How to Become a Lyricist in India: Requirements, Salary, Qualifications, Scope

9 minute read

A lyricist is someone who writes lyrics for songs to go with the melody and music. Being a part of a team that creates original songs is a common aspiration for music lovers. Learning what lyricists do for a living will help you determine whether or not you want to pursue it as a career, as well as give you assistance as you obtain the skills, experience, and professional network required to launch your career. In this article, we define a lyricist, examine their normal job duties, discuss some of the standard criteria for a job in lyric writing, and give you a step-by-step guide to becoming a lyricist in India.

Lyricists: Who are They?

Lyricists are writers who specialize in music lyrics. They can create lyrics for singles, albums, or musicals. A lyricist can work alone or with other songwriters, composers, and musicians

Songwriters and lyricists are distinguished by the fact that songwriters generally produce both the music and the lyrics, whilst lyricists primarily write the words to accompany the melody.

You can work as a lyricist full-time or on a freelance basis. Full-time lyricists work for a certain production business, producing words for songs that can be used by multiple artists. Freelance lyricists offer songwriting ideas to production firms, independent musicians, and media outlets. 

Songwriter vs Lyricist

Songwriters approach music in a more holistic way, often tackling both the melody and the lyrics of a song. Writing lyrics is frequently part of songwriting while writing melody is outside of a lyricist’s responsibilities.

The major distinction between a lyricist and a songwriter is that a lyricist is someone who writes the lyrics of a song, whereas a songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics and, in most cases, the music of a song.

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Roles and Responsibilities

Both freelance and full-time lyricists have a few basic responsibilities:

Examining Song Briefs

When a lyricist is hired by an artist or production business, they may want creative ideas or specified types of content. Lyricists analyze the information in the song brief after receiving a request, such as a genre, artist inspirations, audience, and any other specifics regarding the melody, beat, or composition. 

Lyricists ask questions to ensure they grasp the types of songs desired by the customer and take notes to aid the songwriting process.

Composing Lyrics

Lyricists produce lyrics for songs during production sessions when they explore concepts and rhymes for many tunes. They may plan lyrics based on the melody of the background music, or they may supply an artist with a broad outline for the chorus, bridge, and verses, which they then change as needed to match the final composition. 

Some lyricists incorporate a narrative in their songs, while others rely on images, metaphors, and other literary methods for the majority of their song material.

Finalizing Revisions

After submitting a song, a lyricist’s client may request adjustments or revisions. Some musicians may even request a change to a lyricist’s original song in order to better reflect their public image and artistic flair. 

Lyric revision entails examining feedback, rewriting individual sections during a session, and altering the entire song to reflect the new lyrics. Edits might range from little adjustments in terminology to major modifications in the song’s overall direction.

How to Become a Lyricist? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a lyricist in India. Check the process below:

A Degree in Music

There is no required degree to become a lyricist because developing your musical talent is the most important aspect of success as a lyricist, although understanding the principles of music theory can help you enhance your skills. You can learn how to create and compose music, including lyrics, by taking college classes or receiving a degree in music, fine arts, or creative writing. Here are some degrees you can pursue:

Choose poetry and songwriting classes to get knowledge of sentence form, rhyming, and flow that you can apply to your work. Music lessons can also teach you the concepts and vocabulary necessary for collaborating with other artists and composers. 

Relevant Read: Diploma in Music – Eligibility, Scope, Colleges & More

Make a Portfolio of Your Songs

Begin writing songs to establish your professional lyricist and songwriter portfolio. The more lyrics you write, the more you can hone your craft and get expertise with various song structures and rhymes. Look for inspiration and ideas to motivate your songs, then tweak them till you’re happy with the outcome. Here are some ideas for portfolio items:

Save all of your songs in a portfolio that you may show potential clients and jobs. You might even try creating your own website to promote your work. As your experience as a songwriter grows, go over your portfolio to make sure it includes your greatest work.

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Work with Independent Artists

Look for independent artists that might wish to cooperate with you before looking for paid work as a professional lyricist. Find singers whose style you like and ask them if they’d be interested in using your lyrics on an album or covering one of your songs in exchange for writing credit. This is an opportunity to expand your professional network and demonstrate to potential employers that you have a track record of creating lyrics for songs that actual artists want to use.

Experiment with Various Styles

Investigate creating lyrics for a variety of genres and styles to make oneself more desirable to clients and music publishers. To demonstrate how you might approach the same subject from multiple viewpoints, try writing songs in the style of numerous musicians who inspire you. As you experiment with several designs, you may discover a niche that you appreciate.

Expand Your Network

The music industry is incredibly competitive, and knowing people who can help you further your career is a terrific way to break into it. Fortunately, even if you do not live in a place known for music creation, business social networking sites make it simple to interact with people all around the world who share your interests. Growing your network before excelling in music could make or break your career.

