Everything You Need To Know About Split Sheets

Everything You Need To Know About Split Sheets

Odds are you don’t write every song completely on your own. You’ve got co-writers, producers, and other creatives who have contributed to the creation of your finished song. If you want to ensure everyone is paid exactly what they’re owed, you need to master your split sheet game. In this post, we’ll give you everything you need to know.

Everything You Need To Know About Split Sheets

About Split Sheets

A split sheet is like a musical handshake that sorts out who gets how much credit when you write a song with someone. Whether that be divided between other songwriters, producers, lyricists, or whoever else contributed to the track, a split sheet legally identifies who wrote what percentage of the song.

During the process of creating one, each creator has to agree about how the percentages are defined. Some artists divide it evenly based on who is in the room writing and producing the song, but some base the percentages on the person’s specific contribution to the lyrics, hook, melody, and beats. However you decide to split things, it’s important everyone involved agrees on and understands the splits to avoid any disagreements down the line.

What Info Goes in a Split Sheet?

When it’s time to to fill out your split sheet, there’s a lot of info that needs to be clarified in the document. In addition, you need to make sure everything is as accurate as possible. That said, some information you’ll need to provide includes things like:

  • Song Information:
    • Title
    • Names of contributors
    • Contact information
  • Ownership Splits:
    • Percentage of ownership for each contributor
    • Breakdown of ownership percentages for different song elements
  • Signatures:
    • Signatures of all contributors
    • Date of signature
  • Additional Terms:
    • Any agreements related to royalties, licensing, or future use
    • Provisions for changes or amendments

“Why is all this so important?”

If someone wants a cut of your song down the line, having a split sheet already defined will save you a lot of trouble. It also simplifies the songwriting process by eliminating that awkward energy that sometimes comes with dealing with money in any business. Not only that, but Performing Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), labels, publishers, and people who may sync your music will not pay out if there are concerns about who the creators of the song are, and who the money should be paid to.

Split sheets provide clear documentation of each contributor’s ownership stake in a song. This clarity helps prevent disputes and misunderstandings over royalty distribution and ensures that all parties receive their fair share of earnings generated by the song. Not only that, in the event of a dispute or legal issue regarding ownership, a well-documented split sheet can provide evidence of the agreed-upon ownership shares.

Now, you may be thinking… “When should I bring this up?”

Ideally, you should bring up the split sheet before you get into the studio. That way, everyone involved knows it’s coming and that you’re serious about what you’re doing. You’d be surprised how often artists just go off “vibes” when it comes to collaborating with others… (I wish I was kidding.) For example, they may be working with friends or possibly someone well-regarded in their community and not want to ruin the energy with business talk, but I assure you the vibes will definitely be ruined when you have to fight with your collaborators over money.

The more clear and direct you can be with this, the more respect your collaborators will have for your professionalism. In addition, having everyone on the same page just straight up makes things run more smoothly and stress-free until the very end. No stress, no mess… Easy as that.

Where To Get a FREE Split Sheet 👀

Our friends over at Songtrust offer a FREE split sheet you can download on their website to make things even easier. In addition, they include a sample agreement to help you see what it should look like.

Click here to download the FREE Split Sheet ]

To wrap things up…

If there’s one thing in life, not just the music business, that can ruin a relationship overnight… it’s money. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to protect yourself through avenues like this one. Whether it’s with split sheets or producer contracts to publishing and booking contracts, it’s up to you to cover your bases and protect future you. 💰

Good luck!