A woman is sitting at a table with a laptop in front of her, exploring opportunities for how to get a songwriting job.

How to Get a Songwriting Job: 9 Great Tips

​You want to be a professional songwriter. You want to get paid to write songs. But how do you actually get a songwriting job?

There are a number of ways to get a foot in the door of the music industry and start getting paid to write songs

In this article, we will discuss 9 great tips to help you get started on your journey to becoming a professional songwriter.

Let’s get started!

Key takeaways
  • Create a well-prepared songwriting portfolio for prospective employers.
  • Look for job openings in various places and build your network.
  • Master the art of songwriting job interviews and highlight your skills.

How to get a songwriting job (Explained)

There are many ways to get a job in songwriting. 

The most common is to submit songs to publishers, who will then shop them for artists, film and TV companies, and other clients looking for new material. 

But there are other ways to get your songs heard by the people who make decisions about what gets recorded. 

Here are 9 great tips:

1. Make sure your songs are the best they can be. 

This seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. 

Your songs are your products, and you want to make sure they’re the best possible products you can create. 

Spend time on them, revise them, get feedback from other songwriters or music industry professionals, and make sure they’re as good as they can be before you start trying to get a songwriting job.

2. Get involved in the songwriting community. 

There are songwriting organizations and events all over the world. 

Getting involved in your local songwriting community can help you meet other songwriters, learn about the business, and maybe even get your songs heard by industry professionals who attend these events.

3. Attend music industry conferences and events. 

There are conferences devoted specifically to songwriting, like the ASCAP Expo and the NSAI Songwriters’ Symposium. 

But there are also general music industry events, like SXSW and the CMJ Music Marathon, where you can network with industry professionals and maybe even get your songs heard by decision-makers.

4. Watch for songwriting contests. 

There are many songwriting contests held each year, both by organizations devoted to songwriting and by companies and organizations looking for new material. These can be a great way to get your songs heard by people who may be in a position to hire you.

5. Use social media. 

Social media can be a great way to connect with other songwriters and industry professionals, and it can also be a way to get your songs heard by people who may be interested in hiring you. 

Post your songs on sites like SoundCloud and YouTube, and share them on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

6. Have a professional website. 

In the digital age, it’s important to have a professional online presence. Having a website devoted to your songwriting can help you showcase your songs and your skills as a songwriter. 

Make sure your site is well-designed and easy to navigate, and include samples of your songs, information about your songwriting experience, and anything else that would be relevant to someone considering hiring you.

7. Get a job in the music industry. 

While it may seem like a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, one of the best ways to get a job in songwriting is to get a job in the music industry. 

Working in a music store, at a record label, or in another music-related job can help you meet people in the industry and learn about opportunities for songwriters.

8. Move to a music industry hub. 

If you’re serious about getting a job in songwriting, you may want to consider moving to a city with a strong music industry presence. 

Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York are all major centers for the music business, and making the move to one of these cities can increase your chances of getting a job in songwriting.

No matter what approach you take, remember that it can be a very rewarding career, and hard work, combined with dedication, and perseverance should get you there. 

9. Hone Your Craft Continuously. 

Never stop improving your songwriting skills through workshops, online courses, and self-study. 

Engage deeply with diverse music, analyzing classics and contemporary hits to decipher their appeal. This lifelong learning and adaptation not only enrich your art but also make you an attractive prospect for collaborators and employers.

How do I prepare my songwriting portfolio for job applications?

A guitar, drums and an open notebook on a table.

It’s no secret that a strong songwriting portfolio is key to landing a job in the music industry. 

But what exactly should you include in your portfolio to make the strongest impression? 

Here are a few tips on how to prepare your songwriting portfolio for job applications:

1. Choose your best songs. When it comes to your songwriting portfolio, quality is more important than quantity. Choose your absolute best songs to showcase your talents, and make sure they are well-produced and polished.

2. Create a professional website. If you’re serious about songwriting, you should have a professional website where you can showcase your songs and bio. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and includes all the essential information potential employers will want to know.

3. Include a press kit. A press kit is a must-have for any serious musician, and it should include your bio, photos, press clippings, and anything else that would be relevant to a potential employer.

4. Get creative with your packaging. Your portfolio should be eye-catching and stand out from the rest. Get creative with the design and packaging to make a strong first impression.

