• Clement S. Sealy, Jr.

Structuring Payment with Songwriters/Co-writers

The Basics

There are two copyrights for every recording: 1. The sound recording - known as masters which is the product of the artist and producer and both parties are involved in making the sound recording. 2. The composition. - known as the song. songwriters are responsible for writing the composition.

In mainstream music, the songwriter and recording artist often are not the same most of the time. someone writes the son and someone performs the song. Independents artists may be a songwriter also. just adding some clarification here.


Producers are not entitled to composition ownership, however, if they had a part in writing the song then they would be entitled.

Publishing is another term for songwriting and composition. Remember there are publishing companies who represent songwriters. They own the composition. Labels represent the artists and they control the sound recordings.


If there were no labels or publishing companies involved, you would need to structure your own deal.  


Let's get started

The best idea of a split is 50/50 (2 writers), 33.333/33.333/33.333 (3 writers) have an accountant check the financials, I may be off. if the split doesn’t match 100% just donate it, darn it.)), and 25/25/25/25 (4 writers). The basic idea is to be fair to everyone contributing, give equally. Trust me life will be better for all.


If your track is completely written with entering the studio and the producer helped you he is not given any co-writing credits. However, if you collaborate on a brand new song from scratch then the producer should be given co-writer rights. If you are co-writing with someone else then the producer is still entitled to co-writer rights. The publishing would be split 3 ways.


A song should be owned equally by everyone who writes it even if it's a simply a word.