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A songwriter is a professional who is paid to write lyrics for singers and melodies for songs, typically for a popular music genre such as rock or country music. The old-style apprenticeship approach to learning how to write songs is being supplemented by university degrees and college diplomas and «rock schools». R, publishers, agents and managers for consideration. Songwriters who sign an exclusive songwriting agreement with a publisher are called staff writers.
Being a staff writer effectively means that, during the term of the songwriter’s contract with the publisher, all their songs are automatically published by that company and cannot be published elsewhere. In the Nashville country music scene, there is a strong staff writer culture where contracted writers work normal «9-to-5» hours at the publishing office and are paid a regular salary. This salary is in effect the writer’s «draw», an advance on future earnings, which is paid on a monthly basis and enables them to live within a fixed budget. Unlike contracted writers, some staff writers operate as employees for their respective publishers. Under the terms of these work for hire agreements, the compositions created are fully owned by the publisher.
Staff writers are common across the whole industry, but without the more office-like working arrangements favored in Nashville. All the major publishers employ writers under contract. Songwriters are also often skilled musicians. In part, this is because the process of «working out» a song or arrangement requires a songwriter to play an instrument, typically the guitar or the piano, to hear how the chord progression sounds and to hear how well a given set of chords supports a melody.