In the music industry, a “writer” is an individual or collaborator who contributes to the creation of a musical work, which can be a song, composition, or piece of music. Writers play a pivotal role in crafting the lyrics, melody, arrangement, or musical elements that form the foundation of a musical work.


When registering a music work with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) or a music publisher, there are five distinct types of writers:

  1. Composer: A composer is responsible for creating the musical elements of a composition. This includes crafting the melody, harmonies, and instrumental parts that define the music’s structure.

  2. Composer & Lyricist: A composer and lyricist, often referred to as a songwriter, contributes both the musical composition and the lyrics to a song. This dual role encompasses creating both the melody and the words that convey the song’s message.

  3. Lyricist: A lyricist specializes in crafting the words, or lyrics, of a song. They work in collaboration with composers to set lyrics to music, shaping the song’s emotional and storytelling aspects.

  4. Arranger: An arranger focuses on reimagining or enhancing the musical arrangement of a composition. They may adapt an existing piece of music, adding instrumentation or modifying the structure to create a new interpretation.

  5. Adaptor: An adaptor is involved in the process of modifying an existing musical work to create a new version. This may involve translating lyrics into a different language, creating alternative arrangements, or making other adjustments to adapt the work for a specific purpose or audience.


These distinctions in writer roles are crucial when registering a music work for royalty collection and copyright management. Properly identifying the contributions of each writer ensures that they receive the appropriate royalties and credit for their role in the creation of the music.