Songwriters write songs. Sounds simple right? It’s true, songwriters do in fact write songs. But it’s a little more complicated than that…
What do songwriters actually do in the music industry these days? And more importantly, what should you know before hiring or collaborating with a songwriter?
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about songwriters including who they are, what they do, and how to find one.
What are songwriters?
Songwriters typically specialize in one specific aspect of writing and collaborate with other songwriters that complement their own skills.
For instance, a lyricist might work with another songwriter that’s primarily a composer to create a full composition.
What do songwriters do?
Songwriters create compositions for other artists or acts and hope that their compositions are recorded by bigger commercial artists.
The compositions songwriters create are typically recorded as demos that are shopped to producers, executives, artists, or managers. If a song is chosen, that song will be recorded by another artist or band with songwriting credit given to the composer(s).
Songwriters typically focus on specific aspects of songwriting and represent a specific type of songwriter.
Types of songwriters
Lyricists write lyrics, or the words, to a song. They work on music simultaneously with a composer or create lyrics for songs that are already completed.
They might also only provide smaller parts of a song like a vocal hook, or a simple chorus or verse. What the project entails relies on how far along a composition is and what the needs of the project are.
Topliners are a kind of songwriter that includes certain musical elements to a composition that is already partially complete.
Moreover, topliners might provide lyrical hooks, melodies, or other vocal elements to an existing beat or musical bed.
Beatmakers or producers compose beats or backing tracks that will then receive further instrumentation from another kind of songwriters like a lyricist or topliner.
Beatmakers will often program drums, percussion, basslines, and sometimes melodic elements like synths or guitar to create a composition that can be built on.
Producers and beatmakers will often send beats and tracks to many songwriters to find the best accompaniment.
Composers are most typically tasked with creating larger parts of a composition like an entire backing track or parts for multiple instruments which can include the melody, hooks, leads, and overall composition.
Composers sometimes collaborate with other songwriters like topliners or lyricists to complete ideas, musical beds, or compositions they have already completed.
The benefits of hiring a songwriter
The most benefit of hiring a songwriter is the ability to include new expertise in your project.
Hiring a songwriter lets you focus on what you do best rather than having to do everything yourself.
For example: if you’re a talented vocalist but struggle with writing and composing music, hiring a songwriter allows you to focus on what you do best.
Similar to hiring a mix engineer or mastering engineer, the help of a songwriter takes your project in new directions and helps you turn smaller ideas into completely realized songs.
Additionally, working with other songwriters expands your network and helps you form collaborative relationships that can last well beyond a single project.
How to find and hire a songwriter
Hiring or collaborating with a songwriter is all about being ready. Whether you’re a songwriter looking to collaborate or an artist looking to hire a songwriter, the most effective way to connect with other composers is through online music networking platforms.
Especially today, the songwriting industry is spread out and the kinds of gigs have transformed from the traditional songwriting of yesterday.
How to become a songwriter
Becoming a songwriter is largely dependent on networking, sharing your music, and making connections within the genres of music you’re hoping to create.
Start networking early. Be professional about the way you share your demos and build good relationships with clients. No gig is too small in the beginning.
Songwriters also write and record many demos that may span different genres, approaches, or styles. So ensure that you’re writing often and across genres if you can.
Traditionally, songwriters worked in music hubs like LA or Nashville, but online networking platforms have made it simpler to collaborate and write songs from anywhere. So online presence is a must for aspiring songwriters.
Reaching out to other songwriters is also a great move. As we mentioned before, songwriters who specialize in lyrics or topline will be looking to collaborate and vice versa.
Look for collaborators you can build solid working relationships with and ensure that you’re maximizing your skills.
The song remains the game
The songwriting industry has certainly evolved from its early beginnings. However, the core concepts are still the same: people getting together to make some sweet music.
Now that you know the ins and outs of songwriting, hire a songwriter today, and let’s start on the next hot hit!