Top 100 voting now open

This year’s top 100 artists have been revealed! 50 have been selected by you, and the remaining 50 by our team. Take a look at the list and congratulations to all our top 100 contenders. Vote for your favourite now!

What is Searchlight?

Searchlight is CBC Music’s long-running hunt for Canada’s undiscovered musical talent, judged by a combination of audience voting and a panel of celebrity judges, who represent a cross-section of the best that the Canadian music industry has to offer. Could that be you? Or a Canadian musician you know? If so, enter now.

The Prizes

This year, CBC Music has partnered with the Juno Awards to search for that one artist or band that could be a Juno Award winner very soon. The Searchlight 2020 grand prize includes the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class and Juno Awards experience, a week in a recording studio at the National Music Centre in Calgary and a chance to perform at the 2020 CBC Music Festival.


CBC Music’s Searchlight 2020 Contest (“Contest”)

From Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. ET to Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. ET (“Contest Period”)

Entry submission period begins on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 12:01 am ET and ends Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 2:59p.m. ET
(“Submission Period”)

Organized by

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”) 

and with

Canadian Association of the Recording Arts (“CARAS”)


National Music Centre (“NMC”)

(hereinafter referred to as “Sponsor/Prize Provider”) 


No purchase required. This Contest is open to Canadian residents only and is governed by Canadian law.

To enter the Contest, visit the CBC website at ("Website") and submit during the Submission Period, an Entry Form including your own audio or video recording of yourself (“Artist”) or your band, your choir or your group (“Band”) performing an original song composition (original words and music composed by you/your band/choir/group) (“Your Song”), your address (see below), the Artist name and each Band member name (as applicable) and any other information requested on the Entry Form, and “click” to accept the Contest Rules. 

Submission of an entry to the Contest signifies that you have read and agree to the Contest Rules. By submitting an entry to the Contest through the Website or any other electronic platform, you agree that the act of submitting the entry to the Contest is a binding form of your electronic signature, which you agree binds you to these Contest Rules.

Questions marked with an asterisk or otherwise indicated as mandatory are required to be eligible for the Contest. Answers to questions not marked with an asterisk on an entry form are appreciated, but not required to participate in the Contest.

To be valid, entries must be received by no later than Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 2:59:00 p.m ET.

Limit of one entry per Artist/Band during the Contest Period. If you attempt or are suspected of attempting to enter more than the authorized amount, or use robotic, automatic, programmed or any other methods of participation not authorized by these Rules, it shall be deemed as tampering and will void your entries, votes or other results of such participation.

You must have the permission from all Band members (and their parent/guardian if under the age of majority in your province) to enter Your Song in the Contest.

No submissions will be accepted after the above deadlines for any reason. Any entries received after the above deadlines will be void.

Your Entry

Your entry includes any and all content you contribute, post (text, photo, drawing, etc.), hashtag or otherwise submit in connection with the Contest.

Your Song cannot be modified, changed or substituted once the Entry Form has been submitted.

To enter, you will need to upload your song to your own YouTube account.

Once entered, any editing or deletion of the YouTube video will void your entry. The video cannot be edited or changed after the entry has been submitted.

Your Song should be less than 10 minutes in length and must be of a quality fit for radio play. 

Your Song must be an original composition (words and music) by the Artist/Band and performed by the Artist/Band and must not infringe on any third party rights.

You declare that your Submission (which includes Your Song as well as all information submitted as part of your Entry Form) is true, accurate and legal, particularly with regard to third party rights including copyright, rights to image, reputation and privacy, the Criminal Code and any other legislation applicable in such matters.

You represent and warrant to CBC that you hold all of the required rights and authorizations to the content you submit to CBC. You have consent from any identifiable people appearing in your entry (including parental consent for minors) and all authorizations required to grant the license specified hereafter to CBC. You agree to comply with standards of proper conduct in your Submission, Your Song, as specified in the Submission Guidelines available on the site. CBC reserves the right to decide whether to post Your Song, at its sole discretion.

