Writing credits

Ethan01

Senior Member
When in a band, how do you handle writing credits? Does everyone just get their name on? Or is there a systematic way of figuring how who contributes the most?
 

Lucho

Member
I have had some varying experiences with writing credits.

In some situations, the person who wrote the initial melody that the song was written around was credited 100% with writing credits.

In another group I played with there were 5 people in the band, and each song was split into 6 shares, with the "writer" (person who contributed the melodies and lyrics and stuff) getting 2/6 shares and everyone else got 1/6 shares.

Personally I think everyone should get some form of writing credits unless you sit there and read off a chart that's been provided to you by the "writer". Otherwise you're adding your own flavour and groove, and that's part of the song and you should be credited accordingly.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Personally I think everyone should get some form of writing credits unless you sit there and read off a chart that's been provided to you by the "writer". Otherwise you're adding your own flavour and groove, and that's part of the song and you should be credited accordingly.
Oh, I don't agree with that at all. Let's say I give a bass player a chord chart, just the chords. He'll come up with a bass line that works but that's his job. I wrote the music, the song has my name on it and that's it.

Did I "write" that bass line? No. But there wouldn't be a song to put a bass line to if I hadn't written it. And believe me, if I'm not liking what the bass player's doing I'll keep letting him know until I'm happy.

Coming up with a drum part to a song is the same thing. The song exists, it has a melody, lyrics and chords, verse, chorus, all of that, and unless it was a collaborative work then the person who wrote the melody, lyrics and chords deserves sole credit for the song.

How any royalty points are assigned among band members is a matter for the band to work out, and there isn't any rule for how that's done.

I've come up with many, many drum parts over my career and I never once felt that I deserved any song writing credit for those parts. The song already existed, and if I hadn't worked up a drum part then someone else would have.
 

Ethan01

Senior Member
Construct I see your point. How about this example:

Guitarist / singer come up with melody for a song that's in pieces. Drummer writes the rhythm and helps piece the song together, including when when half-time, what to intro, when the band should hit all together. Bass fills in his part, singer, writes lyrics. Who here would get writing creds?

P.S. If it were my say, everyone would get an equal share. Unless, as Lucho said, someone handed you the charts to play, then you creatively affected the song. If the someone comes up with a sick intro rhythm that makes the song ("zest for life" comes to mind), should they not get credit for writing?
 

Lucho

Member
Oh, I don't agree with that at all. Let's say I give a bass player a chord chart, just the chords. He'll come up with a bass line that works but that's his job. I wrote the music, the song has my name on it and that's it.

Did I "write" that bass line? No. But there wouldn't be a song to put a bass line to if I hadn't written it. And believe me, if I'm not liking what the bass player's doing I'll keep letting him know until I'm happy.

Coming up with a drum part to a song is the same thing. The song exists, it has a melody, lyrics and chords, verse, chorus, all of that, and unless it was a collaborative work then the person who wrote the melody, lyrics and chords deserves sole credit for the song.
Yep I agree with you, sorry I wasn't completely clear.

I'm referring to my experience, where the songs have been written as a band with everyone in one room while the chords come to life and everyone gives input as to the structure of the song.

If someone came to me with a completed song as asked me to play a beat over it in no way would I think I've helped "write" that song.

I hope that clears it up.

Also an unrelated note, I've watched your jazz webcasts con struct and they're fantastic! great stuff :D
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Construct I see your point. How about this example:

Guitarist / singer come up with melody for a song that's in pieces. Drummer writes the rhythm and helps piece the song together, including when half-time, what to intro, when the band should hit all together. Bass fills in his part, singer, writes lyrics. Who here would get writing creds?
What you're describing here is a collaboration, and in such a case I'd say each contributor deserves credit, even the bass player if his contribution is crucial to the end result.

Practically speaking, all copyrighted and published songs eventually end up being printed as written music and that's the song, and not so much the recording of it.
 
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