You don’t need to be an artist in the public eye to have a career in the music industry. Although singers and rappers are the name and face associated with songs, many use ghostwriters to help compose their material.
If you have a passion for songwriting, but for whatever reason, you don’t desire to release your compositions yourself, ghostwriting is a great path to take.
In this guide, I’ll provide you with some tips and guidance on how to become a ghostwriter in the music industry.
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What is Ghostwriting?
If you check the writer’s credits of many of the popular music of today, you might be surprised to see names that you’ve never heard of. These people are known as ghostwriters, working behind the scenes to craft songs for artists.
Many established artists began their foray into the music industry by ghostwriting hits for other singers, rappers, and groups. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and get paid for your creativity.
In some cases, ghostwriters are made up of a group of songwriters who all work together to write material. Sometimes, ghostwriters work alone and submit their compositions to labels, publishers, or directly to the artist.
Becoming a Ghostwriter
Unfortunately, most professional ghostwriters aren’t able to simply compose a song, send it to their favorite rapper or singer, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Like any career in the music industry, becoming a ghostwriter requires you to put in the groundwork early on, in the hope that it will pay off down the line.
The first step you need to take to establish yourself as a ghostwriter is to create a portfolio of material that you’ve composed. You could do this by creating a website and uploading your work to send to people.
Ghostwriting is a competitive field, but if your material is good enough and you present it professionally, there’s no reason that you can’t start attracting artists in a very short period.
For many creatives, the term ‘networking’ conjures an uncomfortable feeling. Putting yourself out there is difficult, because it leaves your work open to critique, and makes you feel vulnerable to failure.
However, it is a vital part of establishing yourself as a ghostwriter. By networking, I’m simply referring to the process of reaching out to other people in the industry who can help you, or who may be interested in your services.
It’s important to remember that everyone in the music industry is essentially in the same boat. They all have to network and look for like-minded people who can offer them something of value.
The beautiful thing about the internet era is that you can easily network from the comfort of your own home.
A great way to do this is by searching the internet for emails and contacts of people who you’d be interested in working for. As an example, if there’s an up-and-coming rapper that you like, dig a little deeper and find the email address of their management team.
Then, find a singer who you’d like to work with, and find a contact from their record label. Keep repeating this process, adding each contact to a list until you’re ready to get in touch and offer your services.
Even in the digital age, the old methods are still valid. Meeting people face to face is a great way to get your ghostwriting services out there.
Physically meeting someone makes them much more likely to remember you than if you simply send them a message on social media. To successfully network, you need to combine online and physical tactics.
Most cities and towns have creative meetups designed for like-minded people to network with one another, offering their services and getting advice. You can search for these events easily online.
It might be worth getting some professional business cards with a link to your website printed on them if you decide to go to a networking event.
Starting locally and working with artists in your area is a great way to gain experience and add to your resume. You can then branch out to other artists as your client base expands.
If you’re dedicated to your craft as a songwriter, and you’re willing to put in the hours, you can certainly have a career as a successful ghostwriter for singers and rappers. The key is to first make sure your material is of a very high standard.
Once you’re created a body of work that you’re pleased with, it’s time to channel your creativity into networking. There are no right or wrong methods to market your services, providing you are constantly getting in contact with people who can help you find work.