Resource

Split Sheets: Collect Your Music Publishing Royalties

Jason Cerf
Jason Cerf on May 5, 2017

Musicians, producers, artists, songwriters, composers, and everyone in between have the opportunity to own publishing rights to their songs and collect royalties. Here is a quick and easy way to make sure that you get your share of the music publishing rights to the music you help create:

First, click here to see a Split Sheet Template.

A split sheet establishes in writing who owns what percentage of the composition, or the publishing rights. (The ownership of the recording is a different matter.) Publishing splits can be negotiated as a cowriter, producer, band member, etc. Click the link above to see what a split sheet looks like. You can even download this template and use it for yourself. Note that if you are the only writer, you automatically own 100% of the copyright.

Deciding on who gets what percentage of a song is completely negotiated between writers.  Sometimes co-writers will splits works evenly regardless of who wrote which part(s) of the song. Other times they’ll assign percentages based on each individual’s contribution to the final product.  Either way, it’s best to decide on splits and get them in writing as soon as you’ve finished a song, as negotiations may get messy the longer you wait.

As a song is released and used around the world you, the owner of your copyright(s), are due publishing royalties. Having a percentage of publishing ownership can be a great source of recurring revenue.

Note that if you include a sample of someone else’s composition in your work, it is expected that you clear those samples with those who own that recording and/or composition. You can offer that person or organization a percentage of the publishing, negotiate a fee, or simply acquire permission to use that sample.

Once you’ve decided on songsplits and you plan on releasing your music, go ahead and register your publishing splits with a publishing administrator like Songtrust to get set up to collect music publishing royalties.

Related Articles

What is the Music Modernization Act?

Click the image above for the full timeline

Update: The Music Modernization Act has been signed into law on October 11th.

You’ve definitely heard about it in the news as it’s been making waves in the music community for the past year—the Music Modernization Act, or MMA. On the surface it’s legislation, written and introduced by Representatives Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), that would change the rates and the way mechanical royalties are paid out to copyright owners, and overhaul how the statutory boards and courts regulate collective licensing in the United States. Looking under the surface, this proposed legislation is much more complicated and nuanced, ultimately positively affecting the lives of rights holders, streaming companies, and the music industry for the future.

Oct 8, 2018

Figuring Out Song Splits With Producers

Determining how to split songwriting credit is already a tricky business. Do you distribute credit equally among all members of a band, even if the lead singer wrote the main musical riff and the rest of the band only added simple accompaniment? What percentage does a guest artist who contributes a rap to an otherwise completed pop song receive? Things get even more complex when it's time to figure out the split for another key player in the creative process – the producer (or producers, as the case may be).

Sep 11, 2018

How to Make The Most at a Music Conference

All industries, whether it’s for marketing, business, or music, have meetups and conferences for those in the industry to meet, learn, exchange ideas and network amongst themselves. For many songwriters, writing, recording and playing music can sometimes be an isolating experience. Attending festivals and conferences can give you an opportunity to meet other musicians and music industry professionals to talk about your work and their work.

Sep 6, 2018