How to Sell Lyrics for a Song (A Complete Guide)


So you’ve been writing lyrics, and now you’re wondering how to sell them to an artist, or how to get a deal with a record label. one thing is for sure you came to the right place! In this complete guide, I illustrate all the steps you need to take to make a profit from your lyrics!
In short, if you want to sell lyrics you will have to:

  1. Register and copyright your lyrics
  2. Affiliate with a Performings Rights Organization
  3. Sell your lyrics without a song or
  4. Create a professional song based on your lyrics and sell it as a whole
  5. Create a full-blown production with the help of a music producer
  6. Market yourself
  7. Contact record labels and submit your creation
  8. Create an online marketing plan

STEP 1

First Things First Avoid Copyright Issues: Register Your Lyrics

Registering lyrics may be the most crucial step that you can take.

According to copyright law, the composer owns the copyright to a composition as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium. In other words, when you produce a song or lyric, it’s automatically copyrighted as soon as it’s recorded or written down. 

However, just because your songs are technically copyrighted, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t register them. This is the reason why when you register your copyright, the library of congress will make the ownership part of the public record. 

Furthermore, the United States copyright office is a part of the library of congress, which is the official US US government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States.

Benefits of Registering My Lyrics

The main benefits and advantages that you will get set when registering your lyrics Are:

  1.  You show the world that you own the lyrics/song. This is the official route of telling everyone one that the song belongs to you
  2.  You are all set in case you need to sue someone for copyright infringement.
  3. If you have to sue someone for copyright infringement, the lyrics/song must first be registered. Therefore the registration should always happen before the publication of the lyrics (or the or release of a song).
  4. Your copyright is easily transferable to someone else if you choose to do so.
  5. You just made it MUCH harder for anyone that may try to steal Your Song 
  6. When you register your lyrics/song, you immediately get the right to seek attorney fees, statutory, or special damages that you may be entitled to…

In plain English, this means that; if someone tries to steal your song and you decide to sue them and take them to court, if you win the case, they will have to pay your attorney fees plus pay you a compensation fee. The compensation fee can range between $750 and $30,000! 

This Is How You Should Not Copyright Your Lyrics

Let’s debunk an urban myth! There is a widespread belief that if you mail yourself a letter and you keep it closed, whatever is inside the letter is automatically copyrighted and protected by law. Furthermore, the letter can serve as evidence at court, proving that the work that is being presented was created before the date on the letter itself. This is due to the official date stamp on the package.

This is a nice idea except there is one little problem… It doesn’t work!

There is no way any court in the US will accept a self-posted letter as evidence. Even the federal copyright office explains that there is no provision in the copyright law that provides this type of protection.

Besides for more than 50 years, work created in the US US is automatically copyrighted, this is from the moment the material is in some way recorded. However, if you want to be fully protected, you should register your songs with a formal notice of copyright.

Register Your Lyrics, the Right Way

This is the way you successfully can register your copyright:

Visit the US copyright office online, fill in the form, and deposit the required number of copies through e-mail along with the filing fee.

There are three essential elements that you need for for a copyright registration

  1.  A copy of the work being registered with the copyright office
  2.  A complete application form
  3.  A filling fee of $35 per registration

 If you want to copyright more than one lyric/song, I suggest you create a group registration. If you do so, you will pay a smaller amount compared to what you would pay if you registered each lyric/song individually.

One way to do that is is to present your copyright as an entire album; in that way you’ll only have to pay the $35 fee once and only fill out one single form!

This Is How to Copyrighting Your Creations

  1.  Register your creations through this link: copyright https://www.copyright.gov/ once clicked, it will open the homepage of the US copyright office.
  2. Click on register a copyright
  3. Login into ECo
  4. Submit your copyright

STEP 2

Affiliate with a Performings Rights Organization

Our second step is to register with a PRO organization. The performance rights organization (PRO) is an organization that helps songwriters and publishers to get paid, the way they accomplish that is by collecting performance royalties.

PRO TIP: A Performance royalty is a type of royalty that you get paid every time your music is used on television shows, commercials, performed in live venues, or played on radio stations.

These performance royalties are paid to performance rights organizations such as BMI, SESAC ASCAP, and SOCAN. When income is generated, the performance rights organization distributes the money to the songwriters and publishers.

Still Not Sure If You Should Register with a Pro?

 If you need some more convincing on why you should register with a performance rights organization, I have to inform you that 35% of the total available publishing royalties are actually performance royalties. As you see, there is quite some money left on the table if you decide not to register. 🙂

 If I were you, I would go to www.bmi.com/join right after I read this article and register my self. Once on the site, click on “I am a songwriter/ composer,” (remember the whole process is free of charge). Also, if you’re not a US resident, you can still affiliate with BMI or simply choose to register with a performing rights organization in your own country.

What will happen next is BMI assigns an application number to you; this number is called a CAE/IPI number. With this code, you’re identified worldwide as a songwriter!

