The future of music

How to Become a Music Ghostwriter: Easy Guide

December 29, 2023
how to become a music ghostwriter

If you love music and enjoy writing, music ghostwriting might be a perfect job for you.

But how to become a music ghostwriter, and what are the benefits of becoming one?

Certainly, working as a ghostwriter and not getting any credit for your work might seem strange.

But it can actually be interesting and quite profitable.

So in today’s article, we will quickly take you through everything you need to know about what it takes to become a music ghostwriter.

How to Become a Music Ghostwriter

Generally, a ghostwriter is someone who writes something and then allows someone else to claim it as their own original work.

So, ghostwriters work in the shadows, or behind the curtain if you will.

But that kind of work comes with numerous benefits.

For instance, ghostwriters can be well paid.

And they usually have flexible jobs – they can work from home and set their own working hours.

So, although not getting credit for your work isn’t a good thing, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.

It all depends on your goals and expectations.

If you want to become a famous singer or songwriter, ghostwriting probably isn’t the best career choice for you.

But if you’re looking for a way to monetize your writing skills and musical knowledge, you should discover more about what being a music ghostwriter means. 

What Do Music Ghostwriters Do?

As we’ve already mentioned, ghostwriters are hired to write a song, article, speech, or book that someone else will get credit for.

When it comes to music, ghostwriters usually write lyrics or even melodies and hooks for a song.

person writing and drinking coffee

Now, there are different styles of music ghostwriting.

You should opt for a job that fits your abilities, goals, and skills.

For instance, if you’re good at songwriting, you should think about writing songs. 

And if you’re a skilled guitar player, you can write melodies and compelling riffs.

Either way, before starting your music ghostwriting career, you should think about your skills and strengths.

Generally, the most common music ghostwriting jobs include:

With time, you can also branch out and offer more services.

But in the beginning, focus on what you already know.

How Much Music Ghostwriters Make?

One of the benefits of being a ghostwriter is good money.

Of course, don’t expect to earn a ton of money right away.

In fact, it’s not easy to become a well-paid professional ghostwriter in the music industry.

However, it’s definitely not impossible.

But you need to take it step-by-step.

How much you’re going to earn as a ghostwriter depends on many factors though. 

For instance, you should consider the following factors:

  • Your expertise
  • Your experience
  • Your catalog quality

When thinking about how much to charge for your ghostwriting work, you should charge appropriately to how much you can actually offer.

Generally, freelancing platforms like Fiverr pay ghostwriters between $10 and over $100, mainly depending on the content and length of work. 

And Freelance Writing indicates that ghostwriters often charge ​10 cents​ to ​$4​ per word, depending on the job and the level of their experience. 

man smiling while using laptop

So, how much you’re going to earn primarily depends on the type of music ghostwriting job you get.

Ghostwriters who work for successful artists or companies can earn quite a lot. 

The price can either come from the final product or hours put into finishing the work.

Either way, you should always be careful about the type of contract/deal you’re saying yes to – there are not many people who do these kinds of scams, but you can never be too careful.

And you should always take care of practical details.

For instance, if you’re writing songs, you can still get certain music royalties, even if you don’t get official credit for it. 

So, make sure you’re familiar with your rights before starting a job.

Nonetheless, most ghostwriters start out as freelancers.

And freelancing comes with many benefits, including setting your own schedule and accepting the offers you believe will benefit you the most.

Now, if all of this seems appealing to you, you should definitely consider starting a ghostwriter music career.

Tips For Becoming a Music Ghostwriter 

If you want to become a professional ghostwriter, you should start out by determining what your skills are.

If you don’t have any experience in this specific field, you should think about your other skills and knowledge.

For example, maybe you’ve worked as a journalist or content writer before; that would certainly give you a competitive edge in the industry.

And maybe you’ve been taking piano lessons as a kid – this could be quite beneficial too.

If you know what your abilities are, it will be easier for you to proceed with the following steps.

Work on your skills

Once you determine your skills and strengths, you can set specific professional goals.

While creating your ultimate goal, consider your skills as well as your interests.

For instance, if you have a passion for musical instruments, you should use that as an advantage. 

The goal is to mix your passion, skills, and knowledge – that way, you don’t have to invest a lot of time and money into lessons and education.

More importantly, you can enjoy what you do, and that’s how you’ll ultimately be more productive.

Nevertheless, if you really want to make it as a professional ghostwriter in the music industry, you should keep improving your existing skills.

For example, you should read as much as you can, and you should explore different fields, subjects, and writing styles. 

Many ghostwriters read a lot, regardless of the type of ghostwriting work they do. 

Books for ghostwriters.

If you want to become a lyricist, read fiction and poetry.

If you want to become a ghostwriter for rappers, focus on rhymes and literary devices.

So, you don’t need a special degree to become a professional music ghostwriter.

But you need the necessary skills. 

Furthermore, if you want to get a job in the music industry, you should try to keep up with the trends.

You can read music blogs, listen to music, and generally stay informed about the latest trends.

Also, if you’re interested in working for a specific artist, you should be familiar with their style and musical repertoire.

Being a music ghostwriter is about giving away your best work, but it’s also about knowing what’s appropriate for an artist you’re writing for.

