Things You'll Need
- Notebook or tape recorder
- Musical demo
How to Make Money Writing Lyrics. Maybe you love music, but can't play any instruments. Perhaps you're a struggling poet looking for an alternate way to make money. Maybe you just want to party with musicians. In any case, there are several steps you can take to start making money by writing song lyrics.
Prepare a Great Portfolio of Work
Learn as much as you can about the art of lyric writing by paying careful attention to the greatest songwriters of all time. From Irving Berlin and Chuck Berry to Eminem, you'll need to become a student of lyrics from all kinds of genres.
Write a great deal of song lyrics. They say practice makes perfect, and it's no different with song lyrics. Try writing songs in the styles of different lyricists you admire, whether they belong to the rap, punk or jazz genres. Good lyrics can be interpreted across many different styles of music.
Keep a notebook or mini-tape recorder with you at all times. You should constantly be looking for lyrical inspiration.
Get feedback on your songs from friends and family. It can be intimidating to share you personal writing with others, but you'll need constructive criticism to help refine your craft.
Attract Industry Attention With Your Great Lyrics
Pick the best songs from your portfolio and use them to try and open professional doors. Before you'll be able to make money from your lyrics, you'll need a handful of your best material.
Collaborate with musicians to record demos of your songs. It's much easier to convince an agent or executive that your lyrics are great with the help of a musical demo. Rent some studio time or find a musician with a modest home studio where you can work out some recordings of your songs.
Send your song demos to music publishing companies or record executives. In the old days, there was a clearer distinction between songwriters and song performers. Though the music industry is driven more by singer/songwriters these days, quality song lyrics can still find an audience through publishing companies. You can find information about publishing companies through sites like MusicMoz (see Resources below).
Enter songwriting contests. Major industry publications like "American Songwriter" host contests for songs and lyrics (see Resources below). Winning a major songwriting contest can earn you enough money to support your songwriting career while opening doors to industry decision makers.
Register your finished song lyrics with the US government to ensure copyright protection. While copyright ownership is implied the moment you create something, you can avoid the hassles and risks of litigation by formally copyrighting your lyrics. Check with the United States Copyright Office for information on establishing legal ownership of your work (see Resources below).
Learn an instrument and join a band. You'll find greater opportunities to explore your passion for lyrics and make money at the same time if you're part of a musical group.
It's very difficult to make money writing song lyrics alone. Be prepared to work long and hard for little money.
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