According to the Future of Music Coalition, the average songwriter makes around $34,500 per year as of 2011. Income for songwriters can vary greatly depending on popularity, contract arrangements, royalties and other factors.
Songwriters often work for records labels, which are required to pay royalties on album sales and digital downloads of songs. As of 2012, the government-regulated royalty rate is 9.1 cents per song, half of which goes to a songwriter's music publisher. Many songwriters also make significant amounts of their income from live performances. The amount of payment per live performance can vary significantly, with lesser-known acts often making $75 to $125 per show in larger cities and better-known songwriters making many times that amount.