How Bands Divide

How bands and co-writers divide percentage shares in a song
by Bobby Borg

Under copyright law, as soon as one of your original song ideas is recorded on a CD or the lyrics to one of your compositions is written on a sheet of paper, a copyright is formed. A copyright grants you the exclusive first right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and sell your compositions to the public.

But what does copyright law say about your rights when an original idea is formed between two or more people? A few principles regarding joint works must be understood by the authors, and the most important principle has to do with ownership.

Division Of Ownership Under Copyright Law

There’s a presumption under copyright law that the authors of a joint work are automatically considered equal contributors. This simply means that if a band writes a song, each writer automatically owns an equal share, no matter how big or small their musical or lyrical contribution.

A “lyrical” contribution refers to the words written as part of a musical composition. Determining a “musical” contribution can be a lot more complicated. According to Neil Gillis, Vice President of A&R and Advertising at Warner/Chappell Music, a musical contribution includes the melody, as well as any pre-existing riff or groove that becomes an integral part of the song.

Take the drum part to the song “Wipe Out” for example, or the bass riff to the song “Come Together.” Would these songs be the same if either part was excluded? Certainly not. Nevertheless, Gillis warns that he would never walk out of a writing session without first being clear among all the writers what percentage of each composition he owned. A simple written agreement will suffice. It’s not even a bad idea to record writing sessions on a small recorder, and to keep copies of original lyric sheets in case a dispute between writers ever materializes.

Exceptions To Copyright Law Per Written Agreement

Keeping in mind what copyright law says, if the percentage split in a composition is intended to in any way to be other than equal, there needs to be a written agreement setting forth what that split really is. For instance, if the members of your band agree that the bass player’s contribution in a song should only entitle him to a ten percent share, this must be put in writing.

You may be wondering whether any musician would carelessly agree to a smaller percentage share than he or she actually deserves. It’s not that uncommon! In fact, I know several musicians who, throughout the course of performing with one extremely successful rock singer, signed away 100 percent of their song shares in return for a small sum of money. Not realizing the potential value of their shares over the long term, the guys felt that it was what they needed to do at the time to keep their positions in the band. Needless to say, they’re all kicking themselves now.

The “All For One, One For All” Philosophy

With all this talk of who’s entitled to what, you might ask what happened to the “all for one, one for all” philosophy that most young bands and writers swear to. After all, if a group of writers stuff themselves into a practice room to spend hours of their valuable time experimenting with song ideas and recording demos, is it really fair that the harmonica player gets zero interest in a song just because he wasn’t feeling as lyrically or melodically creative as the others that day? And what happens when all the writers make relevant suggestions and have to determine whose chorus idea gets used? Can this potentially turn the writing process into a competitive game of who’s getting credit rather than focusing on writing the best song possible? It can be a very real problem. Consequently, many bands have an initial agreement stating that all of its members will receive an equal split in the songs regardless of who comes up with what.

The “all for one, one for all philosophy” makes perfect sense at first, and works for many years of a relationship. However, once a group becomes successful and everyone in the industry begins telling the vocalist or guitarist that he or she is the real star and genius of the band, writing credits and percentages can quickly become a topic of further consideration.

For example, guitarist Stone Gossard and vocalist Eddie Vedder wrote most of Pearl Jam’s songs, yet the band originally split the percentages in its compositions equally: each of the five members received 20 percent. However, as they became more successful and vocalist Eddie Vedder was recognized as “the star,” essentially becoming the only irreplaceable member, the band wanted to keep him happy. They allotted 36 percent of each song to Vedder, and 16 percent went to each of the other four members of the band. In another, more drastic, example, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin started holing themselves up in a cottage in Scotland called Braun-yur to demo complete song ideas for Zeppelin III. In other words, this is where the other members of the group began to get cut out of the songwriting process.

Surely no one wants to lose out on their profitable piece of the pie, but the reality is there’s usually one or two key writers in a group who are the principle creators, and it takes a great amount of maturity on the part of the other members to somehow recognize and deal with it. It’s that simple! So it’s always best to get the sticky stuff out of the way before getting on to the business of writing–it can save potential hard feelings and your share of the credits when the time comes to collect your earnings.

