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Is The Sole Songwriter Of A Band Entitled To More Profit Of A Cd Sale Than The Other Members Of A Band?

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  • Noob

I sing and write songs for a band. It's very difficult to find resources providing recommendations for these things, but in your guys' opinions, should the songwriter of a band earn a higher profit percentage than the other members of the band?
Note: I am the lead vocalist and play piano in the band.

Thanks so much. Any help would be appreciated.

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The industry standard is simple. Songwriters get publishing deals. Bands do not. Bands do deals with record labels. It helps to generally think of things as "the band's share" and "the songwriter's share". I'll dig out a link to a book that it would be a really good idea for you to use as a reference, and if you are going to go back to your band it would be useful as proof that what you are saying is standard practice.


In the pro industry the songwriter gets a slice of every performance and the sale of every recording. As a member of the band you also get your share of performance and recording from the band's share.


Band members tend to get an equal share of the band's share.


Unless signed to managers and promoters etc, band members who are not the songwriter(s) could increase their share of earnings by:


managing the band and getting the manager's share

promoting the band and you guesed it


and of course


writing some songs

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Oh, one thing to add would be that the songwriter usually gets a share that is often bigger than the entire band share. Some bands do cut the cake differently but that tends to be where writing is a collaboration amongst the band. As long as your band understand there is a difference between contributing to the arrangement and writing the song. The same goes in reverse in that sometimes a part is contributed that is key to the song an really could be recognised with a percentage share of the songwriting income

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  • 3 weeks later...

Its as well to get this out in the open early on.


There is the famous example of the split of Robbie Robinson & the Band, who resented his writers share.


Some band members have been known to claim a share of a song because they worked out their part of it (bass line or drum pattern). This is not really writing however.

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  • 6 months later...

It's just different roles. There are musicians and there are creators. These parties are being paid in different ways. If you think of a cover band you'll see that it's actually quite straightforward. It just happens that you are a member of the band that plays your songs, i.e. you're playing two different roles.


Have fun,


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Some (big) bands do it this way:  the songs are "works made for hire," owned by the band, which is a corporation, owned by the band's organizers and maybe its members under some written organizational set of by-laws.  Thus, the band will always have the right to perform its own songs, and they will be able to share in the proceeds according to some arrangement that has been set forth (in a legally enforceable way) by them.  The band's name is also often registered as a trademark.


Kansas® is a good example of this, but there are others ... Chicago, KISS ...


When you get into serious-business and serious-money, "minding your P's and Q's" is a big thing.

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> Thus, the band will always have the right to perform its own songs,... <


If a song is registered with a PRO - which always makes sense if a song is supposed to be performed or produced - EVERYBODY has the right to produce or perform it (there is a licence, of course, which is paid by the organizer or label).

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