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A songwriter is a professional musician who composes musical compositions and writes lyrics for songs on a regular basis for the benefit of the audience. An original musical composition or musical bed can be written by a songwriter, who can also be referred to as a composer. Although the latter term is typically reserved for individuals working in the classical music genre or film scoring, it is also used to refer to individuals who write and compose original musical compositions. A lyricist is a kind of songwriter who is primarily responsible for the words of a song. In order to meet the demands of the music business and create big successes, songwriting is often a collaborative effort in which the duties are divided among a group of individuals. Example: a writer who specialises at composing lyrics may be partnered with another songwriter who will be tasked with generating unique melodies for the song. Members of a band or staff writers — songwriters paid directly by music publishers – may create pop songs, which are then recorded by the band. Music publishers are not required for all songwriters; nevertheless, some do act as their own in their own right.

When it comes to learning to compose songs, university degrees and college certificates, as well as "rock schools," are being offered to complement the traditional apprenticeship method. Songstresses are increasingly required to have a working knowledge of contemporary music technology (such as sequencers, synthesisers, and computer sound manipulation), as well as songwriting components and commercial abilities. A number of music schools offer songwriting certifications and degrees that include courses in music business as well as composition. Because songwriting and publishing royalties may be significant sources of revenue, especially if a song becomes a hit record, songs created after 1934 in the United States are only permitted to be duplicated by the writers of the original song or composition. Purchasing, selling, or transferring the legal authority to give these rights are all options. International copyright legislation governs this.

In addition to writing lyrics and music for or with a performing artist, songwriters may also submit songs for consideration to A&R, publishers, agents, and managers. Songwriters can work alone or as part of a team. Depending on the circumstances, a songwriter's publisher may do song pitching services on their behalf, or they can do it themselves utilising resources such as RowFax, the MusicRow magazine, and SongQuarters. Entrepreneurship and originality are two qualities linked with songwriting. For their contributions to the song, staff writers may or may not get written credit for their work.