The following kind of content is prohibited:

  1. Offensive and likely to expose an individual or a group of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability 

  2. Pornography, vulgarity, obscenity or sexually explicit content

  3. Anything illegal

  4. Hate speech

  5. Threats, harassment

  6. Threats or suggesting committing a criminal act

  7. Profane, libelous, defamatory, threatening, insulting or promoting any activities that may be illegal, inappropriate, unsafe, dangerous, or socially irresponsible

  8. Attempts to mobilise people for any purpose outside of a CBC event

  9. When the Contest is hosted on social media platforms, anything that does not comply with the Terms of Service and Rules of such social media platforms

  10. Infringement upon any person’s, entity’s or organization’s personal or proprietary rights, including but not limited to, intellectual property rights. For greater certainty, your entry may be ineligible (in CBC sole discretion) if it contains a third party’s copyright, trademarks or logos

  11. Violates any law in Canada and/or

  12. Defamatory, misrepresented or disparaging remarks about CBC/Sponsor/Prize Provider or any other company, brand or person or and of their products 

Any entry deemed by CBC to be in violation of the above prohibitions or is otherwise inappropriate, will be disqualified by CBC in its sole and absolute discretion. 

All content submitted to CBC will not be returned to you. 

By submitting content to CBC in connection with this Contest, you grant CBC and Sponsor/Prize Provider a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide license to publish, reproduce and distribute the content in all media, on all platforms and by any other means of communication they control or authorize in connection with this Contest and CBC contest promotion. You waive all moral rights to the content when used for these purposes. You authorize CBC and Sponsor/Prize Provider to use your name, image and voice, in their sole discretion, in conjunction with the use of your entry. Collective agreement provisions may apply. The list of winner(s) and winning entry/ies may be posted on the CBC and Sponsor/Prize Provider platforms for an indefinite period after the close of the Contest.

By entering the Contest, you agree to the use of Your Song as part of CBC’s on-line broadcast programs, such as podcasting, that may be digitally transmitted to a user and intended for 'on demand' streaming or time-shifted playback and/or storage (without the ability to manipulate or otherwise control Your Song embodied in these programs). You also agree that CBC has the right to use Your Song for broadcast on TV, radio and online, and that this does not and will not infringe the rights of any third party including, but not limited to copyright, trademark, privacy and personality rights. By entering this contest, you agree to the waiver, rules and regulations as stated here and grant to CBC an unlimited mechanical copyright license, to the extent required, to reproduce Your Song for these purposes.

For the avoidance of doubt, you will retain all ownership rights in and to Your Song, subject to any agreement entered into with CBC stating otherwise. You understand that Your Song may be shared by you and others on the Internet through social media or otherwise and that CBC is not responsible and cannot control such redistribution.

If the Artist/Band is represented by a music label, the Artist/Band must have the consent of the label and the label must agree that the Artist/Band may consent to the terms of the Contest. It is Artist/Band’s responsibility for obtaining this consent.


Contest is open to all Canadian residents (to be eligible, the majority of Band members must be Canadian residents) aged 13 or older as of the Contest opening date. 

In cases where the Contest is open to a contestant who has not reached the age of majority in their province (a “minor”), parent or guardian consent is necessary to enter the Contest and participate in the prize. Parent/guardian will be responsible for minor’s participation in the prize. Where appropriate, the terms “contestant” and “winner” mean parent or guardian of the minor.

If a minor contestant has not received consent to enter the Contest or a minor winner does not have parental/guardian consent to participate in the prize, or, where applicable, does not have a parent/guardian to accompany them in the prize, the entry shall be invalid.

