Unsigned Advice

How to Become a Paid Songwriter

How to Become a Paid Songwriter
July 2, 2018
Do you have a back catalogue of awesome songs? And you want to start earning money from them? Of course you do!

That's why we asked Rocket Songs to give us their advice when it comes to getting paid as a songwriter and outline the ways you can maximise the value of songs you have (or haven’t) written throughout your musical career.

Nearly everything in music these days spins out of the written song. Many careers are started as singer/songwriters. No matter what, in today’s fragmented landscape it’s good to know what you can do with the great songs or well-written lyrics, or what you can do with a great song others have written.

How to make money from songwriting

Sync Licensing

The sync licensing business is very popular these days. “Syncing” your songs places them into TV, film and advertising projects. You can solicit these opportunities yourself or by joining a music library. You are compensated when they are used. Learn more about joining music libraries and getting your music into TV and film here.

Publishing deals

There are many roads to this destination. Submitting songs usually through lawyers or managers to labels and publishing houses or by making a name for yourself through self-publishing/self-promotion. Once you are signed you may get a monthly advance against future royalties and get help exposing your songs. You might need to give up a share of your royalties, but it could be worth it.

How to Become a Paid Songwriter - Guitar player

Mechanical licensing

Artists across the globe are hungry for well-written songs. There are a few marketplaces where you can put your songs up for others to record. You generally see revenue when licensed, but be aware many don’t allow you to retain ownership. You can do this at Rocket Songs, a digital marketplace offering songwriters the chance to make money by exposing their quality songs to a global market of musicians.

Record and distribute

Everyone knows about this one, but we’re just going to itemise the different types of royalties that you are entitled to if you go this route: mechanical, publishing, streaming, performance and maybe even digital print royalties. Remember, you can start releasing music on Spotify, iTunes and more with Ditto Music.

What kind of songs are people looking for?

If you have a catalogue of songs you have written, think about the following before putting them into marketplaces for public consumption. Right now the industry trend in terms of most sought-after genres are:

- Pop
- Alternative pop
- Indie/alternative rock
- Hip-Hop/Pop
- Country

Also keep in mind that a lot of artists and singers looking for original songs come from overseas, where music sensibilities are slightly different. What this means is that if you have a lot of one of the aforementioned genres put a wide swath of songs up.

Finally, a note on quality. There are lots of ways to define a song’s quality: lyrics, chord progressions,  how it was engineered, production values, it’s melody, song structure and/or its lyrical quality. What we have found at Rocket Songs is that because songs are listened before licensing, the quality of the recording is particularly important when it comes to getting paid for your songs.

How to Become a Paid Songwriter - live guitar performance

Should you record a song you didn’t write?

It might not be for everyone, but recording a song you didn't right is commonplace amongst many of the world's biggest artists. Here are some of the reasons you should consider it as an option.

To Explore New Genres:

Different genres offer a new direction and an opportunity to stretch yourself creatively. If you’ve thought about dabbling in a new genre, your best bet may be to find an “outside song” and experiment.

Learning Sessions:

Every good songwriter has his/her own tricks and styles. By recording or simply studying someone else’s high-quality song you can find new tricks and trades to improve your own skill.

Something Borrowed, Something New:

For your live performances, use new “outside songs” to change up your show. More important than this, is that new songs create new experiences for your fans. Fans LOVE new sets.

Record and Release:

The reality of the music’s new streaming economy is based on hits. The more good, well-written songs the better the opportunity. You can only write so many hits, and even with someone else’s song you still can receive a great portion of the revenue, including performance, streaming and distribution royalties.

How to Become a Paid Songwriter

Music Promo
Want to get amazing distribution, industry standard features and career boosting advice? Join Ditto Music the truly independent solution for musicians.
Join Now


Get the latest unsigned advice, straight to your inbox.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Our newsletter is packed full of tips, tricks and hacks to take your music career to the next level! 

Related Posts

++ Comments

Back to top