50% Writers share

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by Brazi, May 15, 2019.

  1. Brazi

    Brazi New Member

    May 15, 2019
    Hello, I am just about to upload my first single to DistroKid.

    I was reviewing the license I got from the Beat maker. What do these phrases mean?

    "With respect to the publishing rights and ownership of the underlying composition embodied in the New Song, the Licensee and the Producer hereby acknowledge and agree that the underlying composition shall be owned/split between them as follows:

    - You shall own and control Fifty Percent (50%) of the so-called “Writer's Share” of the underlying composition.

    - Producer shall own and control Fifty Percent (50%) of the so-called “Writer's Share” of the underlying composition.

    - Producer shall own, control, and administer One Hundred Percent (100%) of the socalled “Publisher's Share” of the underlying composition.

    - In the event that Licensee wishes register his/her interests and rights to the underlying composition of the New Song with their Performing Rights Organization (“PRO”), Licensee must simultaneously identify and register the Producer's share and ownership interest in the composition to indicate that Producer wrote and owns 50% of the composition in the New Song and as the owner of 100% of the Publisher's share of the New Song."
  2. OP

    Brazi New Member

    May 15, 2019
    Does that mean I have to give him 50% of everything we earn with this Track?
  3. chillbot

    chillbot Sock Muppet

    Feb 6, 2014
    La Canada Flintridge, CA
    Yes. More like 75% overall. Not a great deal for you, sorry.
    jononotbono and JohnG like this.
  4. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    yeah -- what @chillbot said.

    In some countries this isn't even legal. In every case, though, it stinks.
    Daryl likes this.
  5. muk

    muk Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    The whole backend earnings (royalties) of a track are usually split in two halfs: the writer's share, and the publisher's share. The writer of a track gets 50% of the whole royalties, and the publisher gets the other 50% percent. In your case 'beat maker' keeps 100% of the publisher's share (which is 50% of the total royalty income), plus 50% of the writer's share.

    Total royalties, split in two: writer's share, and publisher's share (each being 50% of the total royalties). 'Beat maker' keeps 100% of the publisher's share (which is 50% of total royalties), plus 50% of the writer's share (which is another 25% of total royalties)

    So all in all he/she is bagging 75% of the total royalties income, leaving you with the remaining 25%. As chillbot wrote, that's a horrible deal I'm sorry to say.
  6. bbunker

    bbunker Senior Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    So - to clarify, this is a situation in which someone else has written the music/beat/much of the existing musical content, right? So you're the licensee here - and this other party who created the other material is taking the publisher's share - does this mean that they're also publishing it, or distributing it in some way? It begs the question of what you contributed to the thing that you've licensed something from the beat maker in order to produce?
  7. vgamer1982

    vgamer1982 New Member

    Jan 13, 2019
    Sort of depends what you did on the single. You say someone else is the "beat maker"....is this a rap track or something similar?

    Did you write the lyrics?

    This could be anything from a sort of ok but not great deal to a horrific one, but yeah, this deal gives "Producer" 75% of all publishing royalties. What does it say about mechanicals, sync and so on?
  8. vgamer1982

    vgamer1982 New Member

    Jan 13, 2019
    How much someone gets out of these deals for singles/pop tracks varies hugely. Major artists, huge names can get large chunks of the authorship of a track for scarcely doing more than a few vocal takes over the top of an enormous amount of other people's hard work and writing. On the other end of the scale, people get screwed over hugely by labels and producers all the time.
  9. ken c

    ken c New Member

    Oct 27, 2016
    If they wrote the beat for the track, a writer's split seems to be fair
  10. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

    Jul 30, 2016
    Miami Beach
    You should considering cancelling the deal.
  11. Henu

    Henu Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2017
    As mentioned, it's impossible to say if it's a fair deal or not unless we know what's your share of the writing process.

