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Agreeing Splits

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Fenderbird1, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I've just formed a new band with two musicians I've been in prior bands with and a singer/songwriter.

    Having been in a serious band where we agreed royalty, touring and other revenue streams before I'm really aware that as difficult as the conversation can be, this is something we need to do in this band.

    My question is, as the singer comes in (So far) with a very simple chord progression that we tend to change about, arrange etc and lyrics and a melody would it be fair to suggest a split of 25% each for musical composition and 100% to him for the lyrics (I seem to remember that lyrics are administered differently to music).

    We're all contributing to the costs of running a band such as rehearsals and recording (plus I'm paying through the nose driving).

    The individual instruments have completely changed the feel and in some cases harmony of the songs.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Chords, melody, lyrics gets you a song. Orchestration dresses up a song.

    Look at what Geirge Martin did for The Beatles.

    Santana shared song writing credit a lot.

    It's what ever you agree upon.

    Good luck with your new group! :thumbsup:
    Fenderbird1 likes this.
  3. Conkal


    Jun 23, 2017
    Athens, Greece
    For me there are 2 possibilities.
    Either everything is 25% when it is written by the band, someone contributes something here another there.
    Or if someone brings a whole song on the table with no contribution from others , then the royalties should be something like 50-75% the songwriter the rest for the rest of the band.

    All the bands i played are amateur bands, but when we write a song then this is the most common rule. I don't think that we would change it if money was involved.
    Fenderbird1 and buldog5151bass like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I agree that you should keep it as simple as possible. Otherwise you will get into arguments ("we changed the bridge". "No you didn't").
    Fenderbird1 and Bassbeater like this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Find the Rush documentary that came out a while back.

    They kept getting hounded by their management about what to do with songwriting credits. The very idea of "business" talks annoyed all three if them. So they took about 15 seconds in kne of those meetings and decided to split everything equally three ways. That band lasted more than 40 years. Amd the three of them are still best of friends.

    Watch the documentary with your band and then split everything three ways.

    It's simple, gracious, generous, and will shove to the side many of the potential issues that bands deal with. It also opens you guys up for total artistic collaboration. Nobody will think "Why would I bother offering suggestions to improve a song that will only net me 25%?"

    Split everything evenly.
  6. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    May have worked for Rush, didn't work out as well for Michael Anthony and Van Halen.
    Fenderbird1 and getbent like this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Clearly they didn't have the same kind of arrangement then, did they?

    Rush agreed to split everything three ways and never discuss it again. If there are arguments among the mambers of VH they either never had that arrangement, or the egomaniacal VH brothers pulled the rug out from under it at a later date.

    I have no use for post-Michael VanHalen whatsoever. And I was fine with VanHagar.
    juancaminos, redwingxix and bkbirge like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    nope, not 'a thing'.



    good luck getting your project off the ground while getting into the weeds! :thumbsup:
    SoCal80s and Fenderbird1 like this.
  9. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    Even splits is easy on paper. But it implies that everyone feels that everyone else is "doing their part", so there is no animosity/resentment/jealousy, etc.... between all the parties involved.

    There's another thread in this sub that apparently did an even split - not on songwriting, necessarily, but on everything else. A band is a band, regardless, business wise. The OP is clearly not happy how that ended up. Just sayin'.

    Fenderbird1 likes this.
  10. Royalties go to songwriters. Period. I know of no different way to address lyrics from music. Two fingers has it right. The Rush model is simple and fool-proof. Get it done and spend your time thinking about writing better songs, instead of worrying about who gets how much per note or whatever.
    SoCal80s, Fenderbird1, 4dog and 3 others like this.
  11. TjMetalhead


    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    In a way splitting everything evenly (even if you are the main songwriter) will boost morale and entice your band mates to play your songs. Why should someone who had no input in your songs play them? It was something I thought about in my last band. When you're hoarding all the royalties morale drops and no one has any enthusiasm to play your music. Unless you want hired guns but then might as well just do a solo thing instead of a band.
    Fenderbird1 and 4dog like this.
  12. In my current band, we play many originals, most of which are written by the guitarist/singer, meaning he comes up with the chords, melody, and lyrics. Drummer and bassist (me) add our own parts, with possibly some suggestions from the guitarist/singer (which we've been known to ignore). I've written the music for one song (let's just say the songs I write generally aren't appropriate for this band). I would never expect a 3-way split in this scenario. For the one I wrote (except lyrics), I might like to have the most, so maybe like a 50/25/25. On the others, I don't really expect anything, although he might give it. We never talk about it - I suppose we should, especially with me being an IP attorney. :chicken:
    Leonerd, Fenderbird1 and vvvmmm like this.
  13. look man, split everything equally on the 1st record.
    If that hits, and makes a lot of money, then go get a lawyer and delve into deeper agreements on who gets what.
    Until then, it really ain't mean nuthin.
    Leonerd, SoCal80s, StayLow and 3 others like this.
  14. Dabndug


    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    A great way to deal with this is to ask: if I was bringing material into the band, what kind of split would I think is fair? This will put you on the other side of the give-and-take calculations.
    Fenderbird1 likes this.
  15. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    Whatever you decide to do, agree on it before you do it. If you can't come to terms in advance it's not a good band situation. Better to find that out before you get underway.
    hrodbert696 and Fenderbird1 like this.
  16. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Morro Bay, CA
    Who plays the most notes?
    Ekulati and Fenderbird1 like this.
  17. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Who brings the most booze?
    Slough Feg Bass and Fenderbird1 like this.
  18. If you’re a “band” everything is split evenly.

    If there’s a songwriter with backing musicians, songwriter gets royalties, musicians get paid a day rate whenever the songwriter needs them (including rehearsals, recordings, performance) and are provided charts for an already finished project.

    Needs to clear up front. When no-one is making any money. It’s too late once someone is rich.
    Fenderbird1 likes this.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If I'm the guy coming in with a song and everyone else is just coming up with parts and suggesting tweaks, I'm not going to feel like giving up an even split to them. I would, however, be willing to do a split similar to what the OP suggested....half to the singer for lyrics and the other half split up 4 ways. Now all you need is to have songs that sell so it matters :D
  20. Thanks guys some great insight there.

    The music is the number one thing as many have said.


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