Lyrics & Songs > Music Career > Music Staff Writer

Music Staff Writer

(How much do staff writers make?)

How music staff writers make money.As a Staff Writer you write lyrics, compose a melody, and create your song for a single music publishing company, getting paid through *exclusive* songwriting contract.

Another way to think of music staff writing is "songwriting only" or "royalty only". You don't earn your income from performances as a recording artist but from crafting songs for automatic publishing by the company.

Click here to understand how songwriters traditionally made their money.

As a staff writer, you are not necessarily part of a staff like a traditional employer, but you are part of a team exclusively under the music publishing company. Any money you receive upfront is considered a "cash advance" that must be paid back when your song generates royalties from its use.

You set your own hours but you agree to create a set number of songs for the year (i.e. "delivery requirement") for the music publishing company. Depending on how "proven" you are as a songwriter, you may be required to create 1-2 songs per month...which can sometimes be hard to do.

The creative process doesn't like to be rushed. So many times this means songwriters will work together to complete songs. Of course, this means any royalties for the song are split between each songwriter even though the song counts towards both writers' yearly quota.

Songwriter Income Signed as a Staff Writer

Publishing companies require that the cash advance be paid back in full before paying the staff writer any royalties to guarantee the company's return on investment. The size of your cash advance depends on whether you're a proven songwriter and/or if you're already guaranteed royalties from a few songs you've written.

Royalty Income

There's a royalty agreement split between the songwriter and the publishing company:

Freelance Songwriter

The only difference between a freelance songwriter and a staff writer is the freedom to write songs for outside publishing companies. You are in business for yourself, so it's even more important for you to have a songs that prove your songwriting skill.

important pointStaff Writer Pros & Cons:

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