If you love listening to music, you’ve probably thought about taking up songwriting as a hobby. Once you’ve learned the basics of songwriting, it can be a lot of fun! But after you’ve done writing a song, what should you do with it?
In this article, we will take a look at what hobby songwriters do with their songs! Here’s a summarized list:
- Keep it a secret
- Share with friends and family
- Publish online
- Sell the songs
- Perform live
Keep it a secret
Believe it or not, many songwriters prefer to keep their songwriting hobby a secret. Some do that because they are shy, or they’re just starting out writing songs. However, many do it because keeping it a secret has its advantages.
There’s a sense of satisfaction after you finish a song. Like any other art form, creating a song involves a lot of time and effort. To see the final product finally take form, it’s a great accomplishment.
If you’re keeping songwriting a secret, you can write songs with unrestricted freedom. You can spend as little time as you want, or spend your weekends tweaking your song, no one can tell you otherwise.
Also, the topics, song structure, chord progressions, lyrics you write are all up to you. There is no audience dictating what direction your song should be. If you like to write songs with no restrictions whatsoever, maybe keeping it a secret is the way to go.
Writing songs from your own personal experience can be a great way for emotional release. These songs are often too personal to share with others, so keeping them a secret is a better choice. Many people feel better when they write breakups, depression, memories into songs.
Among the songwriters I know, most of them started with performing in front of their family and friends. It’s a great way to gain confidence when you’re just starting out! Friends and family are the best audiences you can get to listen to your first songs since they will always try to give you the best feedback possible.
If you know how to play an instrument, you can simply play the song you wrote on it. Or if you prefer to have a more polished product, you can record a demo of your song.
Creating a song demo isn’t hard with today’s technology, especially when you can create one basically for free. If you’re a beginner, the easiest way to get started is probably to record yourself playing and singing the song you wrote. You can use a phone or a laptop, as they already have built-in microphones. The great thing with recording your song before presenting it is that if you’ve made an error you can record again, resulting in a much more complete sounding presentation.
If you’re interested in creating a better demo, one that is closer to the final product you hear on Spotify or the radio, here are the basic tools you need:
- Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software
- Pop Filter
- Audio Interface
- XLR audio cable
- Microphone stand
Although you may need to invest a bit of money to do so, the song demo you can create has much better quality than recording straight into your laptop or phone. Of course, this depends on your own budget.
For sharing with friends and family, they are much more forgiving when it comes to audio quality. So just focus on the songwriting aspects for now, and get comfortable at writing songs!
Hobby songwriters also need feedback from real listeners to improve their songwriting skills. If you publish the songs you wrote online, you can get valuable insights and feedback on how you can improve your songs!
If your main goal is to get honest feedback, I personally would recommend posting the songs onto platforms like SoundCloud and Youtube. They are free, easy to use, and have comment sections to get valuable feedback! At first, you may need to share the links to social media platforms to get the initial listeners, but over time if you’re consistently publishing content, you may garner a group of music lover friends!
Once you feel confident in your music quality, maybe you should look into music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal, and so on. These platforms are used by professional songwriters and artists, so the competition is high. As a hobby songwriter, it is up to you to decide whether you want to go this route. If you’re interested in getting your songs onto those platforms, some of the most popular distribution services include DistroKid, TuneCore, and CDBaby.
You should probably get your music produced and mixed by professional sound engineers though, as a poorly produced track won’t get much traction. Especially on the music streaming platforms mentioned above.
Sell the songs
Although songwriting as a hobby is great, why no earn some money with it if you can? When you’re able to sell songs, it’s an indicator that your song quality is high enough that people are willing to invest in those songs! That should give you a well-deserved confidence boost.
The traditional way of selling songs is pitching by sending the song demos to record labels and publishers. Many songwriters will try to send cold emails to big record companies. But the thing is, they receive thousands and thousands of emails every day, surely they cannot listen to every song they receive.
Instead, you should connect with other musicians and try to get introduced and connected with the right people. If the song you wrote fits what they’re looking for, and they personally know and trust you, it’s much easier to sell our song.
Another way is to directly connect with the artists. If you are able to network with the artists who are looking for songs similar to the ones you write, you have a much better chance at selling songs. Try to network with local artists starting out, as you probably won’t be able to get in touch with chart-topping artists at first. But once you build up your profile and they introduce you to one another, over time you will be able to work with more globally known artists.
Many hobby songwriters love to play their music live! As a hobby songwriter, you can look for musicians who play music similar to your taste and form a band. Even better, if the band members you found write songs too, it’s a great opportunity to collaborate and grow together!
One of the advantages of being a hobby songwriter is that you can choose your own gigs. Some higher-paying venues may not be comfortable for you to perform at, and because you’re not dependent on the gigging money to pay your bills, you can pick only the gigs you enjoy.