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How to Become a Singer-Songwriter


To succeed as a singer-songwriter, you must have excellent lyric writing and performance skills. Check out our guide on How to Become a Singer-Songwriter for more insights. The most essential quality is to have a solid foundation in music, but you must also be prepared to put in a lot of effort to improve your singing and writing abilities.

If you are considering this as a potential career path, you should be aware that the market is extremely competitive and that you may only be able to pursue it part-time.

Let us explore the article to learn how you can become a singer-songwriter and what the royalties are.

How to Become a Singer-Songwriter

Aspiring singers and songwriters frequently fantasize about making music that their fans enjoy, and that enables them to make a living from their art. Nevertheless, what actions should you take to maximize the likelihood of your success in the music industry?

We will go over everything you need to know to become a professional singer-songwriter and guide how to make your longtime dream of singing and making music a reality.

Develop your music skills

Learning to play an instrument or write songs is the first step. Most singers begin by learning to play the guitar, the piano, or both. Songwriters are often skilled instrumentalists who use melody and chords to make words that mean something. This is an important part of their creative process.

It’s also important to practice often to play an instrument or write lyrics. Once you know how to play your chosen instrument well, you can move on to writing songs.

Learn to read music

Every aspiring singer or artist needs to know how to read music before they can start writing songs. With the ability to read a song’s pitch, speed, and rhythm, you’ll gain a valuable understanding of how professional musicians use existing compositions. This will help you write your songs and develop new ideas based on their work.

Writing your songs

When writing songs, you must develop catchy tunes and words that people can relate to. To stand out from other artists, you should also try to come up with unique ideas for your songs. Working with other musicians at the same level as you is also a good idea to get feedback and improve your skills.

Three steps on learning to craft your songs:

Listen to different kinds of music

Explore different types of music to broaden your musical tastes. By listening to and thinking about different kinds of songs, like pop, rock, country, rap, folk, and dance music, you can find out what sounds best to you.

Study song composition

Studying how songs are put together will help you appreciate music creation. Examine and think about the parts of a song—its tempo, harmony, instruments, lyrics, and structure—to learn more about what music can do.

Decide the best approach for your song

There is no set way to make music, so you can start with the words or the chords, whichever works best for you. Writing down your thoughts and observations in a diary can motivate you to write a song.

Work with a singing coach

If you want to take your singing to the next level, you can work on being a songwriter or go to American Author House and work with a skilled vocal teacher who can give you expert advice that can make all the difference. A teacher can help with pitch problems, improve breathing techniques for more power during performances or rehearsals, and boost general confidence. With help from a coach, you can make sure your voice stands out.

Getting exposure as a singer-songwriter

The last step is to get the attention of people who work in the music business, like artists, managers, booking agents, and record labels. You can do this by giving gigs at local venues or sending demos online. Ensure those demos are high-quality records to stand out from the rest of the competition. You should also attend as many industry events as possible, such as shows and conferences, to meet people who can help you advance in your job.

Performance Royalties

As a songwriter, you are due a performance royalty when a song you wrote is “performed” (or played) on terrestrial radio, an online streaming service, and, of course, in a live venue. Performing Rights Organisations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC handle these funds. Like with sync licensing, songwriters and publishers split performance fee earnings from the PRO 50/50. This means you won’t get the full royalty amount unless you are both the writer and the publisher.

Print Royalties

As a musician, you can generate revenue by selling printed sheet music for any of your tracks. The fee amount is determined by the total number of copies produced of the work. While this isn’t the most common technique to compensate those with copyrights, it’s still a way to bring in some cash.

Publishing Deals

When a successful songwriter signs a contract with a music publishing company, they can get direct payment for the music they have written. In most cases, this involves receiving money upfront in exchange for a share of future royalties resulting from the sale of your work. This may be a much more flexible agreement, depending on your success.

Main Step and Elaborate Information

Step Description Outcome
Develop Music Skills Learn to play an instrument (guitar, piano) and practice often. Strong foundation in music.
Learn to Read Music Understand how to read a song’s pitch, speed, and rhythm. Essential for songwriting.
Writing Songs Develop catchy tunes and relatable lyrics, work with other musicians. Create unique and appealing songs.
Listen to Different Music Explore various genres to broaden musical taste. Inspiration and creativity in music.
Study Song Composition Analyze song parts like tempo, harmony, and structure. Deeper understanding of music creation.
Work with a Singing Coach Improve techniques and confidence with a skilled vocal teacher. Enhanced singing ability and performance.
Getting Exposure Perform at local venues, send demos, and attend industry events. Gain industry attention and opportunities.


You need to write decent songs and build contacts with other individuals in the industry if you want to have any chance of succeeding as an artist. Despite this, to become a great artist, you must put in much effort and keep trying. If you are willing to put in the effort, you can expect to grow better at music, but becoming a competent singer-songwriter takes time and a lot of hard work. If you are willing to work, you can expect to improve at music.

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