The Importance Of Split Sheets

By | Lessons, Music Publishing, Songwriting | No Comments

Split sheets are very important for all creators that collaborate with others. It can mean the difference between getting paid & not seeing a dime.

A split sheet is a simple document that lays out who owns what part(s) of a particular song. It should have the following:

  • Song title
  • Date
  • Names, Publishers & PROs of all writers
  • Split Percentages
  • Signatures of all writers

Standard practice is to split the percentages equally amongst the writers. For example, if there are two writers, the splits are 50/50. You can also break it down by lyric & melody. For example, if Writer A wrote the music & Writers B and C wrote the lyrics, Writer A would receive 50% and Writers B and C would each receive 25%.

The importance of the split sheet comes into play when a song is placed. If you have this split sheet signed and dated by all co-writers, you have proof of ownership. Several scenarios could occur without this backup, including the following:

  • Someone could claim more than their fair share & put the song into dispute. When a song is in dispute, no one gets paid until it is resolved.
  • You could miss the chance of a song placement because a writer couldn’t be found.
  • The song could get placed & someone could erase you from the credits. No credit = no royalties.

Split Sheet Example #1
Split Sheet Example #2

Copyright Reversion & Its Impact On The Music Industry

By | Lessons, Music Business | No Comments

The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (which became effective on January 1, 1978) included a clause that allowed artists & songwriters to reclaim their copyrights from the publishers & labels they transferred the rights to. This means any song created in or after 1978 is eligible for reversion either 35 years from publication or 40 years from the date of assignment of copyright to a publisher.

For example: a song published in 1980 has the termination window of 2015-2020. If they want the copyright to revert back to them in 2016, the notice must be filed between 2006 and 2014.

This has the potential to completely change the music industry. However, it’s too soon to tell.

While albums released in 1978 are the first batch eligible for possible reversion of ownership to pass from labels back to the artists, so far the only acts to file notice of termination for master right recordings with the U.S. copyright Office include Pat Bentar, Journey, Devo and Billy Joel.

Although 2013 theoretically is the year that master sound recordings’ copyright licenses begin to expire for albums and can revert from labels to the artists, no one is sure what exactly will happen.

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One Song, 7.5 Writers, 18+ Versions: “I Fight Dragons” Music Business Case Study

By | Music Business, Songwriting | No Comments

A crazy story about I Fight Dragon‘s time on Atlantic and their (ultimately unquenched) desire for them to turn a cool track into the smash hit song they were certain waited inside of it. Downloads below:

If you’d like to listen to / download any of the demos of different versions for your at-home listening pleasure, click here.

(via I Fight Dragons Rock on YouTube)

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