What’s your favorite song? Who sings it? It might come as a surprise, but many of the top songs performed by famous artists are actually written by someone else. Songwriters working hard behind the scenes often write those songs you love.
Songwriters write the lyrics and compose the music for many of the songs you listen to on a daily basis. These hard working, creative lyricists are a major part of creating the hit singles you enjoy in every genre of music – they just don’t get any credit. You might recognize a song, but you probably can’t name the songwriter who wrote it.
Many singers write their own music, but it’s quite common for the stars to also purchase and sing a catchy tune written by a songwriter. Did you know that many famous musicians started out as songwriters before they hit the mainstream? Maybe you’ve heard of Bob Dylan, Lady GaGa, or Bruno Mars? All of these now famous musicians started writing songs before they were famous.
Songwriting is perfect for music lovers who are passionate about writing songs. No formal training is necessary for this job. Most songwriters come from a musical background, have a lyrical talent, or play an instrument. Some even have a degree in music composition. Many choose songwriting because they lack the talent to make it big on their own. Others see it as an avenue to stardom.
Armed with a pen and a pad, songwriters constantly seek out inspiration. They may find song ideas in the most bizarre places – a silly slogan, an overheard conversation, a vivid daydream, a simple hike, or while watching Netflix. It’s the songwriter’s job to take the inspiration and write a catchy song with a universal message that people will enjoy. The more they write, the better their chances of success.
The hardest part about being a songwriter is getting noticed and selling your work. It’s smart to develop an online portfolio to highlight your songwriting skills. Most songwriters become members of songwriter associations where they attend workshops and music conferences where they can network with artists, music labels, and other songwriters.
The goal of a songwriter is to sell their songs to a performer or a label. They usually get paid an advanced fee and then they collect royalties too. Their songs may be performed on the radio, television, cinema, or even by rap and pop stars. If a songwriter is super successful, they may work solo or in groups directly with artists to help write a hit song.
If you want to become a songwriter, don’t quit your day job. Many talented, passionate, and dedicated songwriters never write a hit song. It’s a cool job because you can write songs while sitting on the beach with your buddies or while fully focused in a professional music studio surrounded by rock stars. It’s all about tapping into your musical creativity and hoping that someone notices your work.
Your talent and ability to sell your work will directly impact your success as a songwriter. Most songwriters make $15,000 to $110,000 per year. On average, a full time songwriter will make $40,000 per year. Some songwriters don’t ever make a penny, but they still love writing music.
If you’re passionate about music, love writing, and don’t mind being behind the scenes, then start jotting down ideas and writing songs. It’s easy to get started as a songwriter, but it may take a long time before you make any money. We look forward to hearing your songs on the radio soon. Good luck!
Quick Facts About Songwriter Jobs
Job Title: Songwriter aka Lyricist aka Composer
Office: Music Studios, Flexible Locations
Description: Write lyrics and music to be performed by others
Certifications/Education: No formal training required
Necessary Skills: Music lover
Potential Employers: Self-Employed, Music Labels, Artists
Pay: $0 to $110,000 per year