As a lyricist, how do I make money?

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I have collaborated so much, especially since I have been on here, but I can never seem to make money at it. I am not a singer, and can only
play my ukulele so-so.
Any tips?


Hey Cindy @cindyrella!

I'm afraid very few folks are able to make any money on lyrics or music or even complete professionally produced songs! I have made next to nothing on the songs I have released but to be fair I have only formally released a few. I have made some money selling royalty free instrumental tracks through Audio Jungle but it is fiercely competitive and really it wouldn't even come close to paying the bills.

I bet some people will tell you to just keep trying and I agree with that but you cannot depend on music for any money these days. I honestly believe a lottery ticket has about the same chance of making me some money!

@cindyrella I work as a lyricist near enough full time (around archery, gardening and Airbnb lol). I work professionally and I do earn money from it. I work predominantly in the sync licensing world, with a few small artists cuts also.
If you would like to talk about how I do it in depth, I am more than happy for you to call me (either phone or Facebook voice call etc).
I couldn't live off of my sync fees, royalties, wfh contracts etc, but they are nice extra income. My long term plan is that this is my retirement fund Smile The royalties that is. Not that I'll stop writing when I reach retirement age !
Give me a call, or ask anything you want here Smile
Amanda xx

That would be great! I am mostly needing it for some extra income. I have to leave soon and won't be back until late, but I think I can tomorrow.

As a lyricist, I make money through my day job.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

So inspirational too!

Talk tomorrow Cindy Smile

I hope to later! My son just called and said he almost fainted at work this morning and asked if I could drive him to the doctor.

@cindyrella -- it's a loaded question, chocolate or vanilla, -- which is best? You'll get as many answers as folks here.

No one should ever tell you not to "try", or certainly, -- not engage your art ( OMG, that's the extreme )... but try to make money; anything is possible, and context driven too.

The thing is, and aside for all the 100% correct comments above, -- many people out there are making money off of folks like you who want to make money. "Send me your song with $150 and a full description of your goals and what *you think of your song and why" to... Nash-ville, TN, PO Box... and I'll get back to you quick. Or, hey, "we don't charge you ever to record, BUT, if we hire folks to play YOUR song... well, you understand, you'd need to pay "us", err, uh, ohh, Them, them... I meant them... right!? Smile

There was a person here, just after the last 5090, last year, after it ended who posted songs and the situation she was in, a "Contest" (and/or other services too), and was lyric eval gimmick, -- AND she posted SOOO MUCH info on herself (I wanted to vet if she was working for that company Wink ) ... by the time I got done, I knew where she lived. Not good. She worked as a "Senior" (older american) as a Waitress... with grandkids and etc., and was wide open on the Internet.

Well, like it or not, -- I responded and she got off line, disappeared, *did work Wink for that corp seeking $ubmissions Smile (gray-web bait).

So, the one thing, since you ask, and many get on a high horse about "qualified" answers and what they know... I know one thing, for what it's worth... I have NEVER seen anyone "make" it, making money by other than situational circumstance where someone got to know your stuff (so do it)... and YOU and said give'em a call.

Quote to me... "I know I can hire better than you and money is not the issue, but I know I can tolerate having YOU around for 8-10 hours a day 'till this is done".

So, talent?, "the best cost the most", "reputation"... eh... OK... or one day someone may say, "hey, I remember this lyric... (looks it up)..., then "remembers" (forget it a real ashhole, hard, complicated to deal with, or NOT, remembers nothing or just sweetness and easy to get along with all...) ... and you'll get contacted.

I don't know anyone but the "services" making money off some of this other stuff, (posting services), but so long as it costs you nothing, -- why not, go for it if have the time!

I'll add one thing, -- years ago when worked in publishing and a family member there as well, -- was the one who generated and issued the ISBN numbers (ALL went through them, one person), you see on all books, -- before deregulation, and amazon and etc. Smile (still exists)... well, we were always amazed at how ignorant and ripped off Authors were who went through a "Publisher" who then, effectively/functionally owned their work... -- they got a "check" and were happy, but not "business people".

I learned *decades ago as an "art student", -- make sure you get paid. I was one of few who did and has always been a bid deal. But, I leave it there or risk "TLTR", -- God forbid, aye Wink !

-- Balance... peace..., good work

Best of luck to you!

Thanks for writing all this and such good advice! I will heed it!

From the performing, recording and producing side, all my formal CDs have covered their production costs, provided I don't count the cost of my time, studio or instruments, only the costs of (e.g.) duplication, postage, CDBaby and so on. Some have even turned a slight profit. So much so that I can pay the lyricist shares, where I'm not the lyricist. But then comes the rub: I'm sure he wont' mind me mentioning this debt, but I owe @Stephen Wordsmith $1.53, or is it $1.54? royalties for tracks on "Irritatin'Katy", where we're sharing those track's royalties 50/50. Riches almost below measure! The about to be released "Flying Tadpole's Travelling Blues Band" has done reasonably to date, but again, on present calculations the three other lyricists on that look like they'll pick up $3-$5 a song. Again not riches. And if you think in terms of one lyric ie 50% of one track royalty, 17 tracks, so 1/34th of total royalties and the profits are only a couple of hundred bucks, well...don't count on increasing your barista coffee uptake! To make money, that "couple of hundred" needs lots more zeroes behind it, and not in the Spotify oops cents column! I guess it's what people might call "vanity publishing" but I reckon the stuff needs to be got out htere and damn the uncaring world! Incidentally, re-read @johnstaples comment re libraries. Yes it is ferociously competitive and also a numbers game. I get royalty trickles there, but all my library stuff is instrumental, no solace for lyrics.

Thanks to you and John both and all who responded!