5. Be professional. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that you’re representing yourself as a professional songwriter. Be polite and professional in all your correspondence, and take care to present yourself and your work in the best light possible.

By following these tips, you can be confident that you’re presenting your best possible work when applying for songwriting jobs. Good luck!

What are the best places to find songwriting job openings?

Finding the perfect songwriting job may seem challenging at first, but don’t worry. There are plenty of resources and platforms for you to explore and connect with potential employers. Let’s dive into a few great places to find songwriting job openings.

Indeed is a reliable job search site with songwriting job options. They offer a higher level of specificity to the music industry, making it easier for you to find relevant opportunities. Don’t forget to set up job alerts to receive notifications about new songwriting jobs as they get posted on the site. Check out their Songwriter Jobs section for listings in this field.

Another excellent place to search for songwriting jobs is Glassdoor which features hundreds of songwriting job opportunities. Here, you can search for songwriter jobs and filter them based on location, job type, and company size.

An industry-specific platform, Gemtracks lists 20+ websites for songwriting jobs and opportunities. By visiting their guide, you can access a curated list that caters primarily to songwriting and other music-related positions.

Have you considered leveraging social media for job hunting? LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that allows you to connect with potential employers, stay connected with industry peers, and discover job openings tailored to your skills and experience. Make sure your profile highlights your songwriting prowess and showcases your past projects.

Lastly, never underestimate the power of local communities and networking. Attend music industry events, songwriter workshops, and open mic nights in your area. Building relationships with fellow songwriters, musicians, and producers can lead to collaborations and job referrals.

PlatformURL
Indeedhttps://www.indeed.com/q-Songwriter-jobs.html
Glassdoorhttps://www.glassdoor.com/Job/songwriter-jobs-SRCH_KO0,10.htm
Gemtrackshttps://www.gemtracks.com/guides/view.php?title=best-websites-to-find-songwriting-jobs-opportunities

Remember, consistency and persistence are key to landing a songwriting gig.

Keep refining your craft, building relationships, and searching for opportunities no matter how long it takes. Success in the music industry requires both skill and patience, but with determination, you’ll find the perfect songwriting job for you.

Good luck with your hunt!

How do I network effectively to find songwriting jobs? (9 Tips)

A group of people sitting at a table playing music.

Networking is a crucial aspect of finding songwriting opportunities, and when done effectively, it can lead to fruitful collaborations and connections. Here are some tips to help you effectively network in the music industry:

  1. Attend industry events: Go to concerts, songwriting workshops, and music conferences to meet like-minded individuals and professionals in the field. These events are your gateway to forming relationships with fellow songwriters, musicians, and producers.
  2. Leverage social media: Cultivate your presence on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Share your work, knowledge, and experiences to demonstrate your expertise in your field. Engage with fellow songwriters, musicians, and industry professionals by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts, as well as asking them questions.
  3. Join online forums and groups: There are numerous online communities dedicated to songwriting and music. Participate in discussions, ask for feedback on your work, and share your insights with others. This will not only make you more visible but also help you learn from other experienced songwriters.
  4. Collaborate with others: Partner with fellow songwriters or musicians and work on projects together. Collaboration can improve your skills, and it’s an excellent way to network naturally. Some collaborations could even evolve into long-term partnerships.
  5. Keep in touch with contacts: After meeting new people, make sure to follow up with them and nurture the connection. Keep them updated on your progress and projects, and ask about theirs. This will show your genuine interest and dedication to your craft.
  6. Ask for introductions: If you know someone who’s connected in the music industry, ask if they could introduce you to others in their network. Warm introductions are always more effective than cold calls or emails.
  7. Be open about your aspirations: Share your goals and ambitions with people in your network. They might know someone or have advice that can help you achieve your objectives.
  8. Genuinely engage with others: Besides talking about music, genuinely engage with your contacts. Ask about their lives, careers, and interests. This will make you more memorable and help establish deeper connections.
  9. Be professional and respectful: Always maintain professionalism in your interactions, whether it’s online or in-person. Be punctual, polite, and respectful, which will leave a positive impression on others.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding songwriting job opportunities through networking.

What skills and experience do I need to become a professional songwriter?

A man playing an acoustic guitar in front of a pile of papers.

