When you create a project on Boombox, or invite additional collaborators, you are asked to enter "Master-Income splits" (also known as "Master-Royalties splits") and "Songwriting splits" (also known as "Composition splits"). While Boombox recommends splitting equally among co-creators, let's demystify splits and split sheets.
Master-Income / Master-Royalties splits
Master-royalties are generally split as follows:
Scenario 1: The primary Artist records, produces and mixes the released Artist “Masters”.
As a rule, generally, net income actually received by the Artist (“Net Income”) resulting from self-produced and mixed Masters is split amongst the individual members of the Artist whose performances are embodied in the Masters in equal shares (e.g., if there are 4 members of Artist who performed on Masters [i.e., a band], then each such member is entitled to a 25% share of Net Income).
Scenario 2: The Artist hires a record “Producer” to record the Artist’s performance, and a “Mixer” to mix the Producer’s recordings, before they are sent to mastering in anticipation of release.
As a rule, generally, the Producer is entitled to a 15% share, and the Mixer to a 5% share, of the Artist’s share of Net Income resulting from the Masters. If the Producer produced and mixed the Masters (i.e., there was no third-party mixer involved), then the Producer would be entitled to a 20% share of Net Income (i.e., 15% to produce and 5% to mix).
Scenario 3: The Artist decides to make a joint recording