4 Things Every Songwriter Should Do
Congrats! You’ve finished writing your first (or thirtieth) worship song. You’ve edited it a thousand times and it’s so good you think it could be the next “How He Loves.” Sweet. Cool. Awesome. Now what?
Here’s a four-point checklist to help you make sure your song is ready to go when it’s time to share it with friends, your church, and publishers…
1.) Demo your Song.
A great demo doesn’t have to be super fancy, but it should be the best representation of your idea. Leave space for potential artists to be able to picture how they would perform and/or produce it. Don’t have tons of money to go all out on a professional demo? Don’t sweat it! Download Stagelight onto your laptop/mobile device, grab your guitar or piano, turn the A/C off, and hit the record button. After you’ve perfected your recording, send it off to Landr for some cheap mastering, type up a copy of the lyrics with chords, and voila! You have a solid demo to share!
Here’s a Youtube channel that shows you how to record song demos using Stagelight.
2.) Secure your Copyright.
Even though you—the songwriter—own your song at creation, it’s always a good idea to officially register your song. You can secure your legal copyright by registering it with the Library of Congress.
If you wrote your song with other people, you’ll need to decide how you want to split copyright ownership. Easiest way to do this is to split the song evenly with everyone who was in the writing room (yes, even the guy who was sitting in the corner texting the whole time).
3.) Become a PRO Member.
A Performing Rights Organization (PRO) collects royalties from songs that are being publicly performed (i.e. radio, live shows, tv, streaming, restaurants), and gives that cash to publishers and songwriters. If you aren’t registered with a PRO, chances are you’ll be missing out on tons of mula when your song goes viral. Plus, being a PRO member gives you access to resources to help develop your writing skills and meet with publishers and other writers.
Here’s a list of PROs from around the world.
4.) Share your Demo.
Soundcloud, social media, open-mic night, YouTube, sunday service, NoiseTrade…there are many ways to share your songs with others. Get your uber-talented, Youtube-famous singer friend to do a cover. Use your song as the soundtrack for your dance crew’s spring talent show gig. Play your song around the campfire at your church’s youth group retreat. Have your nerdy EDM-loving cousin do a cool remix of your song. Send your song demo to your uncle who used to know that one guy who might have worked with Michael W. Smith in the 90s. The point is, you never know where your song could go unless you share, share, share!