I've been writing songs with a friend of mine and we are in the process of getting them recorded by industry professionals very soon. Although he will not be playing on the recording, how do songwriting royalties work, and who gets what?...I am paying for the entire recording process myself, and plan to promote the songs myself as a solo artist with hopes of starting my own publishing company.
If you both wrote the songs together then you need to discuss who gets what e.g. lyrics by and music by. If you both contribute music and lyrics then you'll need to discuss who done the most and of what. Lennon and McCartney just agreed to split everything and I think a lot of people do this simply to avoid the percentages getting messy.

On the recording you will be due money from PRS (Performing Rights Society) each player is logged e.g. vocals by and on which track. If you played on the track you get a cut etc.

If it gets played on the radio, the writers get money as do the players involved, both are payed through different companies (MCPS and PRS) you need to register with both of these companies (usually costs a yearly rate) to receive payment. Logs of songs played on the radio are sent to these companies and these companies work out what everybody involved is entitled to.

If you phone the MU they can also give you advice.

How I know this stuff: member of the MU for 4 years and have studied this particular subject closely, have also personally registered tons of songs.

(NOTE: I am based in the UK. The system may be similar, but it will vary from country to country.)
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