Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Songwriter Split Sheet Form

As a music creator you may already have or plan to co-write with other musicians. If that’s the case, Split Sheets are an essential safeguard to ensure that you and each person you are co-writing with gets paid their fair percentage of publishing income. Split Sheets are therefore an important tool to track musical collaborations among songwriters, artists, musicians, publishers and any other person or company that may be directly involved.

Putting your intentions in writing

Though not an absolute legal requirement, it is always wise to your business agreement intentions in writing to later avoid misunderstandings or disputes about who said what, and what part of a song you actually own when the time comes to share the various streams of sales, royalties and other forms of music licensing income which may result from your music co-writing projects.

What the basic form includes

The basic form includes the following items: Song title, date, project name followed by percentage of agreed and assigned splits which includes: copyright ownership percentage, publishing percentage, songwriter percentage and Other (optional) percentage share which can be added at bottom of form under the Additional info and notes area.

Free Split Sheet Form download links

You can download a free copy from one of these links: SongSplitSheet_Template.pdf or SongSplitSheet_Template.doc This lets you edit and/or modify the generic template as needed to best fit your needs.

Entering your ownership percentages

Next you’ll enter the ownership percentages which includes the names of the the songwriters and publishers. If you are self-published, just enter your name(s) and adjust the ownership percentages of the song accordingly.  Besides your name and contact information, you can also enter the affiliation (if any) you have with one of the Performance Rights Organizations such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC or others which apply in your local country.

Additional notes and info section

In the Additional Notes and Info section, you can add important information about sharing any costs involved such as for the recording, mixing or mastering of the production. Normally, for example, two co-writers will share everything 50%/50%, which may include the recording sessions or other incidental costs, and later will also share all the sales revenues equally the same way.

Names, signatures and dates

The last section under Agreed to by, gives you and each of your co-writers a line to enter your name along with signatures and dates. Our free Split Sheet template includes 5 lines, so be sure to add more lines in case there are more co-writers involved in case you have a large group, band or orchestra, or some other scenario which may lead to more co-writers involement.

Keeping your music business agreements organized

If there are many songs involved, for example, if you’re in a band or group, you may want to keep all the songs from the same project or CD album together, along with a separate Agreement defining the terms of your business relationship. This could be referenced in the Additional Info and Notes area, and then just keep all the originals (e.g. physical copies) together in the same folder.

Sharing online to keep agreements transparent

Your documentation can be managed easily online, such as on a free Google docs (recommended) account. Managing these kinds of forms online makes it easy to share with your co-writers and other members (management, accounting or legal aid, etc.) on your team as needed. It helps keep your documentation accessible and transparent for you and your team which makes it easy to manage your future publishing and licensing growth opportunities.

Finally, if you have questions or are not sure about something, we recommend you to do some research, and when appropriate also consider consulting with a qualified administrator, legal expert or attorney to double check your intentions and contract agreement details on behalf of your business. Normally, the more you can do upfront, the better your experience will be later when the business starts rolling and takes off!

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