Copyright © 2009-2011 I Am Entertainment Magazine, a publication of NFluential Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
|I Am Entertainment Magazine
|WHAT'S A SPLIT SHEET?
This is something that many songwriters/artists have no clue about. A “Publishing Split Sheet” (Split Sheet for
short) is a document that states who wrote what percentage of the song(s) being recorded by a band or artist.
A split sheet should be created for each and every song you write, before you begin recording it. Why make
a split sheet? Because, if you don’t know who wrote what percentage of a song, when it comes time for the
recording to be placed on Radio, TV, Film or any other form of broadcast media, you’ll be fighting over someone
not getting his/her fair share of the revenues generated from the licensing of the song(s).
I’ve seen too many people sit down in studios with their friends and write 50-60 songs with no intentions of
clarifying who wrote what. As a matter of fact, they’re more concerned with Copyrights than they are with
Publishing, which baffles me, since publishing is how they get paid?
BUSINESS FIRST, FUN LAST
I’ll be the first to admit that I was notorious for not handling my busi-
ness first, but after losing out on millions of dollars in publishing
because all I wanted to do was create great music, I decided it was
time I started handling business before I go around to doing the “fun
I know it’s an uncomfortable feeling to break out a split sheet
and start dividing up shares of publishing when you’re trying to be
creative, but it’s a necessary part of the songwriting process. Don’t
let your discomfort cause you to lose millions of dollars like I did.
I suggest having a meeting about split sheets prior to hitting
the studio so everyone understands that it’s not personal, but rather business. I learned that doing this makes
everyone feel as though their interests are protected when it comes time to register the song with your respec-
tive Performance Rights Organizations (i.e. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC).
If you handle business and get it out of the way, you can move on and be creative in the studio without any
misunderstandings when it’s time to break out the split sheets after the song(s) are written.
WHAT GOES ON A SPLIT SHEET
Split sheets should contain the following information:
- Names of each writer, as it will appear on the credits and PRO registrations.
- Physical mailing address of each writer, so that a copy can be mailed to everyone.
- Capacity in which the writers are working (e.g. Producer or Writer).
- Percentage of the song written or composed by each person involved. Producers have a 100% pie,
Writers have a seperate 100% pie. For example, if there are 2 producers then each one gets 50% of the
producer’s share, and the same goes for writers. I’ve found that dividing everything evenly between
writers reduces the mess.
- Respective PROs (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC)
- Publishing company (if it applies)
- Birthdate & Signature of each writer
- SS# or EIN (get an EIN so you don’t have to give out your SS#, this will require you to register your
name or company as a sole proprietorship.
|SONG PUBLISHING SPLIT SHEETS
"If you handle business and
get it out of the way, you can
move on and be creative in the
studio without any misunder-
standings when it’s time to
break out the split sheets after
the song(s) are written."
|WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU'VE FILLED
OUT YOUR SPLIT SHEET
|"Stop Writing Songs For A Day And Learn Something About The Business"
Artists/musicians (signed and
unsigned) amaze me with how little they
know about the business aspects of
music. Whether you have a manager,
lawyer or booking agent, there is no
excuse for not understanding how the
Here, I’d like to address the “Split
Sheet”, something that is ignored far too
often by bands and artists who co-write
songs with other musicians. Many
musicians will use the excuse that
business gets in the way of their
creativity...well, I’d like to be the first to
let you know that, “YOU ARE WRONG!”
Business actually keeps you from
getting in your own way.