Do you have a strategy for determining who gets a share of the songwriting credits? Do you know who is going to get what percentage for what contribution?
Songwriting credits have broken up more bands than girls and cocaine combined. When someone in the band believes THEIR contribution to a hit song is greater than you do – nobody cares until the checks start to come in. And then everyone lawyers up and life gets really, really expensive.
Not only do you need to be open and communicative about each song’s songwriting credits, you also need to have an OVERALL STRATEGY.
I have THREE strategies I recommend. The socialist, the pacifist, and the capitalist strategies.
Socialist strategy – everyone in the band gets equal credit
Pacifist strategy – everyone who took part in the songwriting process gets equal credit
Capitalist strategy – only the songwriters get credit and in proportion with their contribution to the song (must be negotiated)
Everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s situation can change. The most important factor is to make sure you are communicative and transparent about your strategy. AND be communicative and transparent about how the credits are being distributed EVERY time. Use paper! Write it down! If you email or text the credits for approval – get a response!
The above video is not meant to be a primer on music publishing – go here for that – but is a crucial but rarely discussed aspect of the music publishing process. Remember, everyone is human and your goals should include the talented people you have surrounded yourself with. How songwriting credits are distributed can be one of the most important ways you reward those you want to encourage to be productive. But this productivity MAY not be the songwriting itself. It MAY be more important to you to “keep the band together” than to distribute out the (potentially tons of) morsels to only those who actually wrote the melodies.
Just a quick reminder that Release It Right goes through a TON of the pre-recording steps you need to consider. Make sure to check out that course!