How to sell lyrics
Many people dream of making a living from writing, and not just books. Selling song lyrics is a very seductive option for the most creative minds.
We saw this in Rocketman, the Elton John biopic. This movie is not about the life of a musician, but tells the story of a duo. Elton was the most visible face, the one who played the piano and went on stage with those flashy suits. And Bernie, the lyricist, was in charge of writing the songs. The two of them formed the Elton John brand and thanks to their teamwork they managed to sell more than 300 million copies worldwide.
There are many Bernies in the world. Musicians, poets or creatives who want to write and sell songs. If you are one of them, read carefully, because today’s post has a special mention for you.
Advantages of writing and selling songs
If you are reading this is because you are pretty good at writing lyrics and you want to start monetizing your talent. But before we tell you how to sell a song step by step, let’s take a look at the main advantages of this business model.
1. It allows you to enjoy creative work.
Creative minds need to be kept active with incentives, and what could be more stimulating than transmitting emotions to people? Writing letters is a very ingenious job, with which you can feel inspired and fulfilled.
2. You can sell from anywhere in the world.
Selling lyrics is a business that can be carried out at any time and place in the world. This gives you total freedom of schedule and organization.
3. You have the freedom to move when you want.
Just as you can sell from anywhere, you can write from anywhere. All you need is your portable technological equipment. If you have ever dreamed of teleworking and moving from one place to another, this can be a very interesting career opportunity for you.
4. You can get a source of extra income.
First of all we want to be realistic, so you should consider that selling songs at the beginning will be an extra income, which can increase month by month. The best of all is that once you have written and sold a song, you can dedicate yourself to another task while you receive income for a job that no longer requires so much of your attention.
5. Over the years, your income can increase.
Over time, the value of a song’s lyrics can increase, which means that your income will also increase. Keep in mind that one of the most profitable things for this business is the exposure of the lyrics you sell. So if the song gets a lot of listens or another artist does a cover, it will positively impact your income. Later on, when we look at royalties, we will give you a tip on this subject.
How to sell a song step by step
Good. We understand that if you are interested in knowing how to sell song lyrics, it is because you have already written them or you are in the process of writing them. So at this point we will focus on this second phase: selling song lyrics.
Here are some basic tips to get you started + a list of applications where you can start selling. Take note!
1. Define your strategy
The first thing you need to define is who you want to sell your song to.
There are two basic ways to sell music:
- Commercial music for the end consumer. Here you could choose to put your music on digital download stores like iTunes, or on streaming platforms like Spotify.
- Selling music for companies and freelancers. In this case it is not focused on the end consumer. Therefore, your strategy should obviate this audience and focus on the area known as B2B (business to business).
If you are going to sell lyrics, you should focus on the second option. Think very carefully about who your audience is and don’t close yourself off to any possibility. A good exercise would be to make an audience map, where you will write down on a piece of paper the different groups of people who might be interested in your product. As a suggestion, you can start the list by including agencies, music producers, independent singers, online platforms… Take some time to reflect and decide who you are going to focus on.
Of course, to sell a song you have to own the copyright. It is important to keep this point in mind because you can sell lyrics to songs that you have written yourself, or songs that you have previously purchased and now include in your portfolio. Either way, in both cases, the buyer will usually want to use the work for commercial purposes, so be sure to make this point clear in the copyright assignment contract.
Another important aspect to consider is royalties for the song, especially if it becomes famous. This can be a complex issue. Whether you sell the work individually or on a platform, you will have to belong to a collecting society to collect royalties. It is a task that requires a certain level of work, so it is usually left to professionals, such as representatives, managers and lawyers. This way you will make sure that the amount collected from the listens of the song goes to the right authors, with the previously agreed percentages.
3. Register your lyrics
This is probably one of the most important points and, curiously, you are not obliged to do it. Let us explain. According to the legislation, if you write the lyrics of a song, by the fact of writing it, you own the copyright. Legally you are not obliged to register it, although it is always very convenient to do so.
Not sure? Here are some reasons why you should register your work:
- You get internationally valid proof of authorship with a registration date.
- You minimize the possibility of plagiarism.
- You can display and upload the lyrics of your songs to the main sales platforms with more peace of mind.
- Registering your lyrics gives you a more serious and professional image.
- It is a quick and easy process that you can do 100% online.
In Safe Creative you can register the lyrics of your songs from 6,5€ per month.
4. Where to sell your songs
If you are thinking about the Internet, you have made the right choice. The net is an ocean full of opportunities where you will find specialized platforms. Below, we recommend 5 options for you to choose the one that best suits your needs.
1. Nashville Songwriters Association International
It is not a platform as such, but it is interesting to know about it. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is a non-profit trade association, which aims to provide opportunities for artists and fans. Its main lines of action are: legislative advocacy, advice on the composer’s professional profile and teaching in the music industry.
This network of professionals can provide you with multiple resources to write and publish songs, as well as promote your lyrics and expand your network of contacts. If you want to be in constant learning, nurture yourself with other experts and project a professional songwriter image, you may want to check it out.
SongBay is a library of original music, lyrics and poems featuring pieces by artists from all over the world. This simple and intuitive online platform is quite commercially oriented. For example, it allows you to sell your lyrics individually or make a pack with different songs. Another advantage is that it offers a wide repertoire of musical styles, so it is one of the most popular. Undoubtedly, it is a very good option to start with.
SoundBetter is a highly specialized platform where many turn to for talent. It features producers, singers, mixing engineers, composers, mastering engineers and a host of more specific categories like pianists, violinists, percussionists, etc. All types of artists in the music industry fit here.
There are several aspects to value in this platform:
- They themselves are in charge of promoting the talent so that more clients will hire you.
- You will find educational resources to improve your skills and achievements.
- You will be supported by a network of experts who can advise and guide you in different aspects of music.
AirGigs is an online platform that connects session musicians, vocalists and recording engineers. You will also find songwriters who sell the lyrics of their songs, although it is perhaps one of the networks with less competition in this category.
What is remarkable is that the team is very active and regularly adds new features to facilitate the monetization of users. At the moment, its catalog of professionals is organized by musical genres, which will allow you to better order your music and offer composition services.
The record company TuneCore offers an independent digital music distribution, publishing and licensing service. To sell the lyrics of your songs you will have to create an annual Premium profile and upload your work, the rest is taken care of by them.
One of the main differences with respect to other platforms is that they ensure that 100% of the profits go to the creator. That is to say, in their monetization program they do not contemplate the usual percentages, so it can be very profitable to hire their annual plan.
Our last recommendation is Twine, a specialized network that connects freelance music, design and film professionals with buyers. On this platform you can showcase your portfolio so that clients can contact you and hire you directly.
It is designed for freelancers and freelancers, so you can work for hours or days, you can even accept several projects at once to increase your income. Of course, you will receive payments directly from the platform, not from the end client, so it may be necessary to submit documents to justify the work done.
We hope this post has helped you to decide if you really want to write and sell lyrics or, well, to consider this possibility in the future. If you are encouraged to do so, when the time comes, come back to this article to read again the step by step that you must follow. Think that the better you plan it, the more likely you are to succeed.
Finally, we have mentioned platforms where you can sell lyrics or offer your services in a professional way. On this point we want to make a digression. All these networks have their own monetization program, which you should read carefully. The most common is that the platform charges a percentage, which may vary from one to another, on the work done. If you prefer to avoid these costs per project, you can also look for other means and promote yourself.
In any case, whatever channel you choose, we recommend you to read carefully the usage policy and the terms and conditions of each service and accept them only if you agree.