The following individuals are not eligible: 

  1. employees of CBC during the Contest Period

  2. CBC personalities on air anytime between the start of the Contest Period and up until the prize is awarded 

  3. employees of Sponsor/Prize Provider and their respective affiliates;

  4. members of the Judging Panel; and

  5. any of the above persons’ immediate family (father/mother, brother/sister (including step brother/sister, half-brother/sister), son/daughter) and persons living under the same roof.

  6. Where an entry is made on behalf of a group (i.e. class entry, school entry) which includes a person mentioned above, such group’s entry may be allowed by CBC in its sole discretion. Any Band member not listed in the Entry Form and performing on Your Song will not be considered eligible for the Contest.


There are 3 rounds of the Contest: 

Round 1: Opening Round (Tuesday, February 4 - Thursday, February 13, 2020); 

Round 2: the Longlist / Top 100 (Wednesday, February 19 - Tuesday, February 25, 2020); 

Round 3: the Shortlist / Top 10 (Thursday, February 27 - Tuesday, March 3, 2020);

FINAL: Grand Prize Winner announced (Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 10 a.m. ET).

Winners of Round 1 (the “Opening Round”) and Winners of Round 2 (the “Longlist”)will automatically move on to the next round. Winners of Round 3 (the “Shortlist”) will be contacted and must be willing and eligible to accept the prize. One (1) Grand Prize winner (the “Grand Prize Winner”) will be awarded from the Shortlist. Winners will be determined based on the results of a judging panel decision, as further described below. 


Once accepted as an eligible Submission, Your Song will be posted on the Website (the “Posted Songs”), and will be subject to public voting beginning on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. ET until Thursday, February 13, 2020, at 2:59 p.m. ET (the “Opening Round Voting Period”).

The public can vote once per Posted Song per calendar day during the Opening Round Voting Period. 

Round 1 Posted Songs will also be evaluated by a judging panel comprised of CBC Music representatives (the “CBC Music Judging Panel”) based on the “Judging Criteria” (set out below). 

There are up to 50 Longlist positions available to be awarded from the CBC Music Judging Panel decision based on the Judging Criteria (as described below) and up to 50 Longlist positions available to be awarded based on public voting results.

At the end of the Opening Round Voting Period, the 50 Posted Songs with the highest scores from the CBC Music Judging Panel, and the 50 Posted Songs with the most public votes, will automatically advance to the Round 2: the Longlist.

The number of Submissions to make the next round of the Contest may be less than 100, and will be determined by CBC in its sole discretion.

ROUND 2: the Longlist 

Once announced as a Round 1: Opening Round winner, Your Song will be posted for the Longlist Round on the Website (the “Longlist Round Songs”) and will be subject to public voting from Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET until Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 2:59 p.m. ET (the “Longlist Round Voting Period”).

The public can vote once per Longlist Song per calendar day during the Longlist Voting Period. Longlist Songs will also be evaluated by a judging panel comprised of judges from CBC Music and judges selected by CBC Music (the “Searchlight Industry Judging Panel”) based on the Judging Criteria.

There are 7 Shortlist Round positions available to be awarded from the Searchlight Industry Judging Panel decision based on Judging Criteria (as described below) and 3 Shortlist Round positions available to be awarded based on public voting results.

At the end of the Longlist Voting Period, the seven (7) Longlist Songs with the highest scores from the Searchlight Industry Judging Panel, and the three (3) Longlist Songs with the most public votes will automatically advance to the next round of the Contest (Round 3: the Shortlist).

ROUND 3: the Shortlist

Once announced as a winner of Round 2: the Longlist, Your Song will be subject to judging by the Searchlight Industry Judging Panel from Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET until Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 2:59 p.m. ET (the “Shortlist Round Voting Period”).

The one (1) Shortlist Song with the highest scores from the Searchlight Industry Judging Panel, and, subject to meeting all eligibility criteria and requirements, will be the Grand Prize Winner.

