What are split sheets are and why are they so important?
We promise they’re super quick, simple and will legally entitle you to payment for your contributions. We’ve even made you a template.
If you’ve created a song, you should definitely create a split sheet.
A split sheet is simply an agreement of who contributed to the song, how they contributed and what % of ownership they take credit. As soon as you’ve written a track, you should decide amongst the contributors (including sampled artists) how contributions are split, otherwise things can get messy.
Simply include each person’s legal name with contact info (the more the more better-er), their PRO, IPI number from their PRO, contribution (eg. lyrics, guitar parts, backing track) and % of ownership of the song. If you have a publisher, include their name, contact info, IPI number and of course their % of ownership.
There’s no set way of deciding who owns what amount as music is an intangible thing where people can love a song for a million different reasons, so it’s really totally up to the contributors discretion. Lennon and McCartney famously credited themselves equally for every song that either of them wrote during their partnership, even when the other artist had nothing to do with it.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
If you did 100% of everything, you own 100%.
If a producer created the entire instrumental and the lyricist wrote all the lyrics, it’s normally 50/50.
If there are 3 writers, you should split it 33.3%, 33.3% and 33.4% so that the song’s parts equal EXACTLY 100%.
This agreement is for the writing, not the recording, but you can apply the same rules for masters, replacing publisher with label.
You can also create a collaboration agreement, which can allow writers to license the track on their own, stop one collaborator from licensing at all, or restrict use for certain purposes (eg. a political or ethical reasons).
Without a split sheet, it is assumed that all writers have undivided (100%) rights to the song and can license, copy and distribute the song non-exclusively without consent of the other writers, but with credit.
These split sheets are legally binding, so if you aren’t on the split sheets, you get no credit, you get no money (!). With that in mind, we’ve made a very simple template which you can copy and paste into a document. Remember to make copies of your split sheet for each writer signing the agreement.
Publishing agreement for _____SONG NAME_____
Name of credited artist/band/collective:
Date of signing:
Full legal name:
Full and current address:
Song rights ownership (in %):
Writer’s publishing company:
Writer’s publishing company’s address:
Writer’s publishing company’s email address:
Writer’s publishing company’s telephone number:
Writer’s publishing company’s song rights ownership (in %):
Writer signature: ________________________________
COPY AND PASTE FOR MORE CONTRIBUTORS
Each writer agrees that to the best of their knowledge there are no uncredited writers or third party copyrighted material(s) in the respective composition. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of _____________ (location).