Bobby Borg has over 25 years of experience in music. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with a BA in Professional Music, and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) with a certificate in music business. Borg is the author of The Musician’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to Understanding the Music Business, published by Billboard books. He is also a staff writer for Music Biz magazine and a host of other online educational resources. Borg is the author of six self-published instructional method books for musicians, and has written educational articles for Modern Drummer.

Learn more about Bobby Borg and to get your copy of The Musician’s Handbook at

Financial Alchemy For Creatives

Financial Alchemy:
By Morgana Rae, CPCC, ACC

Your current financial situation is a direct reflection of your inner relationship with Money. If you don’t like your finances, something needs to change in your relationship. This is where Alchemy comes in. Alchemy is the art of transformation. With roots in ancient Egypt and classical Greece, Alchemy comes from a time when there was no distinction between science and magic. The mysteries of matter and consciousness were inextricably linked (as they are again, in today’s quantum physics). These ancient studies gave birth to modern medicine, psychology, chemistry, and even Sir Isaac Newton’s work on gravity.

The ultimate pursuit of Alchemy was the “Philosophers’ Stone,” a substance believed to turn worthless metals into gold. While Alchemists through the ages slaved in the laboratory, their metalwork concealed a spiritual process, a Philosophers’ Stone which had to be kept hidden from the Church: this was the process of inner transformation. Two principles are involved here: 1) turning lead into gold was an outer demonstration of inner transformation, and 2) the seed of the solution (the gold) was hidden in the problem (the lead).

I invite you to use this chapter to discover your own Philosophers’ Stone—your key to wealth and inner transformation—hidden in your relationship with Money.

Before we proceed, let’s review some guidelines I adapted from Alchemist

Rule #1: As it is above, so it is below.

What shows up in your head is going to show up in your life. This chapter will be using fundamental Relationship Coaching skills to help you transform your relationship with money from a dead seed into a flowering garden. A seed comes to life as a living, thriving, fruit-flowering plant…in the right environment. So, too, your own prosperity. Your potential for financial abundance is there, waiting for the necessary environment within you. Your relationship with money is like the soil that feeds or starves your economic growth. As long as you have hidden beliefs that cause you to unconsciously repel money, perhaps “protect” yourself from wealth, your
garden will not grow.

Rule #2: There is no scarcity.

A wealthy client once explained to me how he had overcome poverty. “The
amount of money out there in play every day is limitless, beyond our comprehension.

Money is everywhere,“ he explained. And it’s available in proportion to “how big your funnel is to take it in.” He had learned to tap into the Source. This relationship supported him.

Rule #3: Consciousness gives you choice.
I assert even a small change in your relationship consciousness can have a huge impact on your material life. You get what you choose, but first you need to know what you’re choosing. How do I know this? I experienced this transformation myself.

My story:

For years I was struggling as a life coach. I had trouble attracting clients who would pay the fee I wanted. I found myself avoiding discussions of money as long as I could. The whole subject embarrassed me, and my discomfort translated into making clients uncomfortable too. I was “doing” all the right marketing things–networking, newsletters, sample sessions–and getting nowhere. I was not making a “grown-up” living.

What was in my way, I wondered? My coach and I took a look at my
relationship with Money. What were my stories about Money? What is this entity I’m in relationship with? What’s going on with this relationship?

Two discoveries popped out: money didn’t feel safe or reliable, and money caused separation. (My family would swing between being rich and poor over and over again, and money was a “reason” for family members not to talk to each other for decades.) If my experience of money were given personhood, he’d look like an unkempt, unappealing, Hell’s Angel biker type I didn’t want to be around…someone untrustworthy who liked to cause fights. No wonder I wasn’t bringing Money into my life!

