Friday, August 04, 2006

SONGWRITING: legally speaking

When you write a song that gets published, there are some legal things that kick in - for any of you who are exploring this, I thought this post might be helpful.

Normally in Christian publishing circles, the publisher gets 50% and the writer(s) gets 50% of the writer royalties. If you have co-written with someone, you need to sit down together and decide which split you'll get each. I have a friend who is a wonderful writer, and his policy is that when he's invited someone into the co-write, he always gives them a 50/50 split - no matter how much or little that person has helped. You can do this too, or you can decide based on how much input the other person has given. I also have another friend who was stuck on one line of a song that's become very famous. One of his buddies was round, heard the song, and came up with the key line. She was given a small percentage of ownership - because it was only one line - this is a great way to do it too.

When you are inviting someone to critique - that's not the same as having someone actually help you write the song! They are offering their ideas as to where the song works, and where it doesn't quite yet - then you go away and do the work on it by yourself. But as soon as you invite someone to write the song with you, it's a different ball game. At that point you need to remember that they have to have their share too - it's only fair :)

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