What Co-Writers Need to Know About Songwriting Splits
Pictured above is a scene from the Splitsville, USA panel at the 2018 ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO.
At the 2018 ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO, ASCAP Writer Board members Desmond Child, Alex Shapiro and Michelle Lewis, along with songwriter and artist Deputy, presented a panel on songwriting splits and why it is so important that co-writers prioritize the exchange of accurate writer and publisher information at the point of creation.
The panel, playfully called "Splitsville, USA," explored the idea that songwriting splits are like people: some live alone (100%), some live together as couples (50%-50%), some are in a threesome (33.33%, 33.33%, 33.34%), while others live happily together in groups of four, five or more.
The Splitsville panelists illuminated the key steps all songwriters need to take when co-writing if they want to be compensated effectively when their music is publicly performed on digital music services. Here are the most important ones:
The Top Three Steps All Songwriters Need to Take When Co-Writing
- At the point of creation, amicably agree on splits - ideally in writing - that add up to exactly 100% (View a sample of songwriter Desmond Child's "split sheet" here).
- Share correct publishing and performing rights organization (PRO) info with each other.
- Accurately register all of your works in detail with your PRO, ideally before they are uploaded online anywhere.
If you don't work these issues out early in the creative process, bad title registrations and disputes can end important creative relationships and result in inaccurate royalty payments or royalties going to the wrong person.
However, by making some simple, positive changes to your creative business practices, you and your fellow songwriters can create a world of good – for yourselves, your families, your community, your industry and billions of music lovers.
Watch the animated "Splitsville, USA" video below for a humorous but educational look at songwriting splits. You can also watch a video of the slideshow presented at the panel, and narrated by ASCAP writer Board member Alex Shapiro, which explains the importance of keeping your song data clean.