This black entrepreneur made over $500k writing and selling songs

Abu Mubarik March 30, 2023
Michael Burton: Photo credit: CNBC

Mike Burton is a rapper who makes over $82,000 a year from writing and selling songs on the popular freelancer site, Fiverr. Since 2015, he has racked up more than $500,000 from all his commissions, according to CNBC Made It.

Burton has always had a passion for writing. He attended the University of Houston where he obtained a degree in communication. While in school, he worked a series of jobs while writing on the side. In 2015, he decided to commercialize his writing skills by focusing on writing rap songs when he realized that customized raps could be offered on Fiverr. 

He felt demotivated by his first offer, which was about writing verses about how it is okay to listen to Eminem. “Make a song about how it’s okay to listen to Eminem,” a client asked. “That sounds like a term paper,” he said. “Not a rap.” He eventually deleted his account.

He then decided to pursue other interests, including working at a call center. After a year, he returned to try exchanging rap lines for a fee again. According to CNBC Made It, he offered to write 30-second rap lines for $5, and in no time, demand for his services began to rise. Seeing the prospects, Burton decided to quit his job at the call center to focus on his career as a freelancer.

He now writes songs for companies, businesses, podcasts, and YouTube channels, he says, and personalized love songs and birthday songs, sometimes as fast as 30 minutes.

One of his key writing strategies is to give himself breaks between songwriting. He doesn’t listen to the radio while driving. “I heard someone say music is not the sounds, it’s the silence in between the sounds,” he said. “It comes from letting things cook, cook inside you. So you can only see what’s cooking when you’re silent.”

He added that making music for himself also motivates him to write some of his best lyrics for others. When he is out of ideas, he turns to sports. I start running out of ideas for people” when that happens, he said.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Burton goes by the stage name Keybeaux. He has been releasing his songs on platforms like Spotify. 

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: March 30, 2023

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