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What's your opinion on drummers getting songwriting credit for the music?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Sean775, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Sean775


    Mar 19, 2015
    New Jersey, USA
    Just a thought that occurred to me, but a lot of bands fully share songwriting credit, which ideally is good, but it often makes me think that the other guys generally did more than the drummer. Guitar and bass both need riffs, a chord structure, etc, the vocalist needs lyrics and a melody, while the drummer just plays a 4/4 beat.
    Now I'm not bashing drums; I took drum lessons for awhile and it's not always easy.
    Ductapeman and jamro217 like this.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Writing has little to do with the part you play.
    The drummer could very well have written all the parts and charted them for the other players.
  3. If the drummer is playing a 4/4 beat that he/she created, why not give credit? Were there any fills? Was it played on the high hat, rhythm cymbal or with rim shots? Was there a clever backbeat, interesting dynamics, or unusual (and hopefully catchy) style? Did the drummer dictate the cadence or count off for the intro? Were any vocals involved? All of these point to the create input of the drummer. Anyone who's ever had to use electronic drums to record with can attest to the difficulty of making them sound like a real drummer. Percussion parts don't write themselves, so even if the lines are simple and intuitive, there is room for expression. That should always be rewarded. If the part was one learned beat by beat from the song's composer(s), all bets are off and no writing credit should be given.
  4. seamus bass

    seamus bass

    Oct 23, 2007
    my house
    from what i know,which is limited,drums are not considered a melodic instrument so they aren't allowed copyrights? possibly why Neil Peart doesn't get credit for writing drum parts to Rush's songs, even though it's a given he had major input?
  5. Sean775


    Mar 19, 2015
    New Jersey, USA
    Well that's different if he actually wrote the music. I'm just talking about the type of drummer who only plays drums.
  6. If the drummer is in the room when the song is written, they have rights to credits and percentages.
    If you want your drummer not to have credits and percentages, pay them as a session musician.
    If you want to get something for free, don't be surprised if they leave with no notice when a tour offer comes up.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Once again credits tell you who wrote the song, not who played it.
    Instruments all are worthless taken apart anyway, although there are songs defined entirely by they drum pattern. Streets of Philadelphia come to mind.
    Mr_Moo and PillO like this.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My opinion...

    I think for a band to be happy and function well it's best for all members to share equal credit. But I'm not saying it HAS to be done that way.

    I think some drummers put a lot into the song writing and can very well make or break a song. As well as any other instrumentalist.

    I think that many drummers, and many other musicians, often get a free ride.

    I think that the chances of any original band making any kind of money these days worth fighting over are slim to none. It will take much more investment than any band is likely to make back in the first couple of years. Much better to have everyone on the same page headed toward the same goals. If not, then people should be getting paid.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    (Some) drummers are musicians, too. As to credits, well, you could credit your pet hamster ... it has nothing to do with who wrote what; rather, it just says who has the publishing rights and who gets royalties (should there be any).
    ahc, jamro217, Grumry and 1 other person like this.
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Depends entirely on the band and the individual songs. Personally, I've always been happiest when everyone shares credit assuming everyone is involved in the creation process.

    Drums can do a lot to set the groove and feel of a tune. It definitely has its value.
  11. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Everything counts. Take away your drummer and see how your band sounds :bassist::hyper::bassist:
    joebar, Rudyboy98, Mr_Moo and 9 others like this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If they contribute to writing the song they should get credit. If they just wrote a cool drum part, they shouldn't. Just like you shouldn't get song writing credit for writing a bass part and the guitar player shouldn't get credit for writing a guitar part. My last band, everyone got songwriting credit for every song even though the singer and I wrote 99% of the material. As @Joe Nerve says, there's not enough money to fight over.

    Back in the 70's I played with a guitar player that wanted song writing credit because he contributed guitar parts. When the singer (who wrote the songs) balked, he said, why should I write my best parts for your songs if I'm not getting credit? It's exactly that type of 'me, me, me' attitude that keeps bands from succeeding on any level.
    Oddly, Mr_Moo, JRA and 8 others like this.
  13. Regardless of what you choose to do i suggest sorting it out on paper ahead of time. While it is true that there is rarely any money in music, when there is, you might wish you had made contracts before there was.
  14. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    Tell that to Levon Helm, Don Henley, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, and Neal Peart.
    Mr_Moo, elevenpieces, pcake and 9 others like this.
  15. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This simply isn't true at all. In an interview (The Big Interview with Dan Rather) Geddy Lee said in no incertain terms thay very early on they decided that all songs would be equally credited to all three of them. Never mind that Neil wrote MOST of the lyrics for every Rush song from the day he joined the band.

    Either you are horrible at sarcasm and I missed it or you are terribly misinformed.

    As for the OP, if the band writes the song, the BAND writes the dang song. End of story. If you are in a band where you are doing math calculations over who "deserves" what, either you are in the wrong band or you are simply being greedy. Never mind that almost no money is made on the "sale" of music anyway these days.

    A couple decades ago bamds only toured to raise awareness of a new album so theu could make money off of album sales. These days it is 180 degrees opposite for all but a few artists. They only put out albums to get people to show up to concerts.... where theu make their money these days. Touring is where the money is for larger acts.

    So don't hang up friendships or band politics over song rights. Just cut the drummer in equally and call it a day.
    Element Zero, joebar, Daz JP and 23 others like this.
  16. ScrewDevil

    ScrewDevil Guest

    Feb 18, 2018
    CRich0205, Swerve and Barticus like this.
  17. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'm trying to wrap my head around some guy who just laid down the most boring, repetitive, and uncreative G-C-D chord progression telling a drummer that he didn't "contribute" enough to share in the song writing credits. But the singer, who repeated the word "baby" 50 times......that guys an artist.....
    Marikk, joebar, Daz JP and 42 others like this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I really can't wrap my head around the idea that a drummer is a lesser musician than anyone else. Anyone who thinks this just hasn't played in a good band (i.e, one with a good drummer).
  19. A literate drummer who originated a piece of music gets credit for his or her creation.
  20. Mannyinnewyork


    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    I believe there are several types of copyright credits. Writing and performance are two. All band members can be included in the performance if the group decides to make a distinction between those that wrote the melody, lyrics and chords vs those that performed a specific version.
    Tough question to answers because there are many forms of collaboration.
    Mr_Moo, longfinger and Jborg like this.

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