Ok, my band is just finishing up our first full length album, we've finishing recording and now it's being edited and mixed. Now our producer is really pressuring us to write up a contract concerning the distrubution of profits between the members. Our first concern is paying off the fees for the studio, so we've mutually agree if one member contributed more then the profits we be equalized, but we have to figure out what's going down once we break even.

Now I've been working on some of these songs for up to three years, I perform vocals, lead guitars, synthesizers, and bass guitar on the cd so I think I deserve a fair share of the money. The other guitarist joined the band about a year ago and has co-written a few of the tunes with me. He also sings on a few, as well. Asfor our percussionist we havebeen jamming with him for not very long and he was more of a session man, figuring things out in the studio. Also three of the older songs we co-written with a former band member I promised him some sort of cut from this cd if I could use them.

I suggested to the band that the profits could be divided 50% to the composers of each song, and 50% for the performers. but they didn't seem down with that considering I'd get around half, then the other guitarist 30ish, and the drummer 20ish. Is that unreasonable? How do standard bands with a main composer divide their profits?
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wtf is a selfie? is that like, touching yourself or something?
dude just spit it even to everyone in your band, then agree on how much to give the former member for the used songs.
id say split it evenly then give yourself an extra 5%
so 25% for you 20% for the guitarist 20% for the drummer then 10-15% for the ex member if 10% just dish round a little more to you and the guitarist
Getalawyergetalawyergetalawyer. :P

It's a difficult question, really, because of the different credit owned by each person. I would say that, if you plan to split the profits in an unequal way, your division isn't too unfair, but I'm not suprised the drummer doesn't like it.

If this is your first CD and you don't expect to sell many (i.e. probably true), it might be worth saying 'split 70-90% of the song between the band, and 10% extra goes to each songwriter, depending on how many there are'. That would mean that you could pay off the cowriter of the songs with 10%, get a little extra for you or the other guitarist, and still not do much better than the drummer.

Or just split it evenly - that will be far better for band morale, I expect.

EDIT: Whatever you do, make sure that the other members and the past songwriter actually agree to it, get it in writing, get it signed, and if you think it's worth it get it drawn up by someone who knows what they're doing.
Last edited by Samzawadi at Aug 16, 2009,
We split envenly to keep up our friendly spirit. We wouldnt be a band if we were all pissed at eachother.
***Short Sig***
Quite a few things to add here...

1. Your producer is insinuating himself into your band's private business affairs? Wha? He has about as much business doing that as he does grabbing each band member's testicles and telling them to cough.

Nonetheless..... if he at least got you thinking, then that's a good thing....

2. By 'standard bands' - do you mean recording acts? There are SO many variables, but here is a typical (mind you, with so many possible variations, I hesitate somewhat to use the word typical) breakdown:

100% of sales gets divided 50/50 between
publisher (usually the label is the publisher... that's usually part of the deal) and
the composer(s).

All this, of course, is calculated *after* deductions, which there are many. A ballpark figure would see roughly $1.00 - $1.25 per unit sold given to the composer or divvied among the composers.

3. A conventional situation involving a co-writer who wrote more than 50% of the song, or a writer who wrote the song entirely would see that writer getting a standard licencing fee of roughly $0.08 per copy made. There is also a minimum of I believe, a rate based on making 500 copies, so that would be about $40 per song.

See licencing organizations like Harry Fox or www.cmrra.ca or the copyright thread for dummies for more info.

So, you *could* give this other writer $120 to use his three songs (or if you're making 1000 CDs, then his $240 to use his three songs) and send him on his way.

That sounds fair to me. However, as the writer, he *can* hold out for more, or prevent you from using the songs altogether. These things sometimes need to be negotiated, and with negotiations, they don't need to be fair or rational or sensible - they just need to be agreed upon.... or not.

Now.... about the other members who did not write....

First off... just because they played on the CD, they are not entitled to anything, unless there was an agreement that included them. Just because you play guitar on a track, for instance, it does not mean you actually have any rights to any money made from that track. Royalties (sales is roughly a simplified word for 'mechanical royalties'; radio play is 'performance royalties' etc.) are payable to the publisher and to the composer(s).

If a guitarist wants to get paid, they will negotiate a flat fee or a percentage of some portion of the income. Refer to the above note about negotiations. :-) If you are unable to come to an agreement, then he either plays for free, or you find another player who will. Or whatever.

Now, that's not a very good way of running a band when you are in the stages where you don't have a steady stream of people beating a path to your door to play in your band. The success of your band will depend on how it functions as a whole... not how much money one of you makes.

So.... there are two typical business models.

A) One or two owners and the rest are employees. You see this sort of thing when, say, Celine Dion goes out on tour. She is the 'owner' and the band she tours with would be a bunch of hired guns. Though mostly typical of solo artists, some bands work this way too. This is not the path I would take at this point for a band like yours. You do all the work, carry all the risk, and get the profits after expenses. Your band (expenses... salaries MUST be paid before you are) shows up to work and gets paid. Guaranteed. Tour loses money.... your problem - not theirs.

B) Better for you, probably.... you are all part owners. You collectively succeed or fail as a team. You collectively reap all the rewards and collectively are on the hook for all liabilities.

But do you want the new guy to be a part owner? How committed are *you* to *him?* Maybe have a trial period of one year or something?

Under this second model, even though you might be entitled to the lion's share of the royalties, that money shouldn't all stay in your pocket. At least not if you don't want your band to bail on you.

Consider this, though.... Does it make good business sense to make, say, $1000 and then distribute 100% of your gross earnings (not even net!!) as salaries? NO WAY!! A smart business - especially a small one with little to no liquid capital to begin with - needs to reinvest in itself. It takes money to make money, and in music, that is as true as anything else, if not more so. Rehearsal space, band merchandise, recording costs, manufacturing/duplication costs, web costs, advertising costs.... and that's just the beginning!! Oh, yeah... and your friend's licencing fee for his three songs!

If you're even half-way smart, you won't take any more than 20% or so after expenses.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
are you signed? because publisher royalties can usually be squeezed out of the label at the get-go (unless you already missed that boat). that amount is also all you owe a co-songwriter... ever (though it's a royalty... not a one time thing). can he even prove he had anything to do with the songs? if not, you could say f*** him if you wanted to. you wouldn't be the first nor the last to do so.

and for christ's sake, let your lawyer draw up the contract, not your producer.