How to Become a Published Songwriter

Updated February 21, 2017

Becoming a published songwriter does not mean your songs are being blasted on the radio. Instead, after you have compiled and fine-tuned a song, you must contact songwriting publishers to get your work seen by musicians. After your work is on the roster with a music publisher, you will be a professional songwriter.

Compile several of your best songs onto a demo CD. This demo can be professionally recorded; but if you do not have the finances to visit a recording studio you can record songs using your home computer, microphone and an audio recording program. Only choose your best songs to place on this demo. Within your demo CD packet, include your songwriting resume and list any recommendations from previous musicians or music publishers, if applicable.

Contact music publishers that specialise in your genre of songwriting. The Music Publisher's Association offers a database of all music publishers around the world. The Association of Independent Music Publishers also features a database with more than 700 music publishers, as of 2010.

Ask the music publishers about their submission guidelines. Do not be discouraged if a publisher does not want to hear your demo CD; songwriting is a highly competitive market and these companies are bombarded by requests every day.

Send your complete demo CD package to the music publishers that have shown interest in hearing your songs. If a publisher is interested, you will be offered a contract for one or numerous songs.

Read the contract carefully to ensure your rights as a songwriter are not overruled. A contract should clearly state that you will receive full songwriting credits if the song is recorded by a musician and what your royalty percentage will be. After you have completely read and signed the contract, you will be an official published songwriter.


Copyright your song with the U.S. Copyright Office if you want to ensure a music publisher does not steal your lyrics or ideas. Do not be discouraged if you are not offered a publishing contract after contacting several music publishers.


Do not sign a contract with a music publisher if you are unable to retain full rights to the song.

Things You'll Need

  • Demo CD
  • Resume
  • Recommendations
  • Microphone
  • Audio recording program
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About the Author

Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.