Winners will be contacted using the telephone number or e-mail address provided in the Entry Form on March 4 or 5th. If a winner cannot be reached within 48 hours following the first attempt of contact, declines the prize, is unable to fully participate as the Grand Prize Winner, fails to return the required release forms, or is otherwise ineligible, the offer will be forfeited and CBC has the right, at its sole discretion, to select another Grand Prize Winner.

FINAL: Grand Prize Winner announced

There is one (1) Grand Prize available to be awarded (as described below), based on the Searchlight Judging Panel’s decision using the Searchlight Judging Criteria. 

The Grand Prize Winner (the winner of the Round 3: the Shortlist) will be announced on CBC Radio 1’s q, on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Judging Panels and Judging Criteria

For all judging portions of the Contest, the selected judges will give Your Song a score out of 10 using the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”): 

-General impression of the song

-Quality of music and lyric composition


-Potential for success in Canadian music industry

Every judging panel will, in its sole discretion, determine the amount of attention it pays to any individual Submission. In the event of a tie (public voting or judging scores), the winner of the tie will be decided by the judging panel of that contest round, in its sole discretion.


The Grand Prize Winner will receive (the “Grand Prize”):

  1. A spot in the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class artist development program from October 18, 2020 to October 23, 2020 at Coalition Music in Toronto, Ontario ( the “Master Class”) (Approximate value: $100,000). Includes, for up to four Band members:

    1. return economy airfare from the major Canadian airport closest to the Band members’ home origin to the city location of the 2021 JUNO Awards,

    2. Accommodations in that city at a hotel to be chosen by CARAS in its sole discretion, 

    3. a JUNO Weekend package, including tickets to the JUNO Welcome Reception, the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards, and the 2021 JUNO Awards Broadcast

    1. Master Class registration fees, return economy airfare from the major Canadian airport closest to the Band members’ home origin to Toronto to attend the Master Class, accommodations at a hotel to be chosen by the CARAS in its sole discretion, and a per diem.

    2. Daily Master Class workshops with industry leaders and Canadian artists (chosen by Master Class organizers). 

    3. A performance spot at a music industry showcase night in Toronto. Dates and location TBA.

    4. A trip to the 2021 JUNO Awards (dates TBA). The trip includes:

    5. Performance slot at 2021 JUNOfest, the two-day music festival taking place during JUNO Week

    6. Appearance in mini-docs profiling the Master Class participants’ experience in the Master Class, to run on

    7. The opportunity to be considered (at the sole discretion of Master Class organizers) for a performance spot at the 2021 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. 

  2. A 5 day (four-night) residency at the National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary, Alberta for up to four Band members (the “Residency”). The Residency includes: access to the NMC’s recording facilities for 5 consecutive days for up to 10 hours each day; access to an engineer, a technical assistant, and to the NMC’s instrument collection; return economy airfare from the major Canadian airport closest to the Band members’ home origin to Calgary, and; accommodations in Calgary at a hotel to be chosen by NMC in its sole discretion. The Residency must be initiated by November 30, 2020. (approximate value of prize: $27,000)

  3. A performance slot at the Festival at Echo Beach in Toronto, Ontario on May 30, 2020, with compensation pursuant to the terms of CBC’s collective agreements with the Canadian Federation of Musicians (the “CBC/CFM Agreement”) or ACTRA (“CBC/ACTRA Agreement”), as applicable. For up to 4 Band members, includes return economy airfare from the nearest major Canadian airport to the Band’s home origin to Toronto, transfers to and from the Toronto airport, and double accommodation at a hotel to be chosen by CBC in its sole discretion. (approximate value: $10,000)

Grand Prize Winner must be available and willing to participate in all the dates and activities as set out in the Grand Prize description above.


5.1 To be declared a winner of a prize as a result of a random draw, the selected contestant must first correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing question.

