What does a songwriter do? A songwriter writes songs for people to perform or buy. It is one of the most creative jobs. There are many different jobs that range from writing pop hits to collaborating with established artists on their next albums. If you want to be a solo artist or work in music companies, here are the ins and outs of songwriting!
What does a songwriter do?
Songwriting is the process of writing the music and lyrics for a song. A songwriter writes songs for people to perform or buy.
Songwriting is a very creative job and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question. Most songwriters perform their own music and might also write songs for other artists.
The songwriting process
The songwriting process usually begins with an idea. The songwriter might get the idea for a song from something they heard, saw, or experienced. They might also get inspired by other songs.
Once the songwriter has an idea, they start thinking about what the song is about and what kind of feeling they want to create. They then start writing the music and lyrics.
The music for a song is usually written by playing chords and melodies on a guitar, piano, or other instruments. The songwriter might also use a software program to help them write the music.
Coming up with Musical Ideas
There are many different techniques a songwriter can use to come up with musical ideas. Some of the most common techniques are listed below:
- Listening to music: A songwriter can get inspiration for their own songs by listening to other songs. They might listen to songs from different genres or artists.
- Watching movies: A songwriter can get inspiration for their songs by watching movies. They might watch a movie and then write a song about the characters or the story.
- Writing down ideas: A songwriter can write down their ideas for songs when they have them. They might write down the name of the song, the lyrics, or the music.
- Jamming with friends: A songwriter can jam with their friends and write songs out of the jams.
- Collaborating: A songwriter might collaborate with other musicians and create new songs together.
How a Songwriter Creates Lyrics
The lyrics for a song are usually written by thinking about what the song is about and what kind of feeling the songwriter wants to create.
The lyrics might also be inspired by things the songwriter hears, sees, or experiences. A songwriter usually writes the lyrics for a song after they have finished writing the music.
There are many different techniques that a songwriter can use to create lyrics for their songs. One technique is to sing gibberish and make up words until the right ones come to mind.
Lyric-writing techniques include:
- Singing placeholder ‘gibberish‘ until the right idea comes to mind
- “Writing what you know”
The songwriter usually starts by thinking about what the song is about and different emotions that might fit the feeling of the music.
Then they start to write lyrics using rhyme schemes, metaphors, and word choices that help create the emotion they want. Once the lyrics are written, the songwriter might revise them a few times before heading into the recording studio.
How Songwriters Record their Music
Songwriters use their smartphones, notepads, and journals, and written notes to remember their ideas. Inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time!
Songwriters can then record their songs at home on their own computer with their own gear. These days, home recording equipment is much more affordable than it used to be. Many professional recordings have been recorded and produced in home studios.
If the song is for an artist other than themselves, they might email or send recorded versions of it to the artist. The artist can further develop the idea. The songwriter may then go into a professional studio and work with a producer to create a more polished version of the song.
Writing songs for other artists
If the songwriter wants someone else to perform their song, they might give the recording to a music publishing company or a record label.
The music publishing company and record label might also want to meet the songwriter. If they like their songs, they may offer them a contract. If the song is good enough, one of these companies or labels might give it to an artist who will perform it.
The artist will add their own style when they sing it and add their own arrangement. When they record their version of the song, it is called “covering” the song.
Working with a Music Producer
Songwriters work with music producers because recording music can be very technically challenging. The music producer often has the engineering skills to create a high-quality audio recording. Their technical skills also contribute to the song through the use of effects, samples, drum machine loops, and other techniques.
The role of a music producer can vary depending on their relationship with the artist and songwriter. They often have a big influence on the sound or genre of music that the songwriter is going for.
The producer might also help to arrange the song, suggest changes, and add instrumentation. The finished version of a song might be very different than the original idea after working with a producer!
Sometimes songwriters will come into the studio with incomplete ideas or only a rough sketch. Together with the producer, they can finish a song that might never have been completed otherwise.
A music producer might be called a musical director in various industries such as television or film. They help select which songs will be used in any given scene or production based on what they know about how the scenes fit together. In other words, they curate music for other artists to use in their creations.
The Recording Process
The recording process usually begins when the artist comes to the recording studio. Many times the songwriter will also be the artist. In some genres, such as Country music, it’s common for the songwriter to be someone other than the artist. Together, they work with the songwriter or producer to come up with musical ideas.
They might play their part of the song for them so they can guide them through the rest of it. Then, if there are other instruments involved, like strings, drums, or other musicians, they’ll record their own parts.
The songwriter and producer will then listen to the parts everyone recorded and try to make them fit together. They might change some of the levels of any tracks so that the volume is balanced with all the other instruments. After they are satisfied, there might be another round of recordings or mixing before the song is finished.
The Business of Songwriting
A songwriter’s business can grow by getting their songs placed in TV shows and movies. If a songwriter has a good relationship with a music producer, the producer can help them get their songs placed in different media.
The songwriter’s business might also grow if they have a good relationship with an artist. The artist might want to use the songwriter’s songs for their own albums or performances.
If the songwriter already has songs recorded, they can sell their songs to other artists or music companies. These companies can then rerecord the songs.
Promoting their Songwriting Business
Besides writing songs, a songwriter will need to promote their work to different people in the industry. Those people include music publishers, record labels, producers, and artists.
They may also need to learn how the industry works in their country or region since it varies depending on where they live.
Songwriters can make money in different ways depending on what they choose to do with their songs. Some songwriters write large catalogs of songs that are owned by music publishing companies. These companies use them to make money through publishing royalties and other methods.
Also, songwriters are paid for their work when artists or music companies record it. They are also compensated for being credited as the writer of a song either on an album or during live performances.
Finally, some songwriters elect to sell their songs outright so they can make a one-time payment. This could be to an artist, music company, or another party.
The life of a songwriter can be exciting and challenging at the same time. It takes hard work, dedication, and a love for music to succeed in this industry. But, if you have those things, the sky is the limit.
How does Someone Get Started as a Songwriter?
There are many different ways to become a songwriter. Many people start out writing songs on their own. They might want to write songs for other artists or work with record labels and publishers directly.
If the person wants to be an artist themselves, they can start by recording their songs in a home studio. They might also send their songs to music publishing companies or record labels.
The best way to break into the business is by networking with other songwriters and people in the music industry. Attend local shows, go to open mics, and participate in songwriting circles. There are also online communities and forums where songwriters can share their music and get feedback.
Using the Internet to Start Your Songwriting Career
The internet and less expensive music equipment has lowered the barrier to entry for songwriters. That means it’s easier than ever to write and record your music and to share it with a global audience.
The internet has made it easier than ever for artists to build a fanbase. There are many ways to use the internet to connect with fans and share your music.
You can create a website or blog where you can post your music, photos, and videos. You can also use social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to share your music and connect with fans.
Before the internet, record label executives would find promising artists and develop them for commercial appeal. Nowadays, music companies often prefer to work with artists who already have a fanbase.
There are many different paths to becoming a songwriter. It all starts with writing great songs and building relationships with other people in the music industry. With a little hard work and dedication, anyone can become a successful songwriter!
A songwriter writes songs for people to perform or buy. It is one of the most creative jobs. There are many different jobs that range from writing pop hits to collaborating with established artists on their next albums. If you want to be a solo artist or work in music companies, here are the ins and outs of songwriting!