What are Split Sheets? Why Are They Important? And How Might You Use One?
Music contracts are important. Especially if you’re an upcoming artist, producer, or songwriter, who maybe isn’t familiar with how this whole music business stuff works! But it’s imperative that you learn!
If you’re just all about the music you’d be forgiven for not knowing what a split sheet is. Being unsure of what you may be legally responsible for when it comes to your music projects is understandable. But if there’s the potential for you to earn yourself some money from the music you make. Then it’s pretty important you understand things that you may need to put into place to cover your own back… So that when the time comes that something you created is generating royalties, you get what’s rightfully owed to you!
A split sheet is one of the most essential agreements that all songwriters and producers should keep close by. In fact, you need to have a split sheet in place if you’re not working on a track alone.
Understanding split sheets is critical if you want to make money in the music business!
Keep one-to-hand, on your USB drive, dropbox, on your phone. Some people attach it to an email…just basically have one at hand for whenever you’re working collaboratively on a song.
A songwriter collaboration is what it’s called when songwriters and producers come together to make a track. But seeing as we’re here to learn just the basics about split sheets we won’t digress. However, if you want to you can check out the article by TuneRegistry that we’ve linked below.
Split sheets are a piece of paper with information showing the ownership of the publishing. It is an ultra-light contract/agreement stating “who did what” whilst in the studio making and creating a song.
If you’re not sure what publishing means you can click here to learn a little about what that is.
So if you did get it – A ‘Split Sheet’ is a document stating who created what parts of a song!
The purpose of a split sheet is to record how much each person has contributed. Then in turn how much each person will be paid when income is generated from it.
When you create a “split” you’re allocating X% to person A and X% to person B.
If you and a friend go into a studio together. You made the beat, your friend wrote the lyrics and recorded them, you would each own 50% of the song. You might also want to change this, for example, 60/40 but it’s entirely up to you.
Filling out a split sheet is pretty easy, especially when you know-how…so if you’re planning to collaborate on a song, why not do it?
We’ve made it even easier for you with this blank split sheet template which you can download for free… just CLICK HERE to download your FREE SPLIT SHEET TEMPLATE.
Regardless of whether you use it or not, you should download it just to see an example of one. It’s important you know what a split sheet looks like even if you don’t plan on collaborating with anyone anytime soon. Taking a peek will enable you to understand it better. Also, it’s handy to have there on your drive just in case you do ever need one.
Essentially split sheets are basically to do with your future monetary earnings!
Your money that will come from your song!….so you’re going to want to make sure that the paperwork for it is correct.
So now you can see why these percentages are important. Because they determine how much each contributor will be paid when income is generated by music.
If you can sort of view your musical composition as being a big pie and the percentages as the slices! In the example that we gave earlier, you and your friend would get half each!
But it’s important to remember whoever does more, will need to be rewarded with a bigger slice of the pie. As Inglisman explains in his YouTube video…HOW TO WORK OUT ROYALTY SPLITS – Studio Talk #15 because let’s face it, no-one likes a greedy person! So it’s important to be fair…
So now you know! A split sheet is essentially legal evidence of your ownership in the copyright of a song. Having this document will give assurance to a third party that there aren’t any disputes among the songwriters or producers and that’s really important if you’re going for a publishing deal or dealing with royalties.
Thanks for reading and Good Luck on your music journey ✌️
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Andrea graduated from Roehampton University and The BRIT School, whose globally recognized alumni include Adele, Katy B, Ella Eyre, FKA Twigs, Jessie J, Leona Lewis, Katie Melua, Kate Nash and the Rizzle Kicks. She takes her love of the arts and entertainment industry to provide useful information to upcoming musicians, helping them navigate the industry and avoid making costly mistakes. She actively mentors our current contributors. Andrea has qualifications in Content Marketing and also manages our collaborative playlists for independent artists