This was not the relationship with Money I wanted to have. (And it wasn’t the relationship I wanted to model for my clients either.) So I created a new paradigm. I fired the Biker persona and put a romantic, clean-cut, soft-spoken suitor in his place. I chose a new Money “person” to relate to. This Money was like a sweet boyfriend who wooed me with gifts. He even wore a tux! Whenever I received a check, signed a new client, came across some unexpected income, I would graciously thank Money for the lovely gift. And this version of Money was valued and invited into my life.
From then on my business and income kept growing. Within six months I had accrued such a waiting list of clients that I had to add group coaching to my services. I didn’t have to look for my new clients; they were finding me. And all I had changed was my inner dialogue with money.

Now it’s your turn:

If you want to improve your financial situation, you must first uncover the beliefs that shaped your relationship with Money. Get out some paper and respond to these questions. (Writing creates clarity and speeds your change.) What did you hear about money when you were growing up?
What beliefs get between you and prosperity? What have you heard about women with money?

Next, look at how Money has shown up in your life and in the lives of those
around you. Give Money personhood in relationship to you. If Money were a person, what would your version of this Money “person” be like?
Who is Money? How do you feel about Money? Do you trust Money? Does Money trust you? How does Money operate in your life? How does Money feel about you? Is Money someone you’d want to have a relationship with if you didn’t “have to?” Now, take a step back and imagine looking at this relationship between yourself and Money-as-a-person from the outside.

What shift needs to happen in this relationship?

Now, as yourself, negotiate with Money:

Does Money have a request for you? Do you have a request for Money? What’s going to be different?

How do you want to be different in this relationship? What is the next step to making this change real?

Money is like any other relationship; it comes where it’s invited and

appreciated. It rarely comes when it is chased. It can be your partner if you listen to it. The more you care for this relationship, the more money you will attract. Here are three final tips:

1) Appreciate money! When a penny shows up on the sidewalk, thank Money for the gift. Don’t worry about denomination; appreciate everything. Think of how good you feel when you are valued for even a small gesture. It’s the same for Money. Every time you practice receiving and appreciating, you train the universe to send you more.

Show the universe what you value.

2) By now your capacity to receive is growing. You’ll notice other stuff creeps in to limit the flow through your funnel to abundance. This stuff may look like clutter, broken appliances, old e-mails, toxic people, time wasters or other energy drains.

Clean house! Make space for what you want by having the courage to release what you don’t want. You teach the universe how you want to be treated with every choice you make. And nothing gets the universe’s attention like saying “No.” It’s your quickest ticket to miracles.

3) The most important place to make space for what you want is in your head. Clean out fear and pessimism. Plant love and trust instead. Your thoughts are your seeds, and you can grow flowers or weeds. What do you choose to grow?

“Charmed Life Coach” Morgana Rae helps creative professionals enjoy success without sacrificing their humanity. Clients range from presidents of companies to entrepreneurs, entertainment professionals, coaches, healers, and women who want more success and life satisfaction. A sought after speaker, workshop leader, and professional coach, Morgana’s background includes ten years in the entertainment industry, a degree from Smith College, advanced Organization and Relationship Systems training, and certification by the International Coaches Federation.

Contact: 310 657-5340. Email:
If you enjoyed Financial Alchemy, check out the full book “Inspiration to Realization”

Money Making Strategies For Indie Artists

by Jeffrey Fisher

I’m always amazed how many creative people ignore their need to invest for the future. Now my particular idea of investing goes way beyond merely saving money and depositing for growth in a bank, stock, bond, mutual fund, etc. (I’ll get to that in a moment). While I know that form of investing is crucial to real success as a music professional, there are a few other forms of investment to consider.

Since I advocate running your career as a business, the first place to invest is in your business. That doesn’t mean running out a grabbing more gear. The best place to invest in your business is making it grow. That probably means adding music products and services and also spending resources to promote them. The next pace to invest is in your relationships, both business and personal. Nobody achieves success in a vacuum. You depend on people to help you achieve. Today is the perfect day to start building those crucial relationships. Lastly, always invest in yourself. Make yourself a better person by mastering new skills and savoring new experiences. Making all these forms of investment a part of your daily life is the true path to success in your life.

