Searchlight 2020: F.A.Q.

Do you have a question about entering Searchlight? Find the answers here.

Do you have a question about entering Searchlight? Find the answers here

Submission period starts on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 2:59 p.m. ET. (CBC Music)

Find all the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Searchlight below.

How do I enter Searchlight?

Registration for Searchlight 2020 is now closed. In order to enter, you need to upload your song to your own YouTube page as part of the submission process. Once it is uploaded, you can fill out a submission form here.

My video is on YouTube, but not on my account. Can I still enter?

To enter, you must be the owner of the YouTube account where the song exists, or the song must be uploaded on behalf of your record label. If your song is deleted on YouTube after you have entered, this will void your entry. It is important to perform the upload yourself and ensure that your video cannot be tampered with, or be in an agreement with a label who is managing your songs for you.

I don't have a YouTube account. How do I create one?

First, you will need to have your Google account ready. If you don't have a Google account or are not sure and would like to check, click on "Create an account on YouTube." Once you can log into your account, go to YouTube, where you will find the option to "Create Account" where you log in.

Once you have created your YouTube account, upload your video using the steps provided via the "Upload videos" page.

I don't have a video, can I upload a song?

There are a number of tools available to help you create your entry. All that you'll need is an image of your band, an MP3 file and your YouTube account.

Please go to audioship to upload your song.

There are step-by-step instructions that will guide you through logging into your Google account, selecting your YouTube account, uploading your MP3 file and uploading your band image.

Once this has been completed, you can fill out the entry form, located at

I don't have any original songs, can I submit a cover?

Unfortunately not. Only an original song that you or someone in your band wrote (lyrics and music) is acceptable this year.

Can I enter if I already have a record deal?

Yes, but your label must consent to our rules and regulations in order for you to do so. The onus is on you to ensure you are not breaking any copyright laws by entering.

Do I lose rights to my song?

No, the song will always be yours. By entering, you agree to our rules and regulations, though, which allows the CBC to use your song for broadcast and editorial purposes.

Where can I find the rules and regulations?

You can read the fine print about this year's Searchlight contest here.

Help! I found a problem with my entry, can I change it?

If you have found a problem with your entry, we are not able to make any changes to it. You will need to re-enter with the correct information before the submission deadline, and contact us at to have the incorrect entry removed from the contest before voting starts. Please be warned that the link for sharing and voting will change so be careful before you share the link with your fans!

Why should I ask people to vote for my song?

Because advancing in the contest will be partially based on popular vote. The rest of the artists who advance in Searchlight — and the ultimate winner — will be determined by a judging panel. Use your social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and ask people to vote for your song. Don't forget to tag it #Searchlight2020, but don't worry if you don't have a big social reach — the judges will be listening for great songs throughout.

How can I vote?

To vote you will need to go to our voting site where all the entries are listed under "Artist Entries." Each video will have a button to vote, along with options to share the page on social media. Our hashtag this year is #Searchlight2020. You can also tag us @cbcmusic to let us know who you're voting for. 

How often can people vote?

You will be able to vote once per day, and our voting platform resets every day at 12 a.m. PT.

Can people vote from anywhere in the world?


I'm an artist entered in Searchlight. How can I send a direct link to my entry to my fans?

Every entry has a direct link option. Click on the "Tweet" button on your video page and that will generate a link, which you can copy and paste to use in other applications.

Can I submit a co-written song, even if the co-writer is not part of my band?

Yes, as long as the song belongs to you.

Who decides if my song goes through?

In the opening rounds, your song will continue onward with a combination of audience votes and input from CBC Music producers. In the national top 10 round, our celebrity judges will decide the ultimate winner.

How long do I have to enter my song?

Song submissions open on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at midnight and close on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, at 2:59 p.m. ET.

So I entered Searchlight. Where does my music go from here?

Our radio producers will be sharing your music with CBC Radio One stations across Canada, as well as with CBC Music, CBC-TV programs and CBC digital. From there, our celebrity judges, CBC Music producers and music industry professionals across Canada will be listening to your music.

When will the winner of Searchlight be announced?

The winner will be announced on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at approximately 10 a.m. ET.

What will the winner of Searchlight get?

The winning artist(s) of Searchlight 2020 will receive a prestigious placement at the week-long 2020 Allan Slaight Juno Master Class in Toronto, as well as an industry showcase to cap your week. The winning artist(s) will also win a trip to the 2021 Juno Awards to perform at JunoFest and take in all the festivities, including the awards show. As well, the winning group/musician will win a week-long recording residency at Studio Bell in the National Music Centre in Calgary. Finally, the artist(s) will win a performance at the 2020 CBC Music Festival at Echo Beach in Toronto.

Can I enter in more than one of my bands?

While we understand how busy a Canadian musician can be, we ask that you only enter Searchlight 2020 one time, with one band.

Can we submit more than one song?

We're sure you have tons of great tunes, but we ask that you only submit your very best original song for Searchlight 2020.

Can we use backing tracks?


What do you mean by "Juno-ready?"

It is the hope of CBC Music, along with our partners at the Juno Awards, that the Searchlight 2020 winner is prepared, ready and fully committed to embark on a long music career, with a strong foundation already in place: a very good original song entry, a strong social media following, touring experience and the potential to be a Juno winner within a year or two of winning Searchlight.

Are there any hashtags we can use to promote our song once it is published?

Yes, please use #Searchlight2020 in your tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, and feel free to tag us in any of those posts, too!

Twitter: @CBCMusic
Instagram: @CBC_Music
Facebook: CBC Music

Are there any key dates I need to keep in mind?

Yes! See below.

Submission period: starts on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 2:59 p.m. ET.

  • Round 1: voting begins on all eligible songs on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. ET and ends Thursday, Feb. 13 at 2:59 p.m. ET.
  • Round 2: voting begins on the top 100 on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 3 p.m. ET and ends on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 2:59 p.m. ET.
  • Round 3: judges vote on the top 10 from Thursday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m. ET until Tuesday, March 3, at 2:59 p.m. ET.
  • Final: the grand prize winner will be announced on q on Thursday, March 5, at 10 a.m. ET.

How do I know I've successfully submitted my entry?

Once you get to the confirmation screen of our entry form, you will have successfully entered. 

How long does it take for my entry to appear on the Artist Entries page?

Once you have successfully submitted your entry it will appear on the Artist Entries page within 24 hours.

Can I edit my entry once it's submitted?

No. If your entry has an error in it we cannot edit any information in it. Instead, please submit a new entry form and email us at to let us know we should delete your first entry.

Why is my name displayed incorrectly?

If you are entering under a band name, please make sure you enter it in the "First Name" field on our entry form and leave the "Last Name" field blank. Some users have reported problems with their browsers auto-filling their names into these fields, so please be sure to check this hasn't happened before you hit the submit button.

I have a question that has not been answered here. Who can I contact?

Send us an email at:

Enter Searchlight 2020 now!