Ghostwriting is a prevalent practice across various creative domains, spanning literature, journalism, visual arts, and notably, music. If you're contemplating a career as a professional music ghostwriter or just curious about the subject, this article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the world of ghostwriting.
Ghostwriting involves being hired to create content credited to someone else. This content can include articles, books, memoirs, reports, research, lyrics, and melodies. Essentially, the ghostwriter, often a freelancer, remains behind the scenes while another individual, frequently a celebrity or public figure, is acknowledged as the author.
Historical Context in Music:
In the music industry, ghostwriting has a rich history, extending across genres like classical, pop, rap, and hip-hop. Notably, even legendary figures like Mozart engaged in ghostwriting during the 18th century. In contemporary times, ghostwriting in music, particularly in genres like pop, electronic, and hip-hop, continues to be a prevalent and sometimes controversial practice.
Instances of famous musicians allegedly using ghostwriters have sparked controversies. In 2015, rapper Drake faced accusations from Meek Mill regarding ghostwriting on their collaborative song. Similar rumors surrounded rapper Cardi B in 2018. The disclosure by DJ Martin Garrix that he ghost-produced for other artists further highlights the intricacies of the practice.
Variations of Ghostwriting:
Ghostwriting, traditionally perceived as creating content for someone else without credit, can take various forms. Misinformation is a common thread, aimed at benefiting someone's reputation, credibility, or work-life balance. In different countries, activities similar to ghostwriting may have distinct names.
Business Aspects and Legal Considerations:
Major labels often engage in 'work for hire' arrangements, where an individual's involvement in a song is bought out, making the label the owner of the song's copyrights. This legal approach distinguishes it from traditional ghostwriting, which is considered illegal in the industry.
Pros and Cons of Ghostwriting:
Becoming a ghostwriter has its advantages, including lucrative pay, potential industry recognition, and flexibility in work location. However, drawbacks include relinquishing authorship, potential negative impacts on personal artistic goals, and the challenge of meeting clients' expectations.
How to Enter the Profession:
For those aspiring to become professional ghostwriters, honing writing skills is crucial. Creative writing or songwriting classes, online resources, and constant practice can contribute to skill development. Establishing an online presence, including a website and social media, and networking within the music industry are essential steps. Quality work, punctuality, and client focus play vital roles in building a successful career as a ghostwriter.
Despite its negative connotations, ghostwriting is a legitimate and significant profession in and outside the music industry. This article covers essential aspects, from the historical context and controversies to the steps one can take to embark on a career as a ghostwriter.