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How Much Do Songwriters Make?

9 min read

Songwriting is a unique and timeless art form that focuses on capturing emotions and reaching others through melodies and lyrics. The process involves a delicate blend of creativity, dedication, authenticity, and the ability to share any message using music as the medium.

Songwriting is an art that combines words and music to create a powerful medium for human expression. Whether through heartfelt ballads, anthems of hope, or energetic pop songs, the art of songwriting continues to captivate many, proving it’s still a relevant and rewarding revenue channel or income stream for those with a creative touch.

While the creative process behind songwriting is undoubtedly rewarding, many songwriters are also interested in the financial aspect of their craft.

The income of songwriters per song can vary widely. Nevertheless, the good news is: that if you’re passionate about songwriting and willing to put in the time and effort, there are more possibilities or avenues than ever before to make money as a songwriter. In this blog post, we’ll be taking some time to explore the earnings of professional songwriters, including how much they make per song, monthly or annually.

Let’s break it all down step by step.

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How Much Do Songwriters Make Per Song?

The income per sign of a songwriter can change or range from a few cents to several dollars, depending on factors such as the sign’s popularity, usage, and the songwriter’s contractual agreements.

Songwriters often earn royalties every time a copy of their song is sold or streamed. In the United States, the current mechanical royalty rate is 9.1 cents per song under five minutes. There are also performance royalties such as the radio or in live performances.

How Much Do Songwriters Make a Year?

The yearly salary of professional composers might differ greatly. Some well-known songwriters who have had multiple successes can make good money every year; these sums are typically in the six or seven figures. On the other hand, less well-known or emerging songwriters might make less money.

Professional composers can earn an annual salary ranging from $25,000 to several million dollars. The extent of their popularity, the quantity of songs they have created, and their sources of income—royals, live concerts, and licensing agreements—all influence this range.

How Much Do Songwriters Make a Month?

Because royalties and sync fees are irregular sources of income, songwriters’ monthly earnings may be less stable than their annual earnings. There may be months with high income and months with low income. Emerging songwriters may earn very little in some months, while established songwriters with hit songs can earn significant amounts consistently. Monthly earnings for some writers can fluctuate from a few hundred dollars a month to thousands or even more.

How Much Does a Songwriter Make for a HIT Song?

The popularity reach of Songwriters can make six figures from a hit song influences the songwriter’s income. A chart-topping hit that receives extensive airplay, streaming, and licensing opportunities can generate substantial royalties. Some songwriters can make around six figures or more per hit song.

Examples of Professional Songwriters That Reached Success

Several songwriters have achieved wealth and success through their songwriting skills alone.

Paul McCartney

As a former member of The Beatles and a prolific solo artist, Paul McCartney is one of the most successful and wealthy songwriters in the world. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon produced numerous hits. McCartney’s net worth is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Known for his work in musical theater, Andrew Lloyd Webber has composed some of the most successful and enduring musicals, including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” and “Les Misérables.” His wealth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.

Bono (U2)

Bono, the lead singer and songwriter of the iconic rock band U2, is known for writing some of the band’s biggest hits. U2’s success has made Bono one of the wealthiest songwriters in the world. His net worth is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

​​These songwriters are prime examples of the success and lasting impact music artists can create with their music, sometimes forever changing the path of the music industry.

Making Money As A Songwriter

Making money as a songwriter involves a combination of strategies to promote your music, reach your audience, and monetize your talents. This can be achieved through various income streams within the music industry. Songwriters often can make money through synchronization. They can make money when their songs are used in movies, TV shows, commercials, or video games. Streaming services are other popular ways for songwriters to make money.

Let’s take a look at some ways to monetize your songwriting skills.

  • Music Libraries: Submit your songs to music licensing libraries and receive royalties when they are used in different media.
  • Collaborations: Collaborate with established artists or bands, which can provide exposure and additional income.
  • Crowdfunding: Try platforms like Patreon or Kickstarter to engage with your fans and offer exclusive content or experiences in exchange for their financial support.
  • Songwriting Courses: Offer songwriting lessons or workshops to aspiring songwriters. You can set up a structured curriculum with modules and lessons and choose a platform to host your course, like your own website or teaching platforms like Teachable or Udemy. Always make sure the platform is user-friendly and secure.
  • Publish your songs: Create a free website with Ecwid to promote and sell your original songs. Provide audio samples and links to platforms like Spotify or iCloud.

Overall, Successful songwriters often have multiple income streams, including royalties, live performances, merchandise sales, and music licensing. They may use various e-commerce platforms or work with dedicated music distributors to sell their music and related merchandise.

Harmonizing Melodies for a Living

Songwriters’ income varies widely based on several factors, including the popularity of their songs, the platforms on which they’re streamed or sold, and their contractual agreements. While some professional songwriters enjoy lucrative careers, others may use it to make extra money.

Whether you plan to make a full-time living or an extra source of revenue out of your songwriting skills, you’ll find the path requires continuous effort, and success may take time. The music industry’s ever-evolving landscape and the rise of streaming platforms like Spotify have introduced new opportunities and challenges for songwriters.

Nevertheless, regardless of the financial aspect, songwriters continue to create beautiful music that resonates with people worldwide, and their passion for their craft remains their primary driving force.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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