 A word of caution! You can’t be affiliated with two performing rights organizations at the same time! So if you want to apply with Ex. BMI you should first remove your registrations with all other PRO companies.

Let move on to step three!

STEP 3

We will explore two ways in which you can sell you lyrics.

A) Sell Your Lyrics Without a Song

the first way is selling just the lyrics, without a song.

There are a few known services where you can sell your lyrics without the need to create a song out of them. A few popular options include:

Songbay

https://songbay.co/

Songbay is a marketplace for the sale of original Music, Lyrics and Poems.At Songbay, all material for sale is entirely original and free from any publishing restrictions. You can purchase music and lyrics of every genre and use them for any purpose.

PREMIUM LYRICS

https://www.premiumlyrics.com/en-eu

PREMIUM LYRICS provides a professional stock library service for people searching for original lyrics. Every lyric on PREMIUM LYRICS has been hand-picked for originality and quality.

Upwork

You can also use Upwork to seel your lyrics; you can register yourself as a lyricist and or songwriter and get clients. There is a section called Lyrics Writing freelance jobs, where you can browse previous jobs posted but also create your own. I have to mention that in order to react on the current job request, you must have a premium Upwork account.

B) Create a Professional Song Based on Your Lyrics and Sell It as a Whole

The second way is selling a complete song.

Thus far, we have registered your lyrics, and we have registered you with a performing arts organization. Our next step is actually to create songs out of these lyrics. Why may you ask?

Because selling a complete song, it’s MUCH EASIER compared to selling only a part of it. This is how the majority of the music industry works these days.

The process of making a song, an overview

Firstly a demo is created by songwriters that write the lyrics and/or compose the music (we’re talking about crafting the harmony and the lead-melody line). 

The next step is to find a music producer/band that will create a complete production of the demo. Alternatively, the song can be recorded acoustically, featuring only vocals and an instrument.

If you are low on budget, you have the option to collaborate with other songwriters for free. Bellow, I have created a list of free and budget-friendly options.

Splice

Splice is an awesome tool! I use it all the time. Not only you can find millions of samples and presets which you can download for a monthly fee, but now you can also collaborate with other artists, search for each other’s projects, and browse public sessions!

I compared Splice to the rest of the companies on this list, and I believe there are more high-quality projects listed there than any other place. But even if you don’t want to use Splice’s collaborative feature, I’d strongly suggest you check out their huge sample library.

SongwriterLink

SongwriterLink was captured by Lisa Occhino a Berklee-grad with the help of Berklee’s business start-up initiative.

 Furthermore, SongwriterLink users an engine matching technology (the same type dating websites use). This allows users to find the right matches between them. At the site, you will find topline writers, music producers, songwriters, composers, lyricists, and more. 

The platform also offers the ability to conduct searches by genre, or you can let the engine match you up.Also, through the platform’s video chat, you are able to communicate with each other; and through their file-sharing system, you can easily share your songs with the people you’re working with.

Kompoz

Kompoz allows you to connect with producers no matter where they live. Imagine this, a guitar player from London uploads a song to Compoz, then a bass player from Los Angeles creates an awesome bassline, a drummer from Tokyo crafts and masterful rhythm and a skilled banjo player from the US also adds his two cents.

Currently, with 200.000 audio tracks and counting, Compoz is one of the largest collaboration services out there. Highly recommended!

Procollabs

Procollabs Is an online music collaboration service that gives you access to experienced and talented songwriters musicians music producers and audio engineers. The website is somewhat outdated but doesn’t let that scare you away; they offer excellent value.

Hook(list)

As described at Hook(list)’s facebook account:

“Music Legends and Rising Stars collaborate with die-hard fans and hardcore musicians to write an original song Together line by line”

Hook(list) is a bit different when compared to other music collaboration services. Their main key selling point is that Hook(list) conducts songwriting up to 4 weeks, plus a different songwriter leads each songwriting event!

Vocalizr

Vocalizr leans more towards working with singers than producers. but nevertheless, it’s a great platform, especially if you are a singer and you’re looking for a paid gig.

PRO TIP: If you are looking for a music producer, you can create a custom gig. This allows Vocalizr members to contact you directly and submit proposals. Hopefully, you will find a good match for your song. Just keep in mind that while the service is free; most members will ask for a fee in exchange for their services.

Soundbetter 

Soundbetter is again a free platform, but you have to pay and hire the professionals you want to work with. Generally, I find that musicians that are listed at Soundbetter are more “Pro” compared to other online paid services; (take Fiverr as an example).

Blend

Blend made quite the stir a few years back when it became known that the legendary Moby was sharing his music on the platform! I believe that after all these years, he is still active!

With Blend, you can leave your project open for anyone to edit and create their own version of it, plus you can arrange backups of your DAW (digital audio workstation) project files.

