In response to my previous blog, ‘How Co-writers Co-write’, I’ve been asked to supply an example of a song split sheet. Eric Beall has a perfect example in his book Making Music Make Money, so you might want to pick that up. It’s also a great book explaining the function of a publisher, and what you need to do to publish and administer your own songs or those of a catalog you acquire.

You can make your own song split sheet by simply printing out a word document with the following fields:

Song Title
Names of the writers
% of ownership for each writer
Names of the publishers
% of ownership for each publisher
Month and year in which the work was completed

Then have you and your collaborators sign at the bottom.

Keep a copy for your records and give a copy to each co-writer.

If you are not under contract with a publisher or label, then you are your own publisher. By filling out this document, you are simply documenting the ownership of the song for later reference when it is recorded in a commercial setting.

Happy writing,
Andrea

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    Thanks A,

    T

    should a copy of this split sheet be sent to your performing rights org?..im an ascap writer and i wanted to register my songs so that they can be tracked on my behalf..would you know how to do that?

    Hi Aaron,
    You won’t be sending the split sheet, but just keeping it for your records. When you register your songs with your PRO, it’s convenient to do that online. Follow the instructions on ASCAP and BMI’s websites. As you register, you will assign a percentage value to the writing share and the publishing share. That is what the PRO will use to pay the proper percentages to each party involved.
    If there is ever a discrepancy, you’ve got the signed split letter to back you up.

    Thanks for posting this information

    Greetings Andrea,

    You’ve explained split sheets in a few short sentences. It’s a wonder why we don’t hear split sheets mentioned more often than not when it comes to music business information and royalties. Thank you for sharing the information.

    thanks for this light you shed,on split sheets

    up untill now i had no idea,

    i’m on it the next time i’m in the studios too

    Andrea, what is your approach to a split sheet when you write the lyrics and a few chord changes, then hire someone else to produce the demo — and that person also plans to add more chords to round out the composition? I’m new to the business and want to be fair, but not naive. Should such a person be listed on a split sheet? Before I talk directly with the person, I’d love to get an industry veteran’s perspective. Thanks so much; your blog is a great resource.

    Hello Anne,
    It’s up to you and your producer to determine if the producer should get writing credit. Sometimes producers take a percentage of album sales, called ‘points’ to make royalties, getting paid on the back end for their skills in arranging, production, reharmonization, etc. Sometimes producers will get writing credit for changes made to the structure of the song, such as lyric, melody, and harmony. Since you hired the producer and they are your songs that you brought in, you might decide whether you’re willing to give up writing credit and how much, and propose a deal to your producer up front. Sometimes the producer will prefer to get paid up front with a one time fee for doing a small bit of rewriting, considering it part of the overall project.

    Andrea

    this is my common situation:

    I produce a partial instrumental with chords and percussion elements, sned it to an artist, then i sit down with the artist (lyricist) and we fill out the song, collaborate on arrangement etc. and record until we have a finished product. How would you recommend we share % of copyrights?

    OR how about if someone sings words with a basic melody, then I wrap and instrumental with chords etc around it and do not charge a “work for hire” fee?

    much thanks, I want to be fair AND protect my rights

    Can a split sheet be used as artist producer agreement?

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