Nashville Songwriters Association International

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Nashville Songwriters Association International
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The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is a 501(c) not-for-profit trade organization that works to help songwriters in three ways: through legislative advocacy, through education and advice about the actual craft of songwriting, and through teaching about the music industry, and how to best position a song for success within it. They own the Bluebird Cafe.


The organization is the world's largest not-for-profit songwriters trade association. Established in 1967, the membership of more than 5,000 active and pro members spans the United States and six other countries. NSAI is dedicated to protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music.

The association was founded in the 1970s, with former singer-songwriter Lorene Mann as a co-founder[1].

NSAI established "Songwriters Caucuses" in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In Congress, a "caucus" is a group of like-minded lawmakers who share a philosophical pre-disposition to support an issue. When NSAI has an issue before Congress, they have caucus members who will assist by co-sponsoring legislation, allowing songwriters to testify, and using the power of their offices and the media to represent the songwriter view.


As songwriters know, sometimes the best ideas appear during lunch, and that was the case more than 40 years ago with songwriters Eddie Miller, Buddy Mize and Bill Brock. In 1967, over lunch at Ireland's Restaurant in Nashville, the three came up with an idea to build a community: a songwriters association.

That kernel of an idea, planted and nurtured four decades ago, took root and has since grown into the 4,500+ member Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which today promotes awareness of songwriters' cultural contributions (through events such as Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival), champions the legal rights of professional songwriters and helps develop the abilities of aspiring songwriters.

But such growth and prosperity didn't occur overnight. Back in the late '60s, Nashville's songwriting community consisted of only a few dozen writers who received little credit for their achievements and whose royalty compensation was small, largely because of an antiquated copyright law. Additionally, outside of the performing rights societies ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, songwriter recognition was virtually non-existent.

Then, one November day in 1967, Miller (a 1975 inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and founding member of the Academy of Country Music in California) encouraged fellow songwriters[2] Mize and Brock to begin an association for writers in Nashville. Mize and Brock loved the idea, and all three set out to make it happen.

Within a month, Eddie, Buddy and Bill were conducting the group's first organizational meeting at the Old Professional's Club on Music Row. The meeting attracted some 40 songwriters, including Liz & Casey Anderson ("The Fugitive"), Felice & Boudleaux Bryant ("Wake Up Little Susie"), Kris Kristofferson ("Me And Bobby McGee") and Marijohn Wilkin ("One Day At A Time"). Those 40—more than half the songwriters in town at that time—became the founding membership of NSAI and began spending countless hours around Marijohn's kitchen table brainstorming, discussing and refining ideas.

Within a year, the Nashville Songwriters Association was chartered by the state of Tennessee as a not-for-profit trade association, and from that moment, NSAI would go on to make a difference for all songwriters by helping to revise antiquated copyright laws and to establish new intellectual property protection in the digital age, by establishing a network of over 90 songwriter workshops to provide local instruction at home and abroad, and by conducting more than a half dozen educational conferences and awards shows each year.

And though based in Nashville, NSAI represents all musical genres and includes songwriters from across the United States and overseas. NSAI provides a haven for both proven and undiscovered writers—to get a cup of coffee, to make a phone call or just to receive a word of advice or consolation. To quote NSAI's motto: "IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG"—and, sometimes, it all begins over lunch.

Federal court cases[edit]

Eldred vs. Ashcroft — NSAI filed an "amicus brief" with the United States Supreme Court in a case that determined how long you and your heirs will own your copyrights. NSAI was the only songwriter organization to meet with the Justice Department attorneys, arguing the case on behalf of copyright owners. NSAI songwriter and Constitutional scholar Peter McCann researched the diaries of founding father James Madison. Madison authored Section 1, Article 8 of the United States Constitution that says: "Congress may grant, for a 'limited time', to authors and composers…" At issue was the definition of "limited time." McCann found that Madison intended for his own diaries to be published after his death by his family, FOR PROFIT! This compelling argument influenced the Supreme Court's decision in favor of copyright owners and their heirs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Admin, PlanLeft (2014-08-28). "HISTORY OF NSAI". Nashville Songwriters Association International. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  2. ^ "Mayor John Cooper And Nashville Songwriters Association International Announces Coronavirus Songwriting Online Competition". Nashville, TN Patch. 2020-05-29. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  3. ^ Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, p. 1.
  4. ^ A recovery program in Nashville, Tennessee for women who have histories of substance abuse and prostitution, 1996, Becca Stevens, p. 1.
  5. ^ Christian denominational church international charitable organization structured in a quasi-military fashion, p. 1.
  6. ^ (NCT) is the oldest professional children's theatre company in America, p. 1.

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