Now the real money stuff…

Let’s say your humble music business pays you $50 a month, $600 a year. You would need $10,000 in the bank earning 6% interest to make the same $600 bucks in one year. It can be hard to save $10,000. Even socking away $100 a month takes 6.8 years. If your business nets you just $100 a month and you sweep it into an investment paying 6% a year, you will have your $10,000 in 6.8 years. That same $10,000 will now pay you $50 a month without further intervention on your part. You’ve accumulated a capital base that pays you a dividend of $600 each year. Add that to your $100 from your business and in less than seven years your business and investments make $150 each and every month.

Now nobody is going to get rich on $150 a month.

You are missing my point. It is the combination of earning, saving, and investing that creates a moneymaking music machine for you. You just need to make some money from your music, save it, invest regularly, and watch it grow. Take the same figures from above and multiply them by 10. Can you use your music career to make $1000 a month? Can you in turn save that amount? In the same 6.8 years you will have $100,000 paying you a whopping $6000 a year in interest. That’s $500 a month without touching the original 100-grand.

What choices do you have to make right now to allow yourself to both earn money from your music, save a sizable chunk of it, invest it, and ultimately reap the benefits of all your hard work?

I firmly believe that intelligent investing in yourself in a careful, controlled, and cohesive manner will often yield larger dividends than simply plopping the same cash in your savings account. Make sure you keep your perspective, though. Don’t become either a miser or a spendthrift. Yet
when an expenditure helps you create more success (and more money), you might be better off to write the check.

©2003 Jeffrey Fisher

Are You Stalling When It’s Time To Launch?

I was speaking with a client the other day and she was feeling a bit overwhelmed about her place in life. We chatted a bit and I shared with her, that I too have had moments of doubt and definitely moments of fear around a new project. I have learned that it is important to take action right away towards your goal. It can be a small step but it must be in the step of that direction.Is analysis paralysis was doing a doozy on you? Try these 8 proven strategies to get you headed in the right direction.

1. Start Where You Are

1.artistic-coach-start-lineSometimes starting a new project is ripe with anxiety about where you should be or where you could have been if you had only started sooner or younger. You begin to berate yourself and start letting the air of the tires and having a good old fashion pity party. It’s important to stop, take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back for beginning TODAY. Every expert once was a novice. Every time I start a new project, I have to congratulate myself everyday for having the courage to do the project at all.

2. Create A Clear Goal- Where do you want to go?

Marianne Williamson says, “we are more afraid of our light than our darkness.” Staying unclear about your goal means that you don’t think that you can make it. You are more brilliant than you give yourself credit for being.

Clear your your goal like a GPS. You need to be clear like water. When you enter your goal into your GPS, it will take you there. Your Goal Is your GPS. Once you have your goal make a list of action steps.

If your goal is to get money on the table write down…

Goal- To get money on the table. Ask yourself these questions

  • A. What small step can I take towards the goal?
  • B. What can I leverage from where I am?
  • C. For the highest return on investment, what is the next step?

3. Take Imperfect Action

What are those actions? Do them scared.

Susan Jeffers says “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”
There has never been a performance that I have done where I didn’t want to run out the door 5 minutes before showtime. It comes with the territory. If you ever hear interviews of performers, athletes or anyone who has to get in front of a crowd on a regular basis, they will tell you about the stage fright. They still go on. They lived another day. The most famous of these is Barbara Streisand. She has touched the lives of millions. We are all so blessed because of her courage and talent.

4. Lean into it

I remember having a really big performance and thinking I just can’t do it. Millions of people are going to see me on TV and I feel fat, lol. As the music started, I remember just leaning into the curtains and feeling nauseous. But with each step onto the stage, I felt less scared and more powerful and with each note, I felt better and before I knew it, I was having fun!

You will feel a little bit of discomfort. Breathe through it. Each day allow yourself to feel a little more discomfort until you feel like hey, this is no big deal, I got this.

