Songwriters & Producers Defined

Who Is A Songwriter?  

Some music creators say: "I am a Producer not a Songwriter".
In some cases the law says Producers are also Songwriters & you get paid as one.


A songwriter is a person that creates a tempo or beat, chords, melodies, and lyrics if any. This is called a Song Composition and has nothing to do with a recording of a song. This goes back to the time before sound recordings, when music was only written on paper. You can copyright your song composition without ever having made a recording of it, if you know how to write it out on sheet music with treble and bass clef. Luckily, you are allowed to use a sound recording to copyright your song compositions. Songwriters create compositions and artists/singers/bands make recordings of those compositions. Often there are multiple songwriters on one composition. The laws say that these songwriters get paid for the sale of music through physical copies like CDs and through music streaming, like on Spotify. Songwriters also get paid for FM radio and other performances of the composition and this is why songwriters must sign up with a PRO. For all of these reasons, Rhythmic Rebellion requires completely separate Songwriter Accounts from Artist Accounts and we require that every songwriter be listed on the composition with their shares defined.

Here is the definition of a songwriter as defined on Wikipedia:
A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics and composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.

As a songwriter, you need to be registered with a PRO or Performing Rights Organization. They collect money for you if your song is played on the radio, streaming sites, restaurants, and other places.

If you are not signed with a Music Publishing company then you are also the Music Publisher. Your PRO will make you create a name for your publishing company. It can just be your name, like John Doe Publishing, and you are not required to create a real company like an LLC or INC. Song payments are automatically divided between songwriters and publishers so they require you to create one. Rhythmic Rebellion follows these same rules.


The role of a "Producer" has changed recently. DJs began doing remixes of songs where they take other artists' songs, sometimes many songs, and create new mixes turning them into new songs and often these remixes become very popular on streaming sites. These DJ producers were not songwriters because they did not create new song compositions, they just re-organized other writers compositions.
This has changed for some producers. DJ Producers like Zedd, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Deadmau5, are not just remixing others artist's songs, they are creating brand new music. This means they are also songwriters and they get paid as songwriters. Over the last 100 years the main ways that music creators get paid is as songwriters and as singers/artists. It is baked into the law this way and Rhythmic Rebellion is structured around these laws.

Historically, the producer was the person hired by the music label or artist to decide what instruments would be used on the recording and what parts they would play. The producer might have nothing to go by except a songwriter singing along with their guitar or piano. Today, thanks to great music production software, most singer/songwriters are also producers, producing the songs they write while sitting at a desk in their bedroom. DJ producers are also using music software to create beats and music. If you are a DJ Producer and you are creating music from scratch; the tempo or beat, the chords, the melody, the lyrics if any, then you are producing and songwriting at the same time. In some of the popular rap and hip hop songs today, there are over 10 songwriters listed. This is because the producer will use beats or clips that other producer/songwriters have created. Each one of these producers/songwriters must be listed as a songwriter with the appropriate agencies or a copyright infringement has occurred and you can get sued. If you want to be a serious music creator then you need to learn how the law works and follow it - don't wing it or bad things can happen!

Here is the definition of a producer as defined on Wikipedia:
A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements. A producer may also: Select session musicians to play rhythm section accompaniment parts or solos; Co-write; Propose changes to the song arrangements; Coach the singers and musicians in the studio. The producer typically supervises the entire process from preproduction, through to the sound recording and mixing stages, and, in some cases, all the way to the audio mastering stage. The producer may perform these roles themselves, or help select the engineer, and provide suggestions to the engineer. The producer may also pay session musicians and engineers and ensure that the entire project is completed within the record label's budget.