A frequently asked question our team gets is “What is a co-writer”? Co-writing is a well-known practice in the music industry, and allows writers, composers, and producers to collaborate on songs and projects to create their desired finished project. You might typically be a solo writer, and more power to you, but there are many songwriters that collab with multiple creators often, or perhaps you’ve recently decided to co-write a song with a friend. In short, a co-writer is any person that works on or contributes to a work in addition to your contribution.
Unfortunately, co-writing can also become confusing when in regards to royalty collection. That is why it is so important that each time you create a song, even if it is with your long-time collaborator and best friend, that you both complete a split sheet. Split sheets avoid confusion as which writer owns what percent of the royalties earned from the song being created.
We cannot stress how important completing these are. Our team speaks with so many creators that have never created split sheets while creating their music, and have missed out of all of their potential songwriting and publishing royalties.
Here at Songtrust, we often use the term “outside” writers, if that writer doesn’t also have an account with us, for a co-writer on a song. When you are adding a song that has multiple writers besides yourself (that you are not collecting on behalf of), we require you to add them as “outside writers” to your account. Adding these allows you to account for the percentage of the song that they own and allows us to register your songs with the correct splits.
When a song in our system has incorrect splits, and we send it out to the societies, it is inevitable that a conflict will arise because different writers of the same song are registering the songs with different splits. This means that you could experience delayed royalty payments and possibly have royalties enter the black box. Avoid this by deciding splits as you write your songs and register those splits correctly with your publisher and collection societies.
To make sure you’re collecting all of your mechanical and performance royalties globally, register for Songtrust as your publishing administrator today!
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We created this guide to answer a simple question: How do songwriters support themselves?
The answer is not as simple as we’d like, but our goal is to make it as clear, transparent and understandable as we possibly can.
Songtrust is more than just a rights management platform and publishing administrator - we’re a team of experts in the music community who strive to educate, support, and provide thought leadership to creators, representatives, and businesses across the music industry.
Our hope is that you’ll finish this guide with an better understanding of the business behind songwriting and have actionable resources to help you be successful.