How to be a Freelance Lyricist

freelance Lyricist

For any song, the lyrics are one of the most important of all its elements. Remember that lyrics that you hold close to your heart, or even the one that inspires you. Have you ever wondered about being a lyricist? What does it take? Do you need to be good with words or do you need an ear for good music as well? Many questions might spring to mind when pondering over becoming a freelance lyricist.

As a lyricist, if you create lyrics that give you instant success, then you are lucky indeed. But for those of you who are still working their way up the ladder, there are many options at your disposal. Unlike the old days, when you would often have to wait for someone to give you a break, today all you need to do is create some YouTube videos and voila, you’re on the way to marketing your services. With this newfound fame, you can work your way up to that elusive opportunity. A career as a freelance lyricist can be a rewarding one for anyone, especially if you have the inclination to take the effort to achieve it.

Freelance Lyricist Job Duties

As with any other job, there are certain duties that you will be required to undertake. Although, the scope of these duties changes when you freelance full-time or work away from the office, the essence of these duties, remains the same. Broadly, you will write poetry or song lyrics for music. Some of the major duties, that you will undertake, include:

  • Write narrative, dramatic, lyrical, or other types of poetry for publication
  • Adapt text to accommodate musical requirements of composers and singers
  • Write words to fit musical compositions, including lyrics for operas, musical plays, and choirs.
  • Follow appropriate procedures to get copyrights for completed work.
  • Plan project arrangements or outlines, and organize material accordingly
  • Revise written material to meet personal standards and to satisfy the needs of clients, publishers, film directors, or producers.
  • Choose subject matter and suitable form to express personal feelings and experiences or ideas, or to narrate stories or events.
  • Plan project arrangements or outlines, and organize material accordingly.
  • Prepare works in an appropriate format for publication, and send them to publishers or producers.
  • Follow appropriate procedures to get copyrights for completed work.


You must develop the skills necessary to make money as a lyricist. Remember that you’ll be the one responsible for coming up with well worded and catchy lyrics for musicians. You will be a part of the creative process from scratch. Some of the skills you must develop include:

  • Creative Writing skills
  • Instrument skills
  • Melody concepts like contour and span
  • Chord writing
  • Understand, talk, read, write, and play rhythm
  • Lyrics Writer, Write melody and write chords which in turn is accelerated by your ability to talk, read and write rhythm

You need some of these skills to hit the right notes and strike the correct chords. Once you have developed and honed these skills to a razor’s edge, you can call yourself an accomplished lyricist or a songwriter.  Coursera, Berklee School of Music, Secrets Of Songwriting, Pat Pattison’s online courses, and Udemy offers many portals, forums, chat-streams, and discussion boards where you can hone the skills needed.

[Also Read:  Freelance Skills]

Being Successful As A Lyricist

Success as a lyricist will depend on your talent and skill. Although, more often than not, skill is not the only determinant in the music industry, with experience and credibility being the major cornerstones on which the industry bases itself. Many attributes make up a good freelance lyricist.

To be successful as a freelance lyricist, you should:

  • Have an understanding of concepts like Melody, harmony, rhythm, notes, and chords
  • Be able to collaborate or write lyrics from remote locations, as needed
  • Be able to write any kind of lyrics as per directives
  • Be sociable
  • Build up recommendations
  • Network, collaborate with other musicians
  • Plan out gigs in advance

Average Remunerations

Most of the revenue generated by you depends solely on your ability to market your services and your credibility with previous employees.

The money in freelancing is varied: Usually, freelance portals offer various kinds of payment models. In the fixed-price model, the price is usually pre-determined. The hourly model is the most popular and employers usually pay a predetermined sum per hour. Finally, in the project-budget based model, you often need to auction for such projects. Usually, a fixed price model may range from $20- $200 and upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, and budget payments, which usually range from $5- $35 an hour, with average payments at $19 per hour.

[Also Read: Books Every Freelancer Should Read ]

Finding Work

Many portals, websites, and even job forums list hundreds of jobs for freelance lyricists and songwriters. All you have to do is find the right job listing, and you’ll be able to start earning some serious money. Popular websites like Elance, Odesk, Peopleperhour offer jobs aplenty, but lesser-known websites like Writejobs and Songwriting Opportunities need lyricists like you.


You can develop and hone these skills needed online, or through online courses. Resources that help you learn include Coursera, Berklee School of Music, Secrets Of Songwriting, Pat Pattison’s online courses, and Udemy. They offer both paid-for and free variations so that you can hone the skills needed.