5.2 By entering the Contest, you:

  1. declare you have read, agree to and have complied with the Contest Rules;

  2. declare you meet all criteria to enter the Contest and to accept and participate in the prize (if awarded); 

  3. agree that subject to the accuracy of the response to the mathematical skill-testing question, if you are the winner of a prize, you agree to accept the prize as provided by CBC/Sponsor/Prize Provider;

  4. consent and agree that your name, city/province of residence, image, statements and/or voice and your entry may be shared with Sponsor/Prize Provider and may be used for promotional and other purposes related to this Contest free of charge by CBC/Sponsor/Prize Provider;

  5. your heirs, your successors and your assigns, release CBC and any Sponsor/Prize Provider as well as its/their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, consultants, agents, volunteers and employees (the “Contest Parties”) from all liability for any damages, compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential or otherwise arising from your participation in this Contest, the use of your entry, and from the awarding, acceptance or use of the prize (if awarded). 

  1. If the prize allows the winner to be accompanied by one or more people anyone accompanying the winner in connection with the prize shall sign a release agreeing that their name, image and/or voice may be used for advertising purposes related to this Contest free of charge, and releasing the Contest Parties from all liability for any damage or loss arising from use of the prize.

  2. The prize shall be accepted as is and may not be exchanged or refunded for an amount of money, sold or transferred. No substitutions will be allowed. Any portion of a prize not used for any reason will be forfeited.

  3. If the prize cannot be awarded as described in these Rules, the Contest Parties reserve the right to substitute a prize or prize component with another of comparable value, as determined in their sole discretion. In no event will CBC or Sponsor be liable for more than the stated number of prizes available to be awarded.

  4. Refusal to accept the prize or a portion of the prize releases the Contest Parties from any obligation toward the winner with respect to that prize/portion of the prize. 

  5. In the event of a dispute or complaint regarding whether an entry contravenes the Contest Rules, entries will be deemed to have been submitted in accordance with the Contest Rules, by the authorized account holder of the account used to submit the applicable entry. You may be required to provide proof (in a form acceptable to CBC) that you are the authorized account holder of the account used to submit the applicable entry and, if applicable, that you have all necessary consents, permissions and/or licenses as required by these Contest Rules. If CBC determines (in its sole discretion) that an entry contravenes the Contest Rules, the entry will be automatically disqualified from the Contest.

  6. The decisions of the CBC with respect to all aspects of this Contest are final and binding on all entrants without right of appeal, including, without limitation, any decisions regarding the eligibility/disqualification of entrants and/or entries.

  7. CBC reserves the right to amend the Contest Rules or to terminate the Contest at any time without any liability to any contestant. Any amendments to these Contest Rules will be posted on the Website. Without limiting the foregoing, CBC reserves the right to, without prior notice, adjust any of the dates and/or time frames stipulated in these Contest Rules, to the extent necessary, as a result of any technical or other problems, or in light of any other circumstances which, in the opinion of the CBC, in its sole and absolute discretion, affect the proper administration of the Contest as contemplated in these Contest Rules, or for any other reason.

  8. For the award of a prize by voting method, CBC reserves the right to cancel any vote deemed unlawful or illegitimate and to make adjustments accordingly in calculating the number of votes received by the participant.

  9. The Contest Parties assume no liability for any loss, damage or injury, including without limitation: (i) lost, stolen, delayed, damaged, misdirected, late, destroyed, illegible or incomplete entries; (ii) loss, theft or damage to software or computer or telephone data, including any breach of privacy; (iii) fraudulent calls; (iv) inability of any person to participate in the Contest for any reason including but not limited to: mistaken addresses on mail or e-mail; technical, computer or telephone malfunctions or other problems with computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, or software; lost, late, incomplete, illegible, incomprehensible or misdirected entries; bugs, failures in services, hardware or software transmission failure or loss, delayed or corrupted data transmission; congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination of the foregoing; (v) damage to any person’s computer, including as a result of playing or downloading any material relating to the Contest; (vi) any delay or inability to act resulting from an event or situation beyond their control, including a strike, lockout or other labour dispute at their location or the locations of the organizations and businesses whose services are used to administer this Contest; (vii) prizes that are lost, damaged or misdirected during shipping; (viii) loss, damage, defects, or inability to use the prize once awarded to the winner for any reason whatsoever.

