#1
Hey all,

I'm in a band that currently isn't playing any shows but we're currently recording music and have already agreed that once we start playing dates and hopefully selling some albums that we're going to split all the gross profit equally. Essentially equal pay for equal work in the band. Of course I've seen all the horror stories of ex band members who leave their bands saying "we agreed to split the profits then once we made it big, this certain member took over and changed everything and became a dictator, etc., etc." so I wanted to ask if there's a certain document or something that should be written up that specifically outlines how we split up the money we make? I've brought it up to my bass player a few times and he wasn't entirely sure, just said "we're not even making money yet" and kinda left it at that. I just think we should have something in writing since we're all serious about the band and making music.

Also wanted to ask about how to split up the songwriting credit. If a new member comes into the band when we had ideas for some songs and he ends up writing a solo for each song and new chord progressions and accents for notes, should he get credit as far as songwriting? Or just credit for playing on the track?

I just wanted to get some outside opinions on this before I go back into practice later on so we can discuss all of this.
#2
Just fill out the details sheet when making your recordings.
Who composed the song.
Who contributed and what instrument they played.
Special notes
Make sure your band agrees on the credit given.

And you can save time by copyrighting your stuff to. Although technically your material is copyrighted as soon as it becomes tangible in the real world.
#3
Well in my view, if they're in it for the money then conflict is inevitable. I have made an agreement with my band members that all future profits shall be held communally with the assumption of equal pay. I don't think that competition is a healthy atmosphere within a band, and I think that at this early stage you shouldn't be thinking too much about money.
#4
The odds of you guys selling enough albums to make an amount of money worth losing friendships over is nearly 0%. And people who are willing to start that argument before you've even written the songs are probably not the people you want to share earnings with anyway.

Find a new band. Write your own stuff, or find good people whose music you really want to play.

People who like to disagree are generally not worth disagreeing with and it's worth the effort to be with people who pursue agreement and save disagreement until it's really necessary.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 18, 2016,
#5
One of the easiest ways I have seen this problem solved is to find someone to mediate it. If theres a person on the outside that you know that could take some charge and he in charge of evenly splitting money and things sometimes that could help. You could offer them a small percentage of your earnings if they can just be there to settle disputes as needed.
#6
You're not making money yet so it doesn't really matter.

But from the accounts I've read about, the Doors used to give every band member veto power on any band decision. Thus all band members had to agree before they could proceed.

Jim Morrison wrote most of the lyrics and melodies which essentially meant that the rest of the band did an arrangement. He could have taken full credit for the vast majority of the songs if he wanted to but instead he insisted that "the Doors" as a band take songwriting credit.

This continued up until guitarist Robbie Kreiger wrote "Tell All the People". In the song it calls for people to get their guns and to follow him. Morrison didn't want people to think he wrote those lyrics so the song was accredited to Kreiger.

But if your band feels that the songwriting is a collaborative process and recognizes all efforts individually then when you write a song you can agree and document that the song was written by the band. Then just note the members of the band at the time.

It was the same with Lennon and McCartney. They agreed that everything the two of them wrote would be split 50/50 with both receiving equal credit. Even songs that were solely written by Lennon were credited to Lennon/McCartney and songs that were solely written by Paul McCartney (such as Yesterday which was not only written entirely by McCartney but the recording doesn't feature any other Beatles) are credited to Lennon/McCartney which means that both Lennon and McCartney receive equal royalties for every song in the playlist.

I know that later McCartney was a little disappointed about this and requested of the Lennon estate that some of the songs have the songwriting credit changed to McCartney/Lennon for songs that were written mostly by McCartney. His request was denied.

So if you want to split everything equally just agree that all songwriting credits get split equally. If however someone writes a song and they want full credit then you will have to discuss that when the time comes and what that means for the band going forward.
Si
#7
Quote by cdgraves
The odds of you guys selling enough albums to make an amount of money worth losing friendships over is nearly 0%. And people who are willing to start that argument before you've even written the songs are probably not the people you want to share earnings with anyway.

Find a new band. Write your own stuff, or find good people whose music you really want to play.

People who like to disagree are generally not worth disagreeing with and it's worth the effort to be with people who pursue agreement and save disagreement until it's really necessary.


This is dead on IMO. its not worth it to lose friends over money.

cross the bridge when the time comes.

as far as credit for material, i honestly don't know enough to give solid advice, so i will defer that to others.
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#8
In my most successful originals band, we do not give a toss about personally making cash off it. We have day jobs to live on. Any money the band makes goes to an interest gaining account specifically for the band. The band fund pays for recording, advertising and insurance. I recommend taking this approach with an originals band. Once it starts making enough money, it can pay you guys a salary too.

Realistically, you aren't playing gigs yet, so you have no fans, and no interest in your cds. It's unlikely that your CD is going to fly off the shelves - as a new band you still have to figure out the quirks in your live act (through gigging a lot). It's probably not at a level that people will want to pay money for yet. Basically, I'm with the bass player, you have no money, this is a non-issue at this point.

A for songwriting credits, there's lots of ways to do it. Whatever way you pick, make sure this is discussed with the bandmembers, and register the copyright of those songs in the way you agreed.
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Last edited by AlanHB at Feb 19, 2016,
#10
Quote by AlanHB
In my most successful originals band, we do not give a toss about personally making cash off it. We have day jobs to live on. Any money the band makes goes to an interest gaining account specifically for the band. The band fund pays for recording, advertising and insurance. I recommend taking this approach with an originals band. Once it starts making enough money, it can pay you guys a salary too.


This seems like far and away the best advice here.

You need to see this for what it is. You and about a million other bands are recording their CD's now with hopes of going live and getting something started. Making the CD is the easiest part of this process. The REALLY hard work starts with the next step and isn't very likely to pay any significant dividends any time soon. Getting gigs and getting a following is a slow and long process, so having money in an account you can use to help promote the band rather than distribute it among members would be a much better investment at this point.

If it were me I'd use the money to cover marketing and promotion costs. Develop a band facebook account and use their marketing facilities to get the word out about your band and your gigs. This stuff is relatively inexpensive and can be used to target audiences very precisely among all Facebook users. That would be money well spent.
#11
Quote by CinderellaFan14
Hey all,

Also wanted to ask about how to split up the songwriting credit. If a new member comes into the band when we had ideas for some songs and he ends up writing a solo for each song and new chord progressions and accents for notes, should he get credit as far as songwriting? Or just credit for playing on the track?


You can't copyright a "solo" or "accents" or a chord progression. You can only copyright a melody and lyrics so unless someone comes along and rewrites the melody, you don't have to worry it.

I have been in two bands that recorded CD's that we sold, gave away, whatever. We managed to get back our investment (just barely) and any extra went into a fund that was to be used to pay for the next project. Who is putting up the money for the CD duplication, artwork, recording costs, mastering, shrink wrapping etc. If it's original music who is filing and paying for the copyrights on the songs. If it's a cover of already copyrighted material who is paying the Harry Fox Agency for the mechanical rights to duplicate the song and how much will it cost? I suggest that you do the research for things like this and get some hard numbers for everything, then sit down with your fellow band members and discuss where the money for the project is coming from and where the profits go (if any)before you get started recording. It's pretty expensive to record and create a professional grade CD for duplication and if one or two people are putting up the money, they will want to see a profit (hopefully) because if you don't end up covering the costs who will make it up to them for their loss?

A lot of musicians want to create their own product with hopes that they can cover their expenses. Some do, most don't. That will lead to conflict within the band for sure.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Feb 19, 2016,
#13
Agree with Alan. Put every $ into a band account to cover expenses. When it gets over $xxxxxx consider even splits.
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