Many songwriters love the idea of being able to make money on their songs. For you, it may be selling song lyrics online. But are there online marketplaces or sites for selling lyrics? After doing some research, here’s a clear roadmap of how we can write and sell song lyrics from start to finish:
- Have a target artist in mind
- Write song lyrics for the artist
- Get music and beat for the lyrics
- Produce a demo
- Network, network, network! (Social Media & Email)
- Don’t give up
Have a Target Artist in Mind
Instead of grabbing ideas out of thin air, having a clear artist in mind can really speed up the songwriting process. This is because you will have a basic idea of what kinds of songs are suitable for the artist. Not to mention it will be beneficial down the line when you’re pitching to the artist!
Start by writing these basic information about the artist down:
- Audience Age
- Music Genre
- Singing or Rap Style
- Song Topics
- Music Key and Tempo
- Song Structures
Sometimes an artist has a wide range of music genres or topics, especially pop singers. But don’t worry, that just means that they’re more flexible on what kinds of songs they would buy.
Write Song Lyrics For The Artist
What is the artist going through at the moment? When Ariana Grande called off the marriage with Pete Davidson, she and her team of songwriters wrote “Thank You, Next”, which became a huge hit! By focusing on real-life events the artist is going through, your song can really stand out from the crowd.
Put yourself in the artist’s shoes. What would you like to talk about? Any stories you want to share to your audience? Instead of choosing any topic, by focusing on ideas that match what the singer would present, you will have a much higher chance on selling the song.
If you’re trying to write for a male artist and you’re female, maybe you should write lyrics from a guy’s perspective. If you live in the city while the artist sings country music, write a country song! Yes, it’s not an easy task, but if you find it hard to grasp, you can either do some more research on the artist, or you could change the artist to one with a similar lifestyle to yours.
Get Music and Beat for The Lyrics
After finishing the song lyrics, the next step is to match music and accompaniment to it. Artists rarely buy song lyrics individually, instead they buy demos.
Depending on the genre and style of your song, you may need a simple acoustic accompaniment or a fully produced beat instrumental. Remember, the focus here is to bring out the message of the song. Think about similar songs that have made it, what type of music and beat do they use?
It may be a good idea to have a reference to bring to the music producer and composer.
Produce A Demo
Once you have the music and lyrics ready, you’re ready to get in the studio! In recent years, producing in home studios have been increasingly popular, as it is cost-effective and time-saving. If you can sing, record it! As the songwriter, no one else understands the song more than you. But if you can’t, don’t fret. There are lots of freelance singers who are interested in singing demos for a small fee upfront, or you can negotiate a royalty deal with them if the song ends up being picked up by the artist.
A simple demo consists of 3 main components: Lyrics, melody, and accompaniment. So if you’ve got the lyrics and melody ready, and you’ve found a vocalist who can sing the song, all that’s left is accompaniment. The accompaniment for a demo can be as simple as a strumming guitar, or piano playing chords. Unless you’re trying to write an a capella song, the accompaniment is essential. Note that there are many music producers who would produce the music for you for a small fee, so maybe you can look into that if you don’t know how to produce music.
If you’re interested in learning how to produce the backing track yourself, here are the basic steps you can take to do so:
- Choose a digital audio workstation (DAW) software. This is a piece of software that lets you make music.
- Download virtual instruments and effects plugins. You’ll have a library of different instruments and sounds to create your backing track with.
- Use MIDI to record each instrument track. Start with piano, guitar, bass and drums. Of course, the choice of instruments depends on your music genre of choice.
- Export the final audio as MP3 or WAV file.
The truth is, many pieces of software mentioned above are free, so get started and start practicing! The more you produce the better your demo will be, and the more likely your song will be picked up by the artist.
Network, Network, Network! (Social Media & Email)
One of the most common questions asked by songwriters who want to sell their songs online is: Where to sell? The best way is to reach out to the artists directly.
When you’re starting out, it may not be a good idea to sell to Justin Bieber or Rihanna, but if you know some local artists, they are your best bet. Artists are always looking for good songs because if it becomes a hit, that will boost their popularity. So don’t be afraid to reach out to them online via social media (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.).
A lot of times on their social media or website there will be an email for business inquiries. Send them your demo, be friendly, and hopefully they will pick your song up!
Don’t Give Up
It is extremely rare that you will be able to sell your first song or even your tenth song. Just keep writing, keep improving, keep pitching, and your hard work will pay off one day. Selling songs to artists online can be done, but it is not an easy task by a long shot. Don’t give up, I’m rooting for you!