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How to Earn Money Writing Songs

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 7

Songwriters are an interesting bunch. They write songs whether they get paid to do it or not. The following tips are a few ways you can make money from your songs.

Things You Will Need

Great songs and the drive to succeed

Step 1

Find a reputable publisher to help you exploit your songs. If you have a great publisher, they can make some pretty amazing things happen, and if they believe in your songs, they will expend effort in each of the steps below on your behalf, but whether you have a publisher or not, it is helpful for you to participate in each of the following activities.

Step 2

Find an artist or band who is interested in recording your song on a CD, or even for web play. One way songwriters make money is through "mechanical Royalties". These are your share of money each time a copy of the song has been sold. If your song is included on a CD with multiple songs, you still get paid every time a CD is sold. Help the band make sure that the CD or song is available on CDs or download cards to be sold at every performance. Also help the band make sure the song is available for sale at music stores, both physical and virtual stores.

Step 3

Get radio and Internet play of your song. Each time a song is "performed", whether on the radio, internet, or in a live performance, you theoretically get paid. I say theoretically because the formulas for paying songs for performances are most generally done using statistical measuring, as well as some stations that actually report the play of your song. To collect performance fees, you will need to join one of the Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) and make sure your songs are registered with them. In the United States, the Performing Rights Organizations are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC . They collect the money for performances and distribute it to publishers and songwriters. See the URLs in the "Resources" section below.

Step 4

Get your song placed in a movie soundtrack. The movie company pays a fee for a synchronization license to include your song in the movie.

Step 5

Register your songs with CCLI if they are likely to be used in church settings. CCLI is another route to earn money from songwriting. See the URL in the "Resources" section below.

Step 6

Enter your songs in contests. Contest prizes are another way you can earn money writing songs.

Step 7

Write songs for hire for commercial jingles and other places that use specifically created songs.

Step 8

Apply to special award programs at your PRO. Sometimes they have programs to help songwriters earn money with their songs even if they aren't performed in traditional performance channels.

Step 9

Get your song performed on TV. If you write a song that is performed on a national TV show, you will definitely earn money from writing songs. If you write a song that is performed on the Oprah show, you will earn a lot of money, both directly from that performance, but also because other people will hear your song and want it for themselves (by buying it) or other publishers will want to place your song in other venues.

Step 10

Be sure you keep track of your earnings and expenses because you will need to report them on your income tax.
There is nothing quite like the thrill of hearing your song on the radio, or in a movie, or printed on a piece of sheet music. It takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and the right knowledge. Hopefully this article provided a bit of knowledge. Get busy!

Tips & Warnings

TIPS - - - It is REALLY hard to write a great song. It is REALLY hard to place the song in venues that pay. Be persistent, and keep writing songs, and keep working on placing your songs. These are only a few sample ways to earn money writing songs. Keep your eyes open for other things you can do. WARNINGS - - - Make sure you (or your publisher) have registered your copyrights. Beware of unscrupulous people.


Dec 4, 2009 4:49am
Good steps for writing songs for money!
Feb 21, 2010 1:13pm
Great article! I always wanted to be a songwriter growing up!:)
Feb 21, 2010 3:31pm
It's not too late! Good luck!
Jun 27, 2010 8:10am
Great article with excellent information. Nicely written in an easy to understand format. A++!!
Jun 27, 2010 11:56am
Wow - thanks so much! I wish you well in your songwriting and other endeavors!
Jun 12, 2011 3:25pm
As a teenager I wrote songs or rather the words for songs. Perhaps in the midst of moving (where I am in life right now) I will find those folders. Songwriting is someting I always wanted to do and suceed at.

I just noted this comment is almost a year after you published this article.
You should let us know the songs you wrote! I may be speaking to a celebrity!
Nov 8, 2011 3:04pm

I hope you do find your folders and do some songwriting.

Well, maybe I'm a celebrity, maybe I'm not, but certainly not for my songwriting.

Looking forward to hearing your songs!
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