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How To Make Money As A Songwriter (Songwriting 101)

if you're interested in learning how you

can make money as a songwriter then

stick around because this tutorial is

just for you hey guys it's the relay n--

and today i'm going to be sharing with

you some of the ways that you can make

money as a songwriter before we get

started I've made you a cheat sheet to

go along with this video it will have

all of the information that I'm about to

teach you typed out so that you can

download it and print it out and have it

right in front of you I'll post a link

to that cheat sheet in the description

box down below I want to start by saying

this making money as a songwriter is

similar to making money as a painter

poet or singer

unfortunately there's no direct path

that will guarantee you a career in the

arts or as a creative person

this means that creative people will

often have to get creative in order to

turn their skill or passion into

something that makes them an income well

it is possible to go to college and even

earn a degree in songwriting even that

degree will not guarantee you a career

as a songwriter in fact that songwriting

degree won't lend you any type of paid

opportunity gig or job unless you have

an understanding of how to seek those

opportunities out songwriting degree or

no songwriting degree young or old

beginner or advanced

wherever you're at I'm going to give you

a list of potential opportunities that

you can seek out if you would like to

make money as a songwriter not only that

but I'm going to teach you how you

couldn't actually make those

opportunities a reality just to give you

a little heads up for what you're in for

I'm going to cover six different ways

that you can make money as a songwriter

however keep in mind that these are not

the only ways in fact it will most

likely do a part two of this video

somewhere down the road if you guys find

it interesting and want to learn more

one way that you can make money as a

songwriter is by becoming what's called

a staff writer a staff writer is a

songwriter who agrees to publish all of

the songs that they write with only one

music publishing company this typically

means that any lyrics or melodies or

completed songs that they write while

under contract with this music

publishing company well essentially

belong to the music publisher from that

point on they're no longer permitted to

publish those songs anywhere else as

long as they're under contract with

music publisher not all music publishers

are the same and not all staff writing

positions are the same so what I'm

teaching you are the more generalized

and common ways that staff writers and

music publishers go about their jobs

staff writers are required to write a

certain amount of songs per year which

is called a delivery requirement this

required number of songs per year is

documented within the publishing

agreement now well this might sound kind

of scarier unfair if you're wondering

why would I ever hand over my rights of

my songs to a publishing company and not

be able to publish it anywhere else that

sounds terrible there is a huge payoff

the publishing company will take the

songs that are written by the staff

writer over the course of the year and

they will promote those songs to

musicians who will hopefully then take

those songs record them perform them

which essentially will bring money back

to the staff writer by the way that

money is what we call royalties speaking

of royalties songwriters are not paid an

annual salary or even by the hour

in fact they can typically determine

their own hours and their own schedule

all that really matters is that they're

fulfilling the song delivery requirement

that they agreed to over the course of

the year rather than having an hourly

rate or an annual salary staff writers

receive what's called an advance an

advance is basically known as money to

survive on until you start making money

from your royalties okay so water boil

teas for a songwriter a royalty is a

payment received due to their song being

published performed and or licensed when

the royalty payments start coming in the

publishing company actually retrieves

the advance money that they gave to

their staff writer before the royalty

payment started coming in the publisher

may also retrieve any money that was

spent on the demos made from the songs

that the staff writer wrote once the

demo fees and the advance fees have been

withdrawn from the royalty payment then

the staff writer will receive that

royalty payment royalty payment amounts

can significantly vary depending on how

successful a song is so how does one go

about finding a job as a staff writer to

be completely honest there's no black or

white answer or any type of direct path

to becoming a staff writer it takes an

equal amount of music skills and people

skills first and foremost you will need

to build your skill as a songwriter but

just as important you will need to make

connections what do I mean when I say

make connections making connections

means that you will need to find ways to

meet publishers songwriters and

musicians who are well connected with

other publishers songwriters and

musicians who are well connected with

other publishers songwriters and

musicians if you've ever heard someone

say it's all about who you know that

person was right

you can meet publishers songwriters and

musicians by attending industry events

and writers nights as most of you might

only know one of the most common places

to find in the streets and writers

nights is Nashville but that doesn't

mean that they don't exist in other

places all it takes is a Google search

to find which ones are nearest to you

when attending industry events and or

writers nights it's important to be very

intentional about starting conversations

with publishers songwriters and

musicians this way an authentic

relationship can start to form when I

say start conversations I don't mean

approach these people with your album or

telling them how great you are or how

much you deserve to be a staff writer no

don't have an agenda

be friendly yourself start a

conversation about the weather or the

event itself if you happen to know who

that person is let's say there it will

recognize publisher or songwriter and

musician let them know that you really

admire their work not unlike us I love

you so much

kinda way but just tell them that you

appreciate the work that they've done

and maybe even mention a specific piece

of work that they've done something that

you liked about it but if this is

someone that you just met you've never

heard about ask them how their day is

going ask them what they play or what

they enjoy about songwriting or music

show an interest in that person

typically that interest will be

reciprocated and you'll most likely be

asked in return if you're a songwriter

or musician what do you do what are you

passionate about and that's when it's

appropriate to start talking about what

your interests are if it feels natural

to say that you're interested in

becoming a staff writer

then say it the main point I'm trying to

get across is to make connections with

people free of the mindset of what can

these people do for me but instead to

approach them with a genuine interest in

them and their lives to let the

relationships form organically or

naturally and what you'll see is that

over time those people will reciprocate

a genuine interest in you and will be

much more inclined to let you know if a

staff writing position opens up within

their music publishing company or if

they know somebody who needs a staff

writer on their music publishing company

publishers will be much more

to sign somebody that they know or that

someone that they trust knows rather

than hiring a complete stranger even if

that stranger is a better songwriter

than the person that they know or that

someone they trust knows now you don't

have to be a signed staff writer with a

