by Marty Dodson
Mar 7, 2020
Most of us songwriters are happy-go-lucky types…
We waltz into a co-write with lofty dreams and aspirations and then we boogie our way home with smiles on our faces because we just wrote another “hit” that could change our lives. That’s a fun way to approach life for sure. But, we often forget some CRUCIAL pieces of co-information that we could have easily gotten from our collaborators while we were in the room.
See, one day, hopefully, someone will want to cut some of those songs. Or, a publisher might want to sign all of those songs to a publishing deal. When one of those things happen, they will come to you and ask for all of this info. If you don’t have it, it can be REALLY difficult to track down after the fact.
In every collaboration, I recommend getting this co-writer information…
1) Each writer’s name
2) Each writer’s e-mail address
3) Each writer’s phone number
4) Each writer’s PRO (ASCAP,BMI,SESAC,SOCAN, etc) – even if they change e-mail addresses and phone numbers, you can track down almost any writer through their PRO. Because we all want to get paid, we make sure they have our correct info. Also get their PRO publishing name if they have a publishing company set up through their PRO or if they are already signed to a publisher.
5) The date on which the song was completed. We call this the DOC or date of completion
6) The agreed-upon split for the song with each writer’s signature. The book The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting is a great reference for learning how splits work.
Store it where you can find it…
If you store all of that info in your database, you will have it all in one spot when something good happens and you need it.
When you write a song with someone, you create a legal entity. You need to be sure that you have all of the co-writer information you need to register that creation so that you get paid, and to protect your share of it in case there is a disagreement.
Before you boogie on home, get all of this information. You’ll thank me later.
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