Melboss

Melboss is another online collaboration platform that aims to bring artists and producers together. What distinguishes Melboss from the rest is their online mentor program, there you can select a real-life mentor and request them to review and comment on your songs. I haven’t tried this feature yet, but I suspect it can be very beneficial!

Audiu

With Audieu (same as Melboss), you can get feedback on your tracks from a selection of pro artists. You can read the career and bio info of each reviewer, and within 72 hours after submission, the reviewer must deliver a SoundCloud timestamped waveform, which is filled with advice. The timestamp is often divided into categories such as mixdown, arrangement, sound choices, etc.

Audiu is NOT a free platform; they work with a credit-based system that starts at about $20; with that amount, you can buy two user track reviews.

Hopefully, you’ll find value, and you’ll be able to complete record your song with the help of one of these services.

Now that the song is recorded, its time to create a complete production out of it!

STEP 4

Create a Full-Blown Production with the Help of a Music Producer

This step is optional since an acoustically recorded song is, in many cases, enough since you just want is to showcase the track to the artist, plus they will probably create their own version anyways.

There are a couple of exceptions though, one of them is when you’re working with electronic music; in this case, you should opt for a full production since this step is necessary to give the right vibe. Also, POP music requires a certain “polished” level of production.

No matter what you decide to do, its always better to have a complete and finished product before moving on and engaging in marketing strategies.

You can find a music producer on

  • Fiver
  • Upwork
  • Soundbetter
  • From Me Yes here at PopSong University I offer music production services paired with mixing and mastering! For more information you can visit my page right here or contact me directly

STEP 5

Market Yourself

Your next step should be to market your song to record labels, music publishers, A&R managers, record Executives, etc. If your song is good enough, they will pitch it to the right bands and solo artists. 

I could go on for hours talking about marketing strategies for artists. I have investigated the matter, and through trial and error, I found the most profitable and reliable marketing strategies of today! 

I will uncover a few gems in this article, but because the subject is so detailed, I decided to create a book that walks you through step by step on how to market your music. 

This book is designed for artists, producers, songwriters, and industry pros. Click on the link bellow to join my VIP waiting list and be among the first to get updates about the Profitable music marketing & networking guide!

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Stop wasting time and money! Learn how to market your music like a pro and get in touch with industry professionals by following the steps outlined in this guide! 

Ways to Promote Your Self

What you need to do now is promote yourself a) online and b) off-line, network and create connections with artists, record labels, and whoever else might help you sell your products.

Contact Record Labels and Submit Your Creation

You can contact record labels through their official contact form and submit either your demo or send them an e-mail explaining that you have lyrics to sell. this is a great way to get in touch with labels, but the problem is everybody’s doing it.

A better strategy would be to work your way up. What I mean by that is find people who are connected with a labels key persons such as A&R managers or record executives; these middle-man-connectors are professionals the label works with on a regular basis such as

  • Mixing engineers
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Entertainment lawyers

Follow My Simple Two-Step Formula:

A) Check on social media to see which of these professionals are “connected” with personnel that works at the label you want to contact.

B) Send a friend request and see if there is an opportunity for you to add value to their lives, then build a connection with them. If they trust you, it’s more likely that they bring you in touch with the labels decision-makers.

Avoid These Mistakes When Reaching out to the Middle-Man-Connectors

Avoid Saying “Anything You Need”

It might seem like a good idea when you contact someone online to say and say, “let me know if there is anything you need,” but it’s not. When you use that phrase, you simply don’t offer any value to that person because your offers if too generic, plus they don’t know you, and they are likely to forget you.

What you should do instead is let them know your skillset and your specific qualities, try to add value in a targeted way. Example: ” I am a mixing engineer; I’ll mix your new single for free, hit me up.”

Avoid General Questions

Simply put general questions ill give yu general answers

Avoid Asking People for Other Artists Contacts

Remember you are in the music industry business, here people build contacts through relationships; this takes a lot of effort and time; they won’t risk this by giving their connections to people they barely know.

Create an Online Marketing Plan

Right now the Internet is your best friend, with the right tactics, you can reach thousands of people in a matter of seconds.

I remember when I first started my blog within six months, I had 2000 unique visitors every month on my website. I achieve this through 

  • Proper SEO, 
  • Website optimization
  • Providing useful content in the form of text and video,
  • Properly set up social media profiles and get followers
  • Provide value on online forums such as Reddit or Quora
  • A YouTube channel

If you have a website or blog, you should incorporate lead magnets to build up your e-mail subscriber list. Lead magnets are free digital products you offer in exchange for someone’s e-mail. This can be a short ebook, an infographic, or maybe even a software.

Another way to get exposure is through starting a podcast. Online podcasts are very useful for reaching a broad audience. That said, video remails on the first spot!

Now what you have to do is simply to:

Notice what’s working, adjust your strategy where necessary, and continue on the same path!

I Wish you the best of luck!

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