  10. Social media or other platforms used for this Contest, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, consultants, agents, volunteers and employees shall not be responsible for any damages, compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential or otherwise, with respect to or in any way arising from damages to participants occasioned by participating in the Contest or downloading any information associated with the Contest. 

  11. You agree that in your use of social media or other platforms for this Contest, including but not limited to chat areas, and the registration and use of social media accounts, user names or group names, you will not use obscene, libelous or slanderous language, or language which infringes upon a third party’s trademark, trade name or other intellectual property right or right to privacy.

  12. Contestants found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Contest, including but not limited to acting in violation of these Rules, attempting to participate in the Contest more than the maximum number of times allowed, acting with the intent to disrupt the normal operation of this Contest, as determined by CBC, will be disqualified. The discovery of any use of robotic, automatic, macro, programmed, third party or like methods to participate in the Contest will void any attempted participation effected by such methods and the disqualification of the contestant utilizing the same in CBC's sole and absolute discretion.

  13. When the Contest Rules allow entry via Facebook, Twitter or any other social network, the terms of use of these social networks apply and the social network, as well as its directors and officers, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with the Contest. 

  14. CBC reserves the right to cancel or suspend this Contest in its sole discretion for any reason including but not limited to corruption of the security or proper administration of the Contest as a result of a bug, virus, tampering or other cause. Any attempt to deliberately damage any website or to undermine the legitimate operation of this Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, CBC reserves the right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent permitted by law, including criminal prosecution. 

  15. Personal information collected at the point of entry, such as your name, age and contact information, is collected by CBC and will be stored and used by CBC and the Sponsor/Prize Provider or their representatives solely for the purposes of administering this Contest as well as for any other purpose you may have opted into at the time of entry. By providing your personal information, you expressly consent to these terms. Please see CBC’s privacy policy at CBC is not responsible for the privacy policies of the Sponsor/Prize Provider or their representatives. 

  16. If the identity of a contestant is disputed, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry will be deemed to be the contestant. The individual assigned to the e-mail address for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address is considered the authorized account holder. A selected contestant may be required to provide proof that (s)he is the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with the selected entry. All entries must be submitted from a valid e-mail account that may be identified by reverse domain name search. The sole determinant of time for the purposes of receipt of a valid entry in this Contest will be the Contest server.

  17. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. All entries that are incomplete, illegible, damaged, irregular, have been submitted through illicit means, using any robotic, automatic programmed method that artificially increases the odds of winning or do not conform to or satisfy any condition of the rules may be disqualified by the CBC. CBC is not responsible for any errors or omissions in printing or advertising this Contest.

  18. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between these Contest Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest-related materials, including, but not limited to: website and/or point of sale, television, print or online advertising; French version of these Contest Rules, and/or any instructions or interpretations of these Contest Rules given by any representative of CBC or the Sponsor/Prize Provider or the CBC Terms of Use, the terms and conditions of these Contest Rules shall prevail, govern and control to the fullest extent permitted by law.

  19. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Contest Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Contest Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and shall be construed in accordance with the terms as if such provision were not contained herein.

  20. By entering, you agree to abide by the Contest Rules and the decisions of CBC, Sponsor/Prize Provider and/or the Judging Panel, which decisions are final and binding on all contestants.

  21. The Contest shall be deemed to be entered into pursuant to, and your agreement to enter and abide by the rules of the Contest shall be construed, performed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the Province of Ontario and the federal laws of Canada applicable therein. By your submission of the registration form you agree to attorn to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Ontario.

If you have any accessibility requirements or special needs in relation to this Contest, please contact the contest coordinator, as noted below. 

January 10, 2020

Kai Black

Executive Producer, CBC Music