5. Fall in love with why you are different!

Know why you are the person that they should come to. Use that to position yourself. Use it in your marketing. Fall in love with you and everyone else will, too.

6. Break Your Own Rules!

1.artistic-coach-break-the-rulesMy rule for many years was that I needed to live in New York City in order to be successful. After living there for several years, I decided that I was tired of the cold and Southern California was more my temperament. I didn’t need to live crammed in a 1200 square foot high rise apartment to be successful. When I broke that rule, stress left my life like a hot potato!

7. Simplify the Sale

Put together a sales package with great care. Package who you are and what you’ve got. People are waiting to connect with you. Do it today. Do it Now!!!

8. Make Decisions based on where you want to be, not where you are right now

Decide to be your essential self. You are enough right now. You are the perfect person to begin right now. You have plenty to offer and there are people waiting anxiously to receive it.

9. Celebrate


Every step along the way, celebrate your successes. I used to be so guilty of not doing this and it nearly destroyed me. I would write a book or do a performance and dive immediately into the next one without taking a second to celebrate the accomplishment of the goal. Trust me. This will WEAR YOU OUT! Take the time, smell the roses and celebrate every success no matter how small. Have Fun!

Success By Association

Success By Association
by Morganna Rae

The greatest genius will never be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have a confession.I was a geek in grade school. I was that nerdy girl wearing the polyester “floods” from Pic n Save. I kept my nose in books like “Jane Eyre” or “Lord of the Rings.” Small talk baffled me. Then in the sixth grade, two popular girls adopted me. They took me to the mall and taught me how to dress, became my friends, and included me in their activities. Soon I was learning how to make friends and flirt and hold my own with the “cool” kids (politically active, articulate, popular, musically hip) I admired. What happened? These two girls pulled me up to their level of social finesse by association. And these girls were great people–smart, socially aware, responsible, and compassionate human beings. People I admire to this day. Our values meshed. And they knew something I needed to learn about social rapport.

And this brings us to this month’s tip: Success by Association . One of the easiest, quickest, and most effective ways to ensure change is to surround yourself with people who will pull you into your future. Look for people who reflect who you want to become. They have accomplished your goal or are well on their way.

Here are some ideas:Want to lose weight and get healthy? Make friends with people who eat healthy and work out.

Want to increase your sales? Hang out with people who are great at sales.

Want more inner peace? Spend time with peaceful friends.

Want to be a millionaire? Get yourself into a group of millionaires.

Would you like to be a kinder, happier person? Find yourself some kind, happy people. Consider joining a charity.

And this is key: celebrate the successes of your friends! Their success shows you that you are getting closer. The more successful your friends are, the more successful you will be too!

Why this works:What is around you becomes more real, more normal. You start to think like your comrades.

You don’t have to fight the pull of a negative environment. A community of people who are what you want to become creates an energetic momentum that carries you forward.

This new reality becomes imprinted in your unconscious. You are moving forward even when you are not consciously “working” at it.

This month’s invitation:Notice where you spend your time.
How can you surround yourself with people who will help you move forward?

5 Tips To Be A Money Magnet

by Morgana Rae of Charmed Life Connection

Last month’s Financial Alchemy Workshop went better than I dreamed. This is the first time I’ve presented a workshop that not only sold out–I had to turn people away! And the manifestations that the participants have been sharing over the have been thrilling. This is why gratitude is so important: we magnify what we pay attention to.

For those of you who missed the seminar: it was recorded! I will be coming out with an edited CD set and workbook package soon, and Charmed Life Connection readers will get first dibs when it’s ready.

The Smith College Alumnae Quarterly just ran this little piece I wrote, so I thought I would share it with you too:

1) Appreciate money. Appreciate even the smallest denomination. Think of how good you feel when you are valued for even a small gesture. It’s the same with money. Every time you practice receiving and appreciating, you train the universe to send you more.

2) Strengthen your boundaries. Have the courage to say “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want. Clear the clutter and energy drains in your life. Strong boundaries build your self esteem and free you to focus on what is important to you. This is very attractive to money.