publishing company in order to make

royalties on the songs you've written

these days nearly anybody who writes and

records their own music can publish it

on iTunes or Spotify or other music

streaming or download websites

anytime somebody downloads your song on

iTunes or strings your song on Spotify

you receive a chunk of money that that

person spent on your song that money is

a royalty if you're wondering how to get

your music on iTunes you'll need to find

an iTunes approved aggregator and iTunes

approved music aggregator is essentially

a service that collects your song or

songs and then displays them on iTunes

typically you will need to pay a

one-time fee up front as well as an

annual fee in order to keep your song or

songs on iTunes two of the most popular

music aggregators out there are tune

core and CD Baby however these are not

the only ones so I would advise you to

do a little bit of google searching

yourself to see what you can come across

once your songs are on iTunes then it

will be necessary for you to find ways

to get your audience to then head over

to iTunes and download your music

because unless they're downloading the

songs you're not gonna make any

royalties a third way to make money as a

songwriter is by licensing your songs

for TV or film what does it mean to

license a song when somebody licenses a

song from someone it means that they are

buying the rights to use that song for a

determined period of time for example if

I write a song and somebody wants to

license that song from me then they have

to pay me but in return I'm allowing

them to use that song for their film for

a determined length of time the license

itself ensures that the songwriter or

the owner of the copyright of the song

is given their share of the money based

on how that song was used the person who

is purchasing the license for the song

will have limited rights based on

whatever is stated in the contract if

you've written a song that you think

would be just perfect for television or

a film then you will need to follow a

similar process as stated when finding a

staff writing

it's all about connections so

relationships with film producers

directors and music supervisors can

really put you ahead of the game music

supervisors in particular are the ones

who make a list of all the potential

songs that a film or television show

might have however the film producers

and directors are the ones who make the

final call so how do you get the

attention of a music supervisor the best

option is to know one per family or to

know somebody who knows a music

supervisor personally or even to know

someone who knows someone who knows a

music supervisor personally I know that

that sounds like an option that can only

happen out of chance or luck but that's

not necessarily true if you surround

yourself with people in the music

industry no matter what they're doing

within the industry you are likely to

connect with somebody who would love to

help you out at some point this might

mean having to move to somewhere like

Nashville or New York or LA where it's

more saturated with musicians and

artists and filmmakers there's a higher

chance that you could meet a music

supervisor if you attend conferences or

panels or movie premieres movie

screenings but there is an alternative

if this does not sound like the path for

you there are ways to get the attention

of a music supervisor by paying a

licensing company who has already built

that relationship with music supervisors

if this sounds like something that

interests you you'll definitely want to

do some research on licensing companies

to see which one is the best fit for you

a fourth way to make money as a

songwriter is to make youtube videos

make videos where you're performing the

songs that you've written and then

monetize them so that you can make money

off of the ad revenue from the ads

placed on top of your videos of course

you will need to have a certain number

of views or maybe even subscribers

before you can monetize your videos

however I'm not gonna get into the

details of that the requirements tend to

change from time to time so I would go

ahead and look into what the current

requirements are for being able to

monetize your videos on YouTube once

your videos are monetized and I would

suggest toasting frequently and

consistently in by writing songs at

least here and there that the majority

of your audience will be able to relate

to and connect with it might take quite

a while before you see any

come coming in from the monetizing of

your videos which is why I would suggest

this to be something that you do more on

the side as you're building it and come

through other means a fifth way to make

money as a songwriter is to write custom

songs for people this is something that

I personally love to do for people who

are wanting to buy a custom song for

people's birthdays anniversaries

weddings or any type of event worth

celebrating what I did was create a

website where I have examples of the

songs I've written for other people as

well as a price breakdown with different

price options depending on what the

client wants then I set up a process

where the client is able to tell me some

of their favorite memories with that

person as well as some of the things

they most loved about that person so

that way I can make sure to really

customize the lyrics for that person to

give to somebody that they love if

you're interested in writing custom

songs for people then my first piece of

advice would be to build a website this

way you have a place to point people to

whenever they show an interest in that

service in addition you may even want to

write a few songs for free and exchange

for testimonials people love to see

testimonials so that they can feel

comfortable when spending money on a

gift my sixth and final way for today

that you can make money as a songwriter

is to perform your original music and

coffee houses restaurants or on the

streets I'm talking tip jar style

restaurants and coffee houses are not

always inclined to pay their songwriters

and that's completely fine that's up to

them but whether you're paid by them or

not you can bring a tip jar with their

permission set it out and typically

people will tip you if you're there long

enough and if you're playing skillfully

I took this route all through high

school and was able to make a pretty

decent side income if you're interested

in performing your original music at a

coffee shop restaurant or on the street

try calling some of your local coffee

shops or restaurants and asking them if

they would be interested in having you

come play if they're not that's okay

then you could totally just go play on

the streets of course if you're young

ask your parents and also make sure it's

in a safe area please be cautious and

wherever you play don't forget your tip

jar make sure it says tip jar on it well

there are certainly several other

creative ways that you can make money as

a songwriter I hope that these six that

I shared with you today are inspiring

helpful if you are considering making

songwriting your career path if you'd

like to download the cheat sheet for

this video I'll post a link to that in

the description box down below and until

next time remember to play write and

spread the light I want to start by

saying this making money great in fact I

will most likely do a part 2 down this

video down the semi-hoop from that point

on they're no longer permitted to Wow

what is the word before I move on it's

important to note that not know before I

before I go on it's important for me to

note that not I'm combining not in all

in tune all the publishing company will

take all the publishing company the

publishing company company company the

publishing co speaking of all that

really matters is that they're filling

and in advance is basically known as

money for a songwriter a royalty is

money for a songwriter a payment is a

royalty what

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