How to Get Paid for Writing Songs

In 2022, there’s plenty of talk on how little songwriters get paid via Spotify, but the increasing number of new revenue streams are always overlooked in social discourse.

This article will cover all of the potential ways artists of most experience levels can get paid for songwriting. And remember, this only covers revenues from the songwriting itself, not mentioning touring, brand sponsorships and merchandising.

A 101 Guide on How to Get Paid for Writing Songs

Strike a Sync Licensing Deal

TV shows, films, adverts, and videogames all need to get their music from somewhere, and there is no reason why unestablished artists can’t get a slice of that income. For your best chance of landing a sync licencing deal, ensure that all your songs are high quality and come with the ‘usability’ factor.

Sync licencing can be highly profitable for artists looking to monetise their songs; sync deals can pay a few hundred pounds to 5-figure sums. To increase your chances of landing a sync deal, hire a sync agent that will pitch your music for you – bear in mind that they will take a cut of the commission, which is usually around 20% – 25%. Some of the most highly recommended music licence companies include Soundstripe, Marmoset, Pond5, and Premium Beat.

Sign a Publishing Deal

There is an increasing number of ways independent artists can strike lucrative publishing deals. Amongst the most common are submitting tracks to artist managers, labels or publishing houses. It is also possible that the publishing deal will come to you – if you get your self-promotion right.

Some of the best ways to gain the attention of publishers are by finding the best music blogs to submit to, heading to networking events or playing shows where a publisher might attend. Once the ink is dry on a publishing deal, artists can get a share of the royalties or a monthly advance to fund future releases and recordings.

Mechanical Licencing

Not all artists write their songs, and that’s where songwriters can come in and grab significant cash. There are now multiple marketplaces where artists can list their tracks for artists looking for new material.

The royalties will start pouring in once the mechanical licencing deal is in place. Artists might want to note that in most mechanical licencing deals,  ownership cannot be retained. Some of the most popular platforms for artists looking to sign a mechanical licence deal include Tune Core and the Mechanical Licencing Collective.

Record & Distribute Your Music

This one is fairly obvious, but that doesn’t mean it is less lucrative. Yes, Spotify may only pay a few fractions of a dollar for each stream, but just because streaming platforms are on the rise, that doesn’t make every other profitable means of distribution has been made redundant.

If you’re lucky enough to get your song on the A-list of a major radio station, such as BBC 2,  you could rake in up to £82.07 for every minute the song plays. There is always the option to use platforms, such as Bandcamp, which allows players to rake in far more royalties from sales of digital songs and physical merch. Further down the line into your songwriting career, you can also rake in funds from performance royalties and CD & vinyl sales.

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