Becoming a professional songwriter requires a combination of creativity, passion, and persistence. To develop your songwriting skills, focus on building the following key abilities:

  1. Strong melody and lyric writing: A successful songwriter needs to create memorable melodies and write captivating lyrics. Familiarize yourself with different song structures and experiment with various styles of music. The more versatile your knowledge is, the higher your chances of finding your unique writing style.
  2. Collaboration and communication: Songwriting is often a collaborative process, so being able to work well with others, such as composers, producers, and musicians, is crucial. Sharpening your communication skills will also help you pitch your work to potential clients.
  3. Musical proficiency: Being able to play one or more musical instruments can greatly improve your songwriting. The better you understand music theory, scales, and chord progressions, the more depth and layers you can add to your compositions.
  4. Industry knowledge: Understanding the business side of the music industry will help you navigate it more efficiently. Be aware of how music publishing works, the role of performance rights organizations, marketing strategies, and contract negotiations. This will allow you to make better decisions in your career.
  5. Adaptability: Music trends are always changing, so be flexible and willing to evolve your style. Stay up-to-date with market demands and embrace new techniques and technologies.

Here are a few helpful steps to gain experience as a budding songwriter:

  • Write regularly: Practice makes perfect, so write songs as often as you can. Set goals for yourself, like writing a new song every week or completing a certain number of songs per month.
  • Join a local songwriting group or online community: These networks can offer valuable feedback, support, and collaboration opportunities.
  • Attend songwriting workshops, seminars, and conferences: Learning from experienced professionals will give you insights into what it takes to succeed in the industry.
  • Build a portfolio: Create a collection of your best work to showcase your talent to potential clients or collaborators.
  • Network: Make connections with people in the music industry, such as artists, producers, and managers. Attend industry events, like showcases and awards ceremonies, to expand your network.

By refining your skills and immersing yourself in the world of songwriting, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional songwriter. Remember, it all starts with your passion for music and your dedication to honing your craft. So, are you ready to embark on your songwriting journey?

​How do I ace a songwriting job interview?

​First and foremost, remember that a songwriting job interview is like any other job interview. This means that you should dress the part and be prepared to answer questions about your qualifications, experience, and goals.

Also, be prepared to talk about your songwriting process. 

The interviewer will want to know how you go about writing a song, from start to finish. 

Be ready to share some of your songs with the interviewer, as well.

Here are a few tips to help you ace your songwriting job interview:

1. Do your research

Before the interview, take some time to research the company or organization you’re interviewing with. This will help you better understand their needs and how you can best meet them.

2. Dress the part

As with any job interview, it’s important to dress for success. Whether you’re meeting with a record label or a publishing company, be sure to dress professionally.

3. Be prepared to talk about your qualifications

The interviewer is going to want to know why you’re the best candidate for the job. Be ready to talk about your previous experience, songwriting awards or accolades, and anything else that makes you qualified for the job.

4. Be ready to share your songs

The interviewer will likely want to hear some of your songs. Be prepared to play or sing a few of your best tunes. If you have any recorded songs, be sure to bring along copies.

5. Ask questions

During the interview, ask questions to show your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Inquire about the company culture, specific projects, or expectations for the role. This will also help you determine if the position is a good fit for you.

Interview QuestionTips for Answering
Can you explain your songwriting process?Be honest and specific, offering examples of how you approach melody writing, lyric writing, etc.
How do you deal with writer’s block?Share methods you’ve used to overcome creative obstacles, like taking breaks or seeking inspiration.
What genres/styles of music do you prefer?Be open to different styles, but also elaborate on your personal preferences and experiences.
Can you share an example of a successful collaboration?Describe a positive experience and the results, emphasizing your communication and teamwork skills.

Remember to stay friendly and confident throughout the interview. Good luck, and may your next songwriting interview be a success

Show what you can do

​”Show what you can do” is great advice for anyone seeking a songwriting job. It’s a simple concept, but one that is often overlooked. 

There are a few ways you can go about doing this. 

The first is to create a portfolio of your best work. 

This can be posted on a website or blog, or even just shared with potential employers via email. 

If you have any recordings of your songs, even better! 

A demo reel goes a long way in showing employers what you can do.

Another great way to show what you can do is to get involved in the songwriting community. There are many online forums and groups dedicated to songwriting. 