    The term "producer" was first used for someone who took care of the money and made sure the project was worth every penny...then it evolved into how it's usually perceived, which is someone to polish the artistic vision into the final product and make it better in every way.
    You know, quincyjoneses and rickrubins and stuff. The peeps who took the already good music and molded it into even better with clever arrangements, instrumentation choices and whatnot. They didn't really compose anythig new nor did they even touch the mixing desk- they just gave orders. But could you imagine how "Bad" would had sounded without Jones? Or how would Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" sound without Rubin? Would that even exist in the first place?

    Now in the 2010's it means basically any dufus who can just load a loop into his/her Macbook. Apparently, if you mix your own (already-mixed-sample-based) music, you are now considered as a "music producer".
    Gaffable likes this.
  12. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

    Dec 10, 2016
    There are two copyrights for any song. One for the music and lyrics combined (writers share), and a seperate one for the recording of the song (publishers share).

    It is often the case that two parties cowrite a song, eg music and lyrics. Then they share the writers share (the ©). If they also both contribute to the recording of that copyright, they can divide the publishers share (the ℗), but in this case it seems like you dont share that.

    This can be right if you didnt contribute to the recording and production of the song. However, if you want part of that copyright (the ℗), you can split a work-for-hire production of the cowrite with a master release. If so, you would each own half of the publishers share as well. Publishers share is about who owns the recording of the song (not the song itself). Publishers used to pay for recording, hence they owned that and could make money from it. Record companies also often own the recordings, ect. In this day and age, people often record and produce their own songs, so it is neccesary to get some insights into how to draw up agreements that covers both writers and publishers shares. That is the work publishers and record companies used to do (well, still does of course, but not with many indie releases).

    You should look into that, as much of the income for a song comes from the publishing.

    Next time, make sure you draw up an agreement on shares BEFORE you start writing. That is one certain way to avoid conflicts about these things.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  13. VinRice

    VinRice ... i am a robot ...

    May 20, 2017
    The UK of Englandshire
  14. Selfinflicted

    Selfinflicted Member

    Jun 22, 2016

    Sort of, but not quite.

    Yes, there are two separate things to own - the underlying composition and a recording. But the publisher is the owner of the copyright for the underlying composition. That may or may not be the owner of the recording (aka master recording, masters, etc). But, they are two different things. In a work-for-hire the writer has given the copyright of the composition over to the publisher - the writer no longer own's that composition.

    When you mention writer's share and publisher's share - that is typically discussing performing rights royalties (ASCAP, BMI, etc). There is a 50/50 split between writer and publisher for a public performance of a composition (radio, tv, also in live performance etc). But, if a composer/song writer does a work-for-hire agreement, they no longer own the composition - the publisher does. This was setup precisely so that writers could collect royalties for work they had done, even after signing the ownership over to another party (the publisher). Publishing is the right to exploit a composition.

    With a recording, the owner of the recording has to get the right to use a composition - either by owning it or licensing it's use from the publisher (unless it is in the public domain). They don't have to go to the writer, unless the writer is the publisher. They also need an agreement from the performer, unless of course, the the recording is being created by the performer (performer will own the master). To own something, someone else is giving something up or granting its use, unless you're making it and keeping it yourself. ASCAP, BMI et al collect for public performance of the composition, not the recording itself.

    When an existing song is used in a something like a film the producer of the film has to get both a license to use the composition (sync license negotiated with the publisher) and license to use that particular recording (mechanical license negotiated with the owner of of the master recording). Typically they will be an equal in cost.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  15. Selfinflicted

    Selfinflicted Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    OP - let us know what exactly you did/created in this process and we can give you better input. If this is your original material that you created, as opposed to using someone else's material, then this sounds like a terrible deal.
  16. Aaron Sapp

    Aaron Sapp Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2004
    I've heard increasing reports of composers relinquishing part of their Writer's. It's bad enough upfront dough is decreasing/disappearing these days, but giving up your Writer's (even a portion) defeats the purpose entirely. I would sooner stack the shelves at Walmart.

    Never give up Writer's. Spells trouble for so many reasons.
    Henu and muk like this.
  17. muk

    muk Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    An emphatic +1 to what Aaron wrote.
  18. Daryl

    Daryl Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2006
    One of the benefits of PRS membership is that you are legally not allowed to do this.

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