Guest post originally posted by Songtrust.
You’ve closed the door in your room and churned out your favorite songs all by yourself, but what about collaborating? Almost every song you hear on the radio today was co-written, and the skill of collaboration will go a long way for you as a songwriter. with a co-writer, the song may not end up better, but guaranteed to be different.
Before you step into that room however, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Who is in the room?
You’re excited, and want all your friends to join you in the session – STOP. You may be writing the next “Call Me Maybe”! Keep in mind that if anyone else is in the room while you are co-writing they may be entitled to some form of percentage of the song (even if they just write one word). Keep the distractions out, and keep the creative juices in, make it just the writers.
When you take a break, everyone takes a break:
If you’re nice enough to leave and pick-up lunch for everyone, your co-writers should be nice enough not to finish the song without you. If you are really co-writing make sure everyone knows its a break!
Is it done?
Its important that you and your co-writer(s) agree on when the song is finished or not. Once your song is “fixed in a tangible medium for which it can be reproduced” the copyright exists, and if your co-writer uses a part of the song you wrote together for his new song, that would be a derivative work and (technically) infringing on your copyright.
How much do I own?
Once the song is done, make sure you and your co-writers all agree on an appropriate split. Its always better to get this in writing as soon as possible, so that when the song explodes there will be no fighting and no lawsuits. Always fight for what you believe you deserve, but remember that 1% of something is better than 100% of nothing. (Sometimes its best to have this worked out prior to the session)
Author: Alex Badanes
Songtrust, a Billboard Magazine Top 10 Music Start-Up, provides a technology platform for royalty collection services to music business professionals in over 50 major music markets worldwide. Our industry-leading online solutions help songwriters, artists, managers, labels and publishers simplify music rights management including the administration of music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing. Learn more at songtrust.com.