Many lyricists and musicians can now work Worldwide by using the Internet to compose, record and
even release music with musicians and composers that they would never have previously met or had
the opportunity to work with.
Alternatively, a Manager or Label may put you in touch with other represented songwriters for collaborative purposes.
This can offer much expanded chances to become involved in music than ever before.
Maori Music can help protect your interests and maximise your returns from such collaborations, but there are several important aspects that you should consider when working in this way.
SPLIT SHEETSSplit Sheets are an essential safeguard for all co-creators of a song.
It is highly recommended that you create and submit a split sheet with song registrations.
(This is entirely optional, but for your benefit).
They ensure everyone involved in the creation process receives credit and compensation for their work. Split Sheets can also save creators from a potential legal headache because it requires them to work out an agreement and establish ownership in writing.
Any co-written content without a written agreement will be equally divided depending on the number of people involved by default. Without a Split Sheet, contributing songwriters risk receiving less ownership or revenue for the content they created and this can lead to ugly disputes among each contributor and potential legal battles.
For example, a Performing Rights Organisation (PRO), record label, music publisher, music licensing company, and any other third-party using the song can withold royalty payments until the conflict is resolved. Moreover, contributors risk not getting credit or royalty payments if a company does not know who, or how much, to pay.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE OWNERSHIP PERCENTAGEThe final percentage splits should be negotiated and agreed upon by all parties involved but the total of all the split percentages must equal 100%.
Maori Music is specifically concerned with the songwriting splits for all parties.
A songwriter is, essentially, a person who has contributed in whole or in part to either the lyrics or the melody. There are different approaches collaborators take to divide split percentages.
For example, you can split the rights evenly among each collaborator, or give each person a percentage according to their degree of contribution.
Giving each contributor equal ownership is the safest route to avoid confrontation and treating everyone equally can help form lasting relationships with other artists, it may even boost the chances of them wanting to work with you again.
Determining splits according to a collaborator's contributions to a song is trickier as sometimes not every contributor makes an equal contribution or the contributions by co-writers are not equally significant in the song. For example, one co-writer may add just a small part of the lyrics or melody.
Various other factors can further complicate matters and that's why it's crucial to figure out splits early.
Make sure everyone who contributed to the creative process is on the same page!
WHEN TO CREATE A SPLIT SHEET?Co-creators often cringe when thinking about negotiating ownership and royalty splits, however, navigating this conversation is a necessary practice to ensure you get paid correctly for your work.
More importantly, turning that conversation into a written document proactively protects your rights and it can also save you from a potential future legal battle.
It's best to decide on songwriter splits and get them in writing early in the creative process or as soon as you've finished a song and certainly before it becomes commercially available.
Negotiations may get messy the longer you wait and it's also easier to negotiate a Split Sheet before the song starts generating royalties or as exploitational (Sync) opportunities arise.
HOW TO CREATE A SPLIT SHEETA basic Split Sheet should include :
- Song Title/s
- Band / Act Name
- Legal names of all contributors
- Contributors' email address
- PRO CAE/IPI (Membership) Number (if available)
- Ownership percentage (Music / Lyrics) for each contributor
- Downloads / CD Sales percentage for each contributor
- Signature of each contributor
SPLIT SHEET TEMPLATE
Ensure each contributor fills out all the information that applies to them.
Scan the completed form and send it to Maori Music when completing an ADD NEW SONGS Form.
LIMITATIONSI regret that, unless we fully represent all of the co-composers listed under your Split Sheet, we may not be able to offer our full range of services, including Sync Promo.
This will not prevent us registering your songs in the usual way and will not affect our ability to recover your proportion of any due royalties on co-composed songs.
All collaborators will be shown on the registrations correctly but it is their responsibility to obtain adequate publishing representation if they do not already handle this themselves.
You may discuss this with your collborators and suggest that they apply to Sign Up / Register with Maori Music if you wish, but acceptance will be at our discretion and dependent on their current position in respect of their own publishing administrative affairs.
CONCLUSIONAs a creator, it's essential to understand the value of your work, especially before it's published.
Be proactive and take control of the conversation by using Split Sheets to secure your fair share of the revenue and start negotiation splits early to avoid future disputes.
If you're having trouble coming up with a fair agreement, consult a solicitor!