So You Want My Job: Songwriter

In a perverse way, the songwriter’s job is an antiquated one. With advances in technology and music production tools that are now completely accessible to those with even modest means, it makes sense for artists to write their own songs rather than rely on professionals like songwriters. For example:
In 1996, you would have spent $10 million dollars on producing a hit single by Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez; today, Instagram influencers can produce just as effective results without spending any of your hard-earned money! What does all this mean? The professional singer has been replaced by the amateur artist who produces videos using nothing but their phone (or laptop) camera and some editing software.
The trend towards democratized content creation not only threatens traditional industries’ bottom lines — radio stations lose listenership every year due more people turning off FM broadcasts and tuning into internet streams instead—it also poses serious problems for musicians themselves. Imagine if each person was able to go from composing “My Heart Will Go On” (a global hit) while waiting at home traffic stoplight suddenly deciding they’re sick of singing popular hits anymore and going through what amounts to an entire career restart because no one knows them personally anymore…

The “who wrote that’s my job” is a song by the band OK Go. The song is about how difficult it can be to find work in this day and age.

Singer Matt Palmer's portrait.

We’re back with another installment of our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in coveted positions and ask them about the realities of their employment as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

Not all musicians compose their own music. They often record a song that a composer has given them or collaborate with songwriters to create a success. What’s it like to work in such a fascinating aspect of the music industry? Matt Palmer, a composer, gives us the inside scoop today. Matt is a vocalist in his own right, in addition to creating music. Let Go, his first album, is available on CDBaby and iTunes.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.

I’m a 23-year-old R&B/Pop singer-songwriter named Matt Palmer. I grew raised in Atlanta, GA, then went to college in New York City, and now I’m in the process of relocating to Los Angeles. I work as a writer with HoriPro, a Los Angeles-based music publishing firm, where I collaborate with producers and musicians to make songs for myself and other artists. I’ve been creating songs since I was fourteen years old, and I began working with HoriPro in early 2009.

2. What made you desire to pursue music as a career? When did you discover you wanted to accomplish that?

I spent my childhood listening to music and singing in any choir I could find. I’ve always enjoyed singing, and I believe I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally about junior high. Then, in high school, I started a record label, released CDs, and forced my pals to purchase them- LOL!

3. You’re a vocalist as well as a lyricist. Is this a common combo among songwriters?

It’s a rather typical occurrence. Lady GaGa, Ne-Yo, and Bruno Mars all began their careers as composers before moving on to become musicians. You must be able to sing to some degree in order to compose amazing tunes.

4. Is it difficult to strike a balance between pursuing a career as a singer and a songwriter? Is it sometimes tempting to keep your favorite tunes to yourself?

It’s not difficult at this stage since I can keep them well apart. HoriPro would fly me out to write with these huge musicians and producers when I lived in New York, and it was obvious before the session that I would be composing from their viewpoint, so the songs wouldn’t even match me as an artist. It’s very conceivable that a signed artist might want to record and release one of the songs I create with myself in mind, and I suppose a part of me would want to preserve it for myself. But, in the end, if someone like Justin Bieber sings my song, it will be heard by millions of people. I’d be a fool if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity!


5. How do you come up with music ideas? What is the songwriting creative process like?

Almost everything has the ability to inspire me. Occasionally, a word or phrase will simply jump into my brain, and I’ll write a song around it. Other times, it’s based on my own experiences, the experiences of my friends, or even scenarios seen on television or in movies. It’s intriguing to collaborate with renowned singers and producers because there are so many chefs in the kitchen, and I’m in charge of the words and melody. Working in that setting takes longer than working alone in my home studio, but with many viewpoints, you may sometimes come up with a better song that appeals to a wider audience.

6. How does a songwriter get their foot in the door? You’ve joined with an entertainment agency; how does one move from writing songs in his bedroom to working for such a company?

I believe it is unique to each individual, however I believe that songwriters should compile a demo of their best songs and then promote them aggressively. I joined every online songwriting competition I could find and went out to a lot of new individuals, and one of the competitions I won lead to this publishing agreement.

7. Who presents your songs to artists and offers your songs to musicians, even if you’re contracted with an agency? What’s the deal with that?

My publisher sends out my tunes to industry big hitters and meets with A&Rs at record companies to determine if a song or writing style of mine would be a good match for their artist/producer. Then we wait to see who answers and form partnerships. If the session goes well, I’ll maintain in touch with the producer or songwriter, and we’ll reconnect if a project that we’d both be interested in arises.

8. How are songwriters compensated? Do you get paid only if a song you created is recorded by a musician? Do you also get paid royalties?

I get an advance pay, which serves to keep me afloat till my songs are launched. As the songs are put and published, I must first repay the advance money I was given, and then I may begin earning royalties. Obviously, I will not get royalties if a song is recorded but never published in any form.

9. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

I like both music and writing. It’s been my passion for a long time, and I’m certain it’s what I’m supposed to pursue for the rest of my life.

10. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

I take this extremely seriously since it is so important to me, and I am quite specific about how I want my music mixed and presented to the world. In most situations, I’m quite low-maintenance, but when it comes to music, I’m such a perfectionist that I sometimes feel like I’m just nitpicking.


11. How do you strike a balance between job, family, and personal life?

Since I’m still trying to build a name for myself, work takes up a lot of my time. Thankfully, my family and friends are understanding, and I try to visit them as frequently as possible.

12. What is the most common misunderstanding about your job?

It’s easy money to be a songwriter, and it doesn’t take much to compose a successful song in pop music. To be acknowledged in this field – songwriting included – it requires a lot of hard work and a lot of hardship. I’m proud of how far I’ve progressed so far, but I still have a long way to go before I can pop champagne in the club every night.

13. Do you have any other advice, recommendations, observations, or anecdotes to share?

Don’t give up if you’re attempting to make it in the music business, is my suggestion. Collaborate as much as possible, create a compelling demo, and get your work out there.




The “that’s your job meme” is a social media post that has been circulating for quite some time. It is meant to be humorous and means that if you want someone else’s job, then you should work harder than them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who wrote the song its my job?

A: The song Its My Job was written by the band Bowling For Soup.

Who sang thats my job?

A: The song that is titled Thats my Job was written and composed by John Lennon.

When did the song thats my job come out?

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