Download Free Music Split Sheet Template & Guide

split sheet
Best Practices

Songwriting splits are serious business. And if you’re contributing in some way or another to the creation of a track, you need to make sure you’re getting the proper credit and compensation for your hard work. That’s where a music split sheet comes in.

In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about music split sheets, including how and when to make one, what to include, as well as a free template that you can use to format your own.

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Share your earnings fairly amongst your music's creators and collaborators. Download and complete our free royalty Split Sheet below:


What is a music split sheet?

Let's get started with the basics.

A music split sheet is a written agreement between the contributors of a song that outlines the ownership percentages and royalty splits that each contributor is entitled to.

A contributor can be defined as anyone who has had a substantial role or involvement in the creation of the given song. So people such as:

- Songwriters

- Producers

- Music publishers

And when there’s more than one person involved in a song or track, it can get complicated in terms of who gets paid for what and how much quickly.

Cue a music split sheet.

The purpose of a split sheet then is to make sure each contributor receives the proper credit and compensation for their work in the song’s success, and receives the correct royalties they are entitled to.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a music split sheet for every song you write or co-write.

But it’s important to have a basic understanding of how music copyright works and how it relates to a music split sheet.

If you don’t already know, a song is is split into two main copyrights:

1. The master copyright (the recording)

2. The composition copyright (the music and lyrics)

The split sheet then deals exclusively with the latter, the composition copyright.

However having a music split sheet merely records who gets/owns what - it won’t protect your music from copyright infringement or theft.

Download Free Music Split Sheet Template & Guide

Instead, if you're based in the US you’ll need to take the official steps to copyright your music by registering it with the USCO. This will make sure you receive all the royalties that are owed to you for any uses of your music, and protect your rights if your song is used without your permission.

Do I need to sign a music split sheet?

Creating and signing a music split sheet will facilitate the registration of your musical works with the correct Performing Rights Organisations (PROs) so that you collect the accurate amount of music royalties owed to you for streams of your music.

So without the correct split information, your music publisher won’t be able to register your track with the correct PRO, meaning you probably won’t receive the money that’s owed to you for your music.

Additional benefits of having a music split sheet are:

- It provides written and dated proof of ownership for clarity and security in the case of any legal headaches down the road.

- It demonstrates you’re a professional artist to any potential music sync agents, supervisors or the likes who might want to work with you and strike up a deal using your music.

With InterSpace Distribution, we offer automatic royalty splits for every song you release with us. All you have to do is enter the names and percentages of each contributor during the track upload stage and we’ll automatically assign the correct royalty payments to each contributor when your track starts generating royalties from streams and downloads.

Sign up with InterSpace Distribution now to get started!

When should you sign a music split sheet?

You should aim to create and sign a music split sheet early on in the songwriting process, ideally before you officially release the track or song in question.

Download Free Music Split Sheet Template & Guide

This clears up any potential confusion early on and means everyone is on the same page about who’s owed what when the song goes live, and more importantly, before any income or royalties start flowing in.

It also means if there’s a legal and dated document already in place if you were to get into any kind of songwriting disputes or court cases down the line. And with the growing number of contributing songwriters on today’s big hits, legal cases like these are becoming far too common in the  modern music industry.

What to include in a music split sheet

Not all music split sheets will have the same information - each song is different, as will each split sheet be.

But there are some key elements that you should include on a music split sheet for almost any kind of song or track. These include:

- Song title

- Legal names of the contributing writers

- Their specific role in the song (e.g. songwriter, producer)

- Share of songwriter percentage of song/and or share of producer percentage of song

- Music publisher and/or PRO (if applicable)

- Email address and contact info

- Signature of each writer/producer

- Date/timestamp

How to calculate royalty split percentages

How you choose to divvy up the song ownership and royalty splits is completely down to you and your band, partner, fellow contributors etc.

You might choose to split the royalties and ownership equally - or - you can give each person a percentage based on their individual contribution.

Download Free Music Split Sheet Template & Guide

Genre can be a big influential factor on songwriting splits. Hip-hop singers, rap artists and dance producers typically receive a higher percentage of songwriting royalties than rock, classical or jazz producers, who in some cases won’t get any ownership.

Whatever you decide, the total percentage of ownership must sum to 100%.

This means the allocation percentages between the lyrics and the melody for each songwriter must equal the total share of the song.

So for example, if one person has written the lyrics and the other person has composed the music, the songwriters may choose to split the ownership of the song equally, allocating 50% of ownership to the lyricist and 50% ownership to the composer, equalling 100%.

Remember - when it comes to using other people’s songs, such as for a remix, you must clear the sample legally first with all the relevant parties, before you can start thinking about royalty splits.

Don’t get us wrong, creating a music split sheet is definitely up there with one of the less glamorous and exciting parts about becoming a professional musician.

But If you’re serious about making a living out of your music, you need to take the time to learn about how to manage your rights, so you can get paid and credited correctly - which means doing all the important admin work too.

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