This branch of the music industry is for sure the most confusing and there is very few information about it.

I myself have spent years trying to understand every part of it.

To make it simple: the author/songwriter writes songs for others, and they do it alone or In team.

The goal of the songwriter is to make known artists perform their song and earn money from royalties and publishing splits.

Many factors can contribute to the salary of the songwriter: advance payments by labels, exclusive contracts with major and smaller labels, other collaborators with who to divide the earnings, royalties splits, ecc..


Before entering this topic, let’s divide the different jobs and explain the different problems that generally create confusion and misinformation:



People always mistake the “Singer” to be the only person behind a track in all its phases.

The singer is a SPECIFIC role that consists in performing a certain lyrics and melody, which are written by a songwriting team.

Dua Lipa for example is a very famous pop artist who doesn’t need to necessarily write all her songs.

In fact, her main role consists in performing and recording lyrics and songs that are written by songwriters teams.

I must say the role of the songwriter/singer has also been spreading a lot in the last decade. We will talk about this job later on in the article.


As mentioned earlier, the songwriter is that person who is responsible for writing the lyrics and melody (topline) of a song that is most likely to be performed by other people or brands.

This job is definitely one of the most interesting and difficult but also the most rewarding in a long-term vision.

To make this a permanent job, you usually have to somehow get into a company that will offer you a publishing contract or a substantial advance payment that can cover your expenses for the next few years.

To make an example: Person X is a songwriter. How does Person X make a living out of being a songwriter?

Most likely they have signed a contract with a major label who ensure them a number of artists and other songwriters to work with. If Person X has been assigned to the pop side of Universal Music UK then they will have to follow artist Y, Z, and J doing monthly writing sessions with other songwriters with the aim of creating hits for them.

Person X usually earns money from the % on tracks that they have written, which are usually anticipated by the label in order for the songwriter to be able to live until the royalties come.

In fact, it is very important to understand that the songwriting industry works with a very big delay in payments: before receiving the first money of your own song you must usually wait 1 or 2 years based on your PRO and the Country you live in.

That’s because the PRO needs to collect the royalties from all over the world and communicate with all the national PROs to transfer the earnings to the specific people.

This is why I really want you to understand that it is absolutely necessary to receive an advance payment on the royalties to be able to work as a songwriter.

In general, if you still find yourself in the position where you are trying to undestand how to make a living from music, I absolutely do not recommend choosing this path.

Here are 3 reasons why I believe this is not the best choice:


This is for sure the longest and harder path to take if you want to live out of your music. At the same time, it is one of the most satisfying and profitable on a high-end.

If you wanna start with this way, I strongly suggest you to find a job during your first period, so you can bring up your business without having economic thoughts


Many times this kind of job is proposed after being considered excellent in other more common jobs such as the producer, singer or artist.

As I anticipated earlier in the article, this is usually the “final pointor a very great point anyway in someone’s career. In fact, people who get offered to be a full-time songwriter are usually paid a lot of money in advance in order to plan their work for a year or more and be economically stable.


Not having a solid team usually means bad surprises: yes, unfortunately the authors in the industry often tend to be offered contracts that could “block” them for YEARS, not days or weeks or months.

It is absolutely necessary to have a team of people with whom to discuss before taking any decision. A team like this is built through network in the industry and is based on trust. Here only time and experience can help.

I will repeat it another time: If you think that this could be the job you aspire to do, I would suggest considering another job to do at the same time, otherwise you could live without a penny for weeks, months, years?.



The 2 roles coexist when the singer – i.e. the performer – also writes their own lyrics and melody to the song.

As anticipated, this is now increasingly common, and certainly a very important skill to have, as both characteristics allow the person to open up a wide range of opportunities, which can lead to make this their job more easily and quickly.

Here a list of the roles a singer-songwriter
can play in the music industry:


Needless to say, having both skills will give you a great chance of being able to start your own artist project without major problems. 

The last step you will have to take is finding one or more producers to help you create the instrumental tracks on which to build your career.


If you’d like to work behind the scenes, this is the right path.

You can start writing in DM to artists and trying to build a great network. Then, if you’re good in your job, all will come with time ✅


Being a freelance can allow you to create a business working for third parties, for example doing toplines for artists and producers, hooks or choruses, lyrics for artists, vocal melodies ecc..

You can start on websites like Soundbetter, Fiverr, etc..


Yes. Definitely the newest profession you can make a living at: this kind of job could also allow you to live out of music.

Clearly 99% of the times this sector only serves as a tool to work as one of the other professionals mentioned earlier


Singing can also allow you to be part of a band or cover band and earn money doing specific tours around the country.

Ofter this job helps out in building relationships and create a good network useful for your future.


You can build your carrer working in the sample industry: Splice, Loopmasters, Vocalizr, etc..

You could also reach out to Plugin companies that need samples and vocals to propose yourself to be part of their team

Join the Black Mind Discord Community🎯

We created a fully-oriented Discord Server for Producers and Rappers

You will find free samples and beats, weekly music and business tips and tricks, an entire community to network and share your products.


Having the right strategy is essential to make your skills profitable in this branch of the industry: it is a well-known fact that most songwriters struggle to make a living out of music, especially short term (i.e. the first few YEARS).

Signing with a major label or being offered a GOOD publishing contract will not be easy at all. To get there you will need your own brand and to work on it to make its value grow with you.

A strategy I would recommend based on my personal experience would be as follows:

    • Start writing toplines and songs for third parties. This is the fastest way to spread your name among artists (/customers)
    • Use social medias to grow your brand and authority vertically (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram)
    • Sing up to different online songwriting portals such as Soundbetter, Fiver ecc.. This is a great starting point to start getting paid
    • Networking: connect with artists, make sure to choose specific targets. This could be a game-changer for your career. Networking is usually how people find the right contacts and get the chance for a level-up
    • Take part in music events such as ADE and Ultra Music Week: needless to say that these events are literally GOLD as they allow you to meet new people and create many opportunities
    • Be consistent. From this point on you just need to search for bigger and bigger opportunities, and well evaluate all the offers you may receive.

To finish this chapter, here's a tab with the PRO and CONS of the singer and songwriter industry:


  • Quick: if you put your mind to it, you will realize it is quite easy to start monetizing your skills. The role of the topliner is usually highly requested.

  • Decent prices: if you are able to record and mix vocals professionally, you could have a fairly high price range right from the start, which will only go up as your brand identity grows.
  • Career: this journey could last for many years, but I can assure you that consistency and dedication can lead to very high and well-paid levels.
  • Versatility: if you read all the singer songwriter article section, now you know that you can choose to be a frontman if you wish, or just chill and wrote behind the scenes. This is an awesome PRO of this job!


  • It’s a lot of work: to become of the greatest you will have to be consistent on many aspects, and let me tell you: consistency is everyone’s down point.

  • Training and equipment: in order to be able to obtain good results immediately and a good quality of your products, you will need to buy all the necessary equipment (PC, audio interface, microphone, headphones and a room or studio that sounds dry enough) and the courses to learn how to do the job (you can even learn in a studio for the first period)
  • Sacrifices: getting to the top will require your mindset and your life to be extremely productive and you will consequently need a lot of energy, especially mentally. I put this among the critical points because you will probably have to dedicate a lot of time to your job, and very often you will need to sacrifice weekends.