3) Make a wish list. List one hundred things you would buy if money were no object. The items on your list put what you want on your radar. Through a mental process called reticular activation, your mind will start to discover opportunities to manifest the items on your list.

4) Manage your money. The better you manage what you have, the better able you will be to manage more. Get in the habit of diverting a percentage of your income into a wealth-building account, even if you are paying down debt. And set aside something for your favorite charities–nothing builds a sense of abundance like the ability to give to others.

And finally,

5) Surround yourself with successful people. You take on traits of the people you spend the most time with. If you want to be financially free, spend your time with financially successful people who share your values. Identify rich people you admire. Pick up their mindsets and practices for enlightened wealth building.

An Intro To Booking For Indie Artists

In last month’s column we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of performing cover tunes. One major advantage that a cover band holds over an all-original act is the abundance of solid paying gigs available. Booking a band that plays primarily original material is more challenging and normally much less lucrative. Although each situation is different, here are some basic concepts that should make the process less painful.

Press Kit
Attempting to book a gig is basically a sales pitch. Before you begin looking for gigs, you should prepare your presentation, usually in the form of a press kit. The press kit, similar to a personal resume, is often the first impression of your band (or product). It is imperative that a band with professional aspirations invest adequate time and money into making the best presentation possible. Each band’s press kit will be different, and kits can be modified to fit an individual situation. Here are a few items which will likely be included in any press kit.

–Recorded material, live or studio recordings
–A concise biography or history of the band
–Any positive press, include the date/publication
–Photograph, A good live photo will work in a pinch
–A listing or reference from venues already played

The best advice we can give is to keep your kits efficient and as inexpensive as possible. Check out these books on how to build killer press kits.

With good press kits built you are ready to attack the challenges of booking original music. As you have probably already learned, this is where it gets tough. DO NOT get discouraged! This is a tough business and club managers and
bookers are some of the toughest people to impress. Many times the rejections or unresponsiveness you will undoubtedly encounter have nothing to do with your presentation, music or salesmanship. You must keep yourself focused and excited about each new prospect. Proper follow-up can sometimes turn a ‘dead’ prospect into an opportunity.

Finding a venue
The most obvious choice for a venue is a local bar or nightclub which hosts live original music. But, you should always be on the lookout for alternative venues that will provide you with a different audience. Keep up-to-date on all regional events like festivals, benefits, and large parties that feature live music. These can be great venues if the events are well organized because you will have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience that doesn’t necessarily frequent nightclubs. Also, consider creating your own venues. If you have full production capabilities and a good promotions network, you can produce your own shows. The goal of performing live is to showcase your music to as many different people as possible, so keep that in mind when considering potential venues.

Approaching the venue
As you begin looking for gigs, you’ll find that its not always easy to get to the right person. The key to success is to be professional and persistent. Whenever possible, try to personally deliver your press kit to the venue during off hours or weekdays. Write down the name and phone number of the person you met with. Be sure to ask what time and day is most convenient to follow up. Then, follow up exactly when you are supposed to. Always be respectful of the booker’s time, and be persistent, never pesky.

Some venues like to handle booking on only one or two days a week. Make notes of those days and respect the venues wishes. For example, we have dubbed Tuesday as “Universal Booking Day” because so many regional venues only book on Tuesdays.

Confirming the gig
Once you have made the sale, confirm all the gig details immediately. Make sure you understand the venue’s expectations on issues such as load-in time, sound check, performance time, set length, number of sets, pay, and promotion. Then, make sure that everyone in your band has all of the pertinent information. We find it very helpful to have a written ‘Gig Sheet’ with the who/what/when/where and any helpful information like important people to look for and greet, directions or hotel information.

Club owners and bookers greatly appreciate a band that is professional. Failing to arrive on time for sound check or take the stage on time are the two most common complaints about bands from the venues. Being prompt is critical to good first impression and will only help your chances of being invited back. Understanding the venue’s expectations and respecting them will eliminate some of the tension that inevitably surrounds live performances.