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What is a songwriter?

1 min read

Understand the role a songwriter plays in songwriting.

A songwriter writes both the composition and lyrics of a musical work.

The most commonly used term songwriter refers to many different roles involved in creating a . On this page, we're using it to describe a who writes both the and of a particular musical work, as opposed to other creator roles, like or , who may only write the composition or the lyrics of a particular work.

Copyright ownership for songwriters

Songwriters and all additional collaborators, such as lyricists, , , etc., who make an contribution to the musical work are considered under . Therefore, they can all own a share of the in the musical work; it's like sharing a pie.

Agreeing and properly documenting each author's share, also called , is the first step for each author to receive a share of earnings if the musical work is used. Learn more about this in the Songwriter Splits and Registering Musical Works topics.

Songwriters who have multiple creative roles

If you are a songwriter, you might also have additional roles when writing or recording a musical work, in which case you might also have additional shares in the ownership of that musical work and the .

Find out more about how this works in the Recording topic. To understand authors' rights in more detail, visit the Music Creators' Rights topic.

Video credit: Tiffany Orvet, Dilun Riad Edmon, Daniel Hjellum, Tim Ljungstedt, David Lebna, Artu Kontkanen, Tobias Leo Nordquist, Ponny Höijer, William Engström, Parapix