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 really do in today’s music industry? And more importantly, what do you need to know before you hire or collaborate with a songwriter?

In this guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about songwriters including what they are, what the do and how to find one.

Let’s get started!

What are songwriters?

A songwriter is a professional musician who composes, writes or creates musical compositions. Songwriting gigs can include writing lyrics, melodies, hooks or entire compositions.

Songwriters typically specialize in one specific aspect of writing and work with other songwriters that compliment their own skills.

For example: a lyricist might collaborate with another songwriter that’s primarily a composer to create a full composition.

A songwriter is a professional musician who composes, writes or creates musical compositions.

What do songwriters do?

Songwriters create compositions for other artists or acts with the hopes of having their compositions 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 picked up, that song will be recorded by another artist or band with songwriting credit given to the composer(s).

Songwriters typically focus on on specific aspect of songwriting and represent a specific type of songwriter.

Types of songwriters

Lyricists

Lyricists write lyrics, or the words, to a song. Lyricists may work on music simultaneously with a composer or write lyrics for songs that are already completed.

They might also only provide smaller portions 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

Topliners are a type of songwriter that adds certain musical elements to a composition that is already partially complete.

Topliners might provide lyrical hooks, melodies or other vocal elements to an existing beat or musical bed.

Beatmaker

Beatmakers or producers compose beats or backing tracks that will then receive further instrumentation from another type of songwriter like a lyricist or topliner.

Beatmakers will often program drums, percussion, basslines and sometimes melodic elements like synths or guitar to create composition that can be built on.

Producers and beatmakers will often send beats and tracks to several songwriters to find the right accompaniment.

Composer

Composers are most typically tasked with creating larger portions of a composition like an entire backing track or parts for multiple instruments which can include the melody, hooks, leads and overall composition.

Composers are sometimes paired with other songwriters like topliners or lyricists to complete ideas, musical beds or compositions they have already completed.

Producers and beatmakers will often send beats and tracks to several songwriters to find the right accompaniment.

The benefits of hiring a songwriter

The biggest benefit of hiring a songwriter is the ability to add new expertise to your project.

Hiring a songwriter allows you to 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 helps you 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 fully realized songs.

Additionally, working with other songwriters grows your network and helps you form collaborative relationships that can last well beyond a single project.

Working with other songwriters grows 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 working with a songwriter is all about being prepared.
Whether you’re a songwriter looking to collaborate or an artist looking to hire a songwriter, the best way to connect with other composers is through o online music networking platforms.

Especially today, the songwriting industry is spread out and the types of gigs have transformed from traditional songwriting of yesterday.

LANDR Network is a great place to find songwriters of all types:

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 how you share your demos and build good relationships with clients. No gig is too small in the beginning.

Look for collaborators you can build solid working relationships with and make sure you’re maximizing your skills.

Songwriters also write and record a ton of demos that may span different genres, approaches or styles. So make sure 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 easier to collaborate and write songs from anywhere. So online presence is a must for aspiring songwriters.

Reaching out to other songwriters is also a good move. As I 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 make sure you’re maximizing your skills.

The song remains the game

The songwriting industry has certainly evolved from it’s early beginnings. But the core concepts are still the same: people getting together so make some sweet sweet music.

Now that you know the ins and outs of songwriting, hire a songwriter today and get started on the next hot hit!