Writing a good song is not easy, but writing a song or a rhyme in the style of another artist is a different story.

That said, you should learn as much as you can about the musician you want to submit your work to. 

And you should explore different writing techniques to make your writing process more effective.

Either way, before submitting your songs, you need to make sure they are good enough; and that can sometimes be challenging, especially for beginners.

Many ghostwriters write a lot of bad stuff first, so that’s something you might have to go through as well. 

That being said, remember not to rush – but also don’t hesitate to get your work out there. 

But ultimately, if you want to make a living ghostwriting, the important thing is to keep enhancing your writing skills and expanding your knowledge.

And then you’ll be ready to start building your reputation in the music industry.

Build your reputation as a ghostwriter

Establishing yourself as a music ghostwriter takes time.

After all, you need to put the work in regardless of what you want to do.

But how should you get yourself noticed and build a reputation as a music ghostwriter?

woman using a laptop while drinking coffee.

First of all, you should work on your online presence.

Establishing a powerful online presence includes:

  • Creating a website
  • Managing social media accounts
  • Creating engaging content

Creating a music website for your services is arguably the easiest thing you can do as a beginner ghostwriter.

Your website should include your bio and contact, previous work, and links, and it should be very clear and straightforward.

But your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) should be a reflection of who you are as an artist and creator.

Of course, ghostwriters don’t need to create appealing accounts and visual brands as musicians do; music marketing strategies are simply different when you’re trying to promote your own music.

But handling social media accounts efficiently can only be beneficial to you. 

Plus, Instagram DM is one of the ways you can connect with relevant people; it’s the ultimate modern networking tool. 

All things considered, developing an effective social media strategy for your work wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

You need to build credibility, and creating an online presence is one of the best ways to make people aware of your services.

Make a Recording

If you want to find your first clients, you need to record a demo and start to submit your music.

Generally, artists and producers record a demo to showcase their talent and demonstrate what their music is all about.

You can make a short compilation (4 songs is usually enough) or pick your best tracks. 

If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can collaborate with a musician or hire a recording studio.

microphone with condenser

Music production is a multi-stage process, and there are many things to think about, including songwriting, arranging, mixing, and mastering.

As a music ghostwriter, you don’t have to be in charge of every stage of the song creation process.

It all depends on your abilities and goals.

The important thing is to create a strong portfolio.

People need to become aware of your talent and skills – that’s the only way someone will hire you. 

Network

Another important thing about starting a career as a music ghostwriter is networking.

Connecting with the right people will ultimately help you land your first clients.

Besides social media, you should try to connect with people in other ways – you can attend concerts, conferences, and events.

You should connect with musicians, artists, producers, promoters, and other people from the music industry.

Forming industry connections will keep you in the loop and bring you new opportunities.

After all, many ghostwriters get jobs because of word of mouth – especially when it comes to people who write for big stars.

Take It Step-By-Step

If you want to work with big names and maximize your earnings as a ghostwriter, you’ll need to be patient, and you’ll need to work hard.

Building a reputation in the music industry and creating a strong portfolio simply takes time.

But earning a living (and more) as a music ghostwriter is definitely achievable.

You’ll just have to take it step-by-step.

This means you might have to opt for less interesting jobs in the beginning.

But one job can lead to another, so you should treat every client and every job with respect. 

And you should always answer on time.

You can even consider working for free – for instance, you can offer a free project to a client you want to work with. 

And if they like your work, they might hire you permanently. 

Either way, success doesn’t happen overnight.

But with good work and consistency, you’ll probably achieve your goals sooner than you think.

Extra Tips 

Becoming a professional ghostwriter in music requires writing skills as well as communication skills.

Also, you’ll have to focus on marketing and self-advertisement.

But you should also think about what really suits you as an individual.

For example, maybe you’re good at writing and you’re passionate about music, but you don’t know anything about songwriting.

In that case, you can consider becoming a ghostwriter for a music blog or some music-related website.

woman typing on laptop

Luckily, there are many job opportunities for ghostwriters, and you should take advantage of all the possibilities you have at your disposal.

Freelancing websites are a great place to start – you can search for offers and do simpler writing jobs to build your portfolio.

But you can also work on expanding your knowledge and improving your skills.

There are many online lessons and programs ideal for ghostwriting newbies.

Generally, bringing your skills to another level and advertising your services is crucial.

But you shouldn’t forget about finding inspiration.

Whether you’re ghostwriting for a famous rapper or writing melodies for a local musician, you’ll need to have many fresh ideas.

Therefore, we recommend keeping a notebook, so you can always write down new ideas.

But hard work is often more important than inspiration.

Honestly, being a ghostwriter and writer, in general, is more about putting in the work than waiting for inspiration.

Establishing a regular writing routine can be therefore very helpful. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow ghostwriters.

They probably have a lot of useful tips on how to become a music ghostwriter, and they can also help you set pricing for your ghostwriting services.

How to Become a Music Ghostwriter – Final Thoughts 

There’s no doubt about it – becoming a successful and well-paid music ghostwriter can be challenging.

But the most important thing is to get things started. 

Write, read, and work on building your reputation in the music industry.

Keep practicing and advertising your services.

If you stay connected, motivated, and persistent, work will undoubtedly come your way.

You may also like: How to Become a Songwriter

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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