Get involved in the discussion and show off your knowledge and skills. This is a great way to make connections with potential employers.

Of course, the best way to show what you can do is to write great songs. 

Whether you’re sharing them online or performing them live, make sure your songs are the best they can be. 

If you can consistently write great songs, you’ll be sure to impress potential employers and land that dream songwriting job.

Make sure your e-mail address is up to date

​If you’re a songwriter, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your e-mail address is up to date. 

Why? 

Because that’s how music publishers, producers, and others in the music industry will contact you about potential opportunities.

If you’re not regularly checking your e-mail, you could miss out on some great opportunities. 

So take a few minutes to update your e-mail address and make sure it’s one that you check regularly.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an e-mail address for your music career. 

First, use a professional-sounding e-mail address. This doesn’t mean you have to use your legal name, but it should be something that sounds like a real person’s name, not a nickname or something cutesy.

Second, avoid using free e-mail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. These are fine for personal use, but they don’t convey the same level of professionalism as a more established e-mail provider. If you’re serious about your music career, get a professional e-mail address with your own domain name. It’s not expensive, and it will make you look more professional.

Third, make sure your e-mail address is easy to remember. 

If it’s something long and complicated, people are going to have a hard time remembering it, and they may just move on to the next e-mail address on their list. 

Keep it simple and easy to remember, and you’ll increase the chances that people will actually use it.

Fourth, consider using an e-mail forwarding service. 

This can be a great way to keep your primary e-mail address private and still have a professional-sounding e-mail address that you can give out to people in the music industry.

Finally, once you have a professional-sounding e-mail address, make sure you’re using it! 

Check it regularly and respond promptly to any messages you receive. The sooner you respond, the better the impression you’ll make.

Final Thoughts

So, you’ve got your sights set on landing a songwriting job! There are many excellent ways to kick off your career in the realm of music.

How are you feeling about all of this? It’s okay to be nervous but remember, every great songwriter started somewhere and had to face their fears.

Take it step-by-step, and before you know it, you’ll see progress. Keep the fire alive and let this article be your guiding light on your journey to songwriting success.

Now go forth, chase your dreams, and make some fantastic music along the way!

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps can I take to start a songwriting career?

It’s important to build your skills by practicing songwriting regularly. Listen to different genres of music, analyze their structures, and try experimenting with various styles.

Network with other musicians and industry professionals by attending open mics, songwriter circles, and music conferences. Build an online presence by sharing your work on platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube. Don’t forget to keep learning and improving by attending workshops and courses focused on songwriting. Stay persistent, and always be open to feedback.

How much can a successful songwriter earn?

The earning potential for a songwriter can vary greatly depending on factors like experience, royalties, and reputation. Some songwriters may earn as little as $25,000 a year, while established and successful songwriters can make six figures or more.

Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time, persistence, and a strong work ethic.

What skills are necessary for a songwriting job?

In addition to strong musical abilities, essential skills for a songwriting job include creativity, originality, and the ability to evoke emotions through lyrics and melodies.

Good communication is also important, as collaborating with other songwriters and artists is often a significant part of the job. Understanding the music business, copyright laws, and publishing will also come in handy in your songwriting career.

What kind of training or education is beneficial for a songwriter?

While formal education isn’t mandatory, many songwriters find it helpful to study music theory, composition, and/or lyric writing through college classes or specialized programs.

You can also hone your skills by attending workshops, masterclasses, and online courses related to songwriting and the music business. Keep in mind, experience and learning from others in the industry can be just as valuable as formal training.

How can I become a better songwriter?

To become a better songwriter, practice regularly and always strive for improvement. Analyze your favorite songs to understand their structure, chord progressions, and lyrics. Seek feedback from others, and don’t be afraid to revise and rewrite your songs.

Learn from other songwriters by attending workshops, reading books, and staying up-to-date with new techniques and trends.

Do I need to be based in a music hub like Nashville to be a successful songwriter?

Although being in a music hub like Nashville may offer you more networking opportunities and access to resources, thanks to the internet, you can pursue a songwriting career from anywhere. Many songwriters have built successful careers in smaller cities or remote locations.

The key is to stay connected with the industry, develop your online presence, and make the most of any opportunities to network with music professionals, both online and in person.

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