then place additional votes if you happen to find better songs as the contest progresses. This strategy would significantly increase your chances of being shortlisted and receiving a detailed assessment by our panel. It's a great way to make sure a great song gets noticed.

The overall idea is to generate a large pool of votes from musicians for the best songs in the contest. The best supporting artist contest rewards artists who take the time to search and vote for quality songs in the contest.