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Author:  Jonmark
E-mail:  not available
Date:  4/23/2007 11:35:12 AM
Subject:  Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds?
It's completely up to the group of writers involved. There are no official rules. I have co-written with as many as 4 and as few as one. It has always been divided up equally without argument in my personal experience, but I'm certainly aware of stories of disputes.

Yes, royalties are paid depending on the percentage of the writers share you are credited with, specifically spelled out on copyright and publishing song contracts.

However, to confuse you even more... keep in mind a song can also be co-published and divided up in   percentages of that as well. Once again, that arrangement is made through negotiation between the parties involved.

Obviously this can all get very complicated...
For simplicity's sake, look at it this way. Ownership of a copyright (song) is one pie. A person can be both writer and publisher and own 100 percent of the rights to the song... the whole pie.
If that single writer signs the song to a single publisher in a traditional arrangement, the pie is divided in half, the writer owning 100% of the writers share(half the pie), and the single publisher owning 100% of the publishing share(the other half of the pie).

If two writers are involved, each affiliated with separate publishers, the starting point would have the writers each equally sharing 50% of the writers half of the pie (25% of the WHOLE pie), and the two publishers equally dividing the publishing half of the pie (25% of the WHOLE pie).
Totally confused yet?

Now.... as I mentioned, it isn't at all unusual for THOSE shares to be divided UNequally through negotiation for any number of reasons. A good example could occur for instance on the publishing side where power and publishing strength may come into play to make an unequal split a positive business move.

If for instance Willie were to record my song "Feed My People"... on which I own both writer and publishing rights 100%, it would be advantageous to give him a portion of the publishing share if insisted on by Willie as a contingency to release the song. (hint hint... lets talk Willie...)

The same could apply to willingly giving away some of the writers share for a shoe-in cut by a major artist and the dollars that could generate.

Further, there are instances, especially in the shady old days before writers were well represented, where composers gave away portions of their share to an artist who didn't contribute a single note or word, for the chance at a cut. A prime example would be the numerous R&B songs recorded by Elvis early in his career, listing him as co-writer though he had nothing to do with the writing chores. (In fairness to E, that is usually blamed on his representaion at the time. It was also a fairly common practice in then.)

Some writers tragically gave away all rights to future royalties for a lump sum fee up front. I believe Willie fell into that trap on a song or two...

Fortunately, writers are typically much better informed and represented these days.

 I Hope You Dance by Jackie at 4/22/2007 12:42:15 PM
 Full lyrics by Ginny G. at 4/22/2007 12:59:36 PM
 Re: Full lyrics by Jackie at 4/22/2007 1:08:49 PM
 Re: Full lyrics by Texas Granny at 4/22/2007 1:10:08 PM
 Re: Full lyrics by Lois at 4/22/2007 4:24:52 PM
 Re: Full lyrics by Jonmark at 4/22/2007 4:51:31 PM
 Re: Full lyrics by Lois at 4/22/2007 5:26:41 PM
 Confusing, but thanks Jonmark... by Ginny G. at 4/22/2007 8:29:43 PM
 I think I've got it! by Ginny G. at 4/22/2007 8:48:30 PM
 Re: I think I've got it! by Jonmark at 4/23/2007 7:08:56 AM
 Re: I think I've got it! by Jonmark at 4/23/2007 7:31:56 AM
 What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Ginny G. at 4/23/2007 10:27:24 AM
 Oh good grief by larry larry at 4/23/2007 10:36:01 AM
 LL, I'd try to get some percentage on... by Ginny G. at 4/23/2007 12:57:40 PM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Jonmark at 4/23/2007 11:35:12 AM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Karen R  at 4/23/2007 12:29:02 PM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by texasroyce at 4/23/2007 9:09:28 PM
 There goes my career in songwriting... by Ginny G. at 4/23/2007 1:20:12 PM
 Re: There goes my career in songwriting... by Doug at 4/23/2007 3:09:55 PM
 Re: There goes my career in songwriting... by Karen R  at 4/23/2007 4:25:20 PM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Craig at 4/23/2007 3:35:22 PM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Texas Granny at 4/24/2007 9:52:06 AM
 Re: What PERCENTAGE each holds? by Jonmark at 4/24/2007 10:11:59 AM