And they exist everywhere in between, writing songs for themselves, co-writing with others, and writing songs just for other people. Though there are many artists out there that write songs purely for their own enjoyment, songwriting can be, obviously, a very lucrative venture. And some of the most successful songwriters only write for other artists to perform. But how do the writers have their songs recorded by others?
When it comes to the recorded music business, there are two primary copyrights of interest: A copyright extends for the life of an author plus 70 years, and in the case of collaborators on a copyright it extends for the life of the last surviving collaborator plus 70 years.
This article will focus on the collaboration between and among the co-writers of the musical composition or song which is generally comprised of the music melody, harmony, chords, rhythm, etc.
The essence of collaboration is working together to create a single work, regardless of how or what each party contributes. Collaborators may work together in the same room at the same time, or not.
The creative contribution of each co-author may be equal in quality or quantity, or not. Both authors may work together on the music and lyrics or one might write just music and the other lyrics. The long history of collaboration has shown that there are endless combinations. Co-authors do not need to have a written agreement concerning their joint work, but it is probably a good idea to do so given the myriad issues that can arise and become a problem under such circumstances.
In the absence of a written agreement, under current case law concerning both copyright and partnership law two or more collaborators are generally deemed to share equally on a pro rata basis.
Therefore, without a written agreement the two songwriters would be deemed to own the song fifty-fifty, three songwriters one-third each, etc. Beyond the issue of just dividing the income, there arises the issue of copyright ownership and control sometimes referred to as the administration right.
Many songwriters prefer that there be separate administration among the various writers and their respective publishing companies, if any. In other words, each author retains control over its respective share of the copyright.
In this way each writer retains some control over what happens with the song, the scope of the licenses and how much is charged. Each writer could also transfer some or all of their respective share of the copyright e. All of these issues can be addressed in a written collaboration agreement.
There are endless variations depending on the circumstances. Each author may retain his or her share of revenues and ownership but grant the administration rights to one party e.
Particularly in the world of synchronization licenses i. Licensing can become complicated when a licensee has to seek the approval of, and document permission from, multiple writers and their respective publishers. However, each different scenario and the co-writers involved will need to determine and negotiate what arrangement works best for themselves in that particular situation.
The exact contribution to a song is always a somewhat subjective measurement and if the price of getting a song on the record of a multi-platinum artist is to share writing credit, then this pressure can be difficult if not impossible to resist.
Most successful songwriters rarely, if ever, share credit in this context and every writer should try to follow this practice.
At the end of the day, if you believe in yourself and your talents, give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and invest in good legal representation — all the successful songwriters do. For more info, visit www.Montana Canadian Trade Mission Successful.
June 22, MISSOULA – The Montana World Trade Center at the University of Montana and seven trade delegates recently returned from a weeklong trade mission to Calgary, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia, where they developed sales agreements, cultivated new .
Under the participation agreement, the writer shares in the publisher's income similar to the co-publishing arrangement but does not become a co-owner of the copyright. Publishers also receive rights in compositions through the following types of agreements.
Sample Songwriting Partnership Agreement Posted on October 12, November 9, by IJ The following is a sample songwriting partnership agreement that you might want to . Working with co-writers. In this case, you can generally do whatever you like with the part you own, unless you come to an agreement otherwise with your co- writers.
A work created in this way is called a “collective work”. This often happens when band members work together to write the music . Sometimes a publisher will set up a co-writing appointment for you with established writers.
In the seventh installment of Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting, Ralph Murphy offers advice on how to approach writing on such a different level. Put It in Writing!: Creating Agreements Between Family and Friends [Deborah Hutchison, Lynn Toler] on kaja-net.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
Two media-savvy authors—Lynn Toler, Judge of TV’s Divorce Court.