Eligibility & Submission Guidelines


  • Independently Released: Music & videos must be released on an independent record label or self-released; may not released under one of the Big Three record labels (Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group) OR one of their sublabels. Design submissions may feature independent or major label artists.
  • Release Date: Music must be released (available to the public in physical, digital download or streaming format – for sale or free) between June 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014. Music not released yet may be submitted if intended release date is on or before December 31, 2014.
  • Distribution: Music may be self-distributed or distributed by an independent or major label distributor.
  • Original & Cover Songs: Submissions to all Song categories (except Cover Song category) must be original. You do not need permission from the publisher to enter your cover songs into the Cover Song category. Interpretations of standards and traditional songs are accepted in any category. Album, EP and Music Producer submissions must primarily consist of original material, with the exception of Tribute Album.
  • EP: is defined as being 25 minutes or less. Exceptions may be made if work is publicly described or reviewed as an EP.
  • Design Entries: must be created exclusively for music, promotion or a project which has been released within the aforementioned time frame.
  • Posters: must be created for an artist, band or music venue to promote an event that occurred within the aforementioned time frame.
  • Music Videos: Short Form Music Video is defined as a video of a song. Long Form Music Video is defined as a video presentation of a concert, documentary, multi-video compilation, etc. Release of the video (not necessarily when the video was shot) must fall within the aforementioned time frame.
  • Music Website: must promote an artist/band, independent record label, music event, music venue, or music business company.
  • Swag: is defined as any individual article or packaged articles of merchandise (t-shirt, hat, mug, bumper sticker, kazoo, etc.) created exclusively for the band or release being promoted


    Entry Denotations

  • Album categories: one entry = one complete, full-length album
  • Song categories: one entry = one complete song
  • EP categories: one entry = one complete EP
  • Music Producer category: one entry = one complete, full-length album or EP
  • Music Video categories: one entry = either one music video of a song (Short Form) or one multiple song video presentation (Long Form)
  • Design categories:
    • Album Packaging: one entry = all packaging components specific to one release
    • Album Art: one entry = artwork for the album cover (CD/vinyl face), back panel, and any tray panels, booklets, inserts or other artwork for one release
    • Artist Publicity and Artist Concert Photography: one entry = one black & white/color print (8 x 10 preferred) or digital file
    • Poster (Venue, Record Release, Festival, etc.): one entry = one poster
    • Swag (Merchandising) design category: one entry = one article or packaged articles of merchandise (t-shirt, hat, mug, bumper sticker, kazoo, etc.)
    • Music Website (Artist, Band, Record Label, etc.): one entry = one site homepage URL
  • Specific Music Category Guidelines

  • A Cappella Song: must not contain any pitched instruments
  • Compilation Album: may be a compilation of various artists or a compilation of one artist’s previous works
  • Concept Album: all songs on album must connect to an overall theme or unified story
  • Cover Song: must be version of a previously recorded, commercially released song by another artist
  • Eclectic Album: encompasses a broad and diverse range of genres either within the songs or across the album
  • Eclectic Song: encompasses a broad and diverse range of genres within the song
  • Holiday Song (Any Holiday): theme must relate to a particular holiday or holiday season
  • Instrumental (Mainly) Album: all or vast majority of songs must not contain any lyrics or singing
  • Instrumental Song: must not contain any lyrics or singing, but may include limited vocal input, e.g. “Tequila”
  • Live Performance Album: album must be recorded in front of a live audience
  • Love Song: theme must revolve around falling in love, being in love, unrequited love, falling out of love, and/or breaking up.
  • Reissue Album: album must have been released previously
  • Social Action Song: must bring social awareness about topic/event or encourage change
  • Spoken Word (with music accompaniment) Album or Song: lyrics must be spoken with no structured melody; majority of song or album must contain music accompaniment

Please Remember:

  • If submitting by mail, include one CD per entry and clearly identify on each disc: the name of the artist, the title of the work, and the one category for which it is to be considered
  • If payment was made online and you are submitting by mail, make sure to print out and include your IMA order receipt with your submission
  • If paying by check, a completed entry form (or photocopy) must accompany each submission
  • You may submit as many entries as you wish.
  • You may submit the same song, album, or EP in multiple categories
  • Entry deadline: Friday, November 7th, 2014. The IMAs reserves the right to extend the final deadline.
Submission Processing Fees:
1 Song Entry = $30
1 Music Video (Long or Short Form) Entry = $30
1 Design Entry = $30
1 Album Entry = $50
1 EP Entry = $50
1 Producer Entry = $50

Submit 3 or 4 entries and you’ll receive a 10% discount
Submit 5 or more entries and you’ll receive a 20% discount
(5 entries is like getting 1 for free; 10 entries is like getting 2 for free!)

*Discounts can only be processed per order. Orders cannot be combined to receive discounts.