You may also expand your network by attending business events such as concerts and trade shows. Interacting with artists, songwriters, and producers might help you connect with possible collaborators and jobs.

Look for Ways to Market Lyrics as a Freelancer

With the lyrics completed and ready to sell, it is time to begin exploring sales options. You can accomplish this by utilising platforms that connect freelancers and merchants. These platforms enable freelancers to bid on assignments in exchange for a small finder’s fee. You can also look for freelancing opportunities in your local and internet ads. Search for keywords related to the types of music you write if you work in a specific area.

Look and Apply for Jobs

Look for full-time positions writing lyrics for music production or theatre firms. You can hunt for a lyricist post directly or look for an entry-level position in a production company, then seek internal progression within the organization. Prepare a résumé and a physical portfolio of songs that showcase some of your most amazing writing techniques. Before interviewing with a company, understand the type of lyrics you’ll be creating and be ready to show how your writing style can be applied to that situation.

Top Colleges for Music Degrees

Here are some of the top colleges to study music degrees in India along with their average fees. Check the table below:

CollegesAverage Fees
Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, Communication and Creative Arts, Mumbai14-27 Lakh
Amity University, Noida2.5 Lakh
LPU, Delhi1.38-2.36 Lakh
Ramjas College, DelhiRs. 22,680 – Rs. 40,480
Hindu College, DelhiRs. 52,770
MSU, VadodaraRs. 1,800 – Rs. 27,180

If you wish to study abroad and then come back to India to become a lyricist, here are some of the top colleges that you can target:

Relevant Read: Music Production Courses: Top Programs, Universities

Skills Required

Here are a few skills to work on as you pursue a job writing lyrics:

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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Lyricist

The pros and cons of becoming a lyricist are divided on the basis of whether you are a freelance lyricist or working in collaboration with some company/artist. Check the table below:

Collaborating LyricistFreelance Lyricist
Song lyric ownership is shared.Complete ownership of song lyrics
Income assurance (if engaged by a music publishing company).Lowest income potential (unless your song sells or leases, or you discover paying artists)
Sharing the burden of writing helps to strengthen the lyric, but being critiqued is sometimes humiliating.Inadequate quality control or feedback from another lyricist or songwriter
Projects are offered by the team. Better change for consistent work.You must create your own client list.
Even if you’re not inspired, you must complete the number of songs/albums specified in your contract.You are free to work at your own pace.

Work Environment

A lyricist’s working environment is determined by where they work and their precise position. Many lyricists work in a very collaborative environment, writing songs in the studio alongside musicians. Some operate from the comfort of their own homes, sending lyrics to clients remotely and waiting for comments. No matter where you work as a lyricist, you can expect to work odd hours, writing whenever you feel inspired and reacting to client demands.

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Salary of a Lyricist

Lyricists, like most other creative professionals, do not have a ‘salary’ per se. You will be paid for each project, and the amount you earn will be determined by your talents as well as the size of the job. You may easily charge 3-5 lakh rupees for each song if you get highly successful and/or work as a lyricist in Bollywood. When you’re a rookie writing songs for a short film, you can’t expect to make the same amount of money.

Top Lyricists in India

Here are some of the top lyricists in India who can inspire you to become a lyricist:

  • Gulzar
  • Amitabh Bhattacharya
  • Anand Bakshi
  • Javed Akhtar
  • Prasoon Joshi
  • Irshad Kamil
  • Swanand Kirkire
  • Jaideep Sahni
  • Sameer Anjaan
  • Lata Mangeshkar

Here are some world-renowned lyricists that you might have heard of:

  • Eminem
  • Dominique Rijpma van Hulst
  • Paul McCartney
  • Christina María Aguilera
  • Kendrick Lamar Duckworth

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Q1. How much money do you make as a lyricist?

A. Total royalties owing to a songwriter might range from $.09 for every reproduction or sale of a song to $.02 per stream of a song. When a song is sold, mechanical royalties are paid to the composers (including songwriters) and publishers (50% to the composer and 50% to the publisher).

Q2. Can anyone become a lyricist?

A. Lyrics writing could be a good fit for you. Many lyricists have successful careers writing original lyrics and melodies for record labels, performers, and even themselves. It is possible to make a living writing music and lyrics, whether you are an experienced songwriter or just starting out.

Q3. Is it hard to be a lyricist?

A. It may take some time to get there. You must write a large number of songs and devise a method to get them in front of someone or advertise them. Lyricist, like other great roles, requires a lot of constant hard effort and patience to balance you out along the way.

This was all about how you can become a lyricist in India. If you wish to know more about careers in India, subscribe to Leverage Edu. In case, you wish to pursue a degree abroad to broaden your horizons, you can contact our experts at 1800 57 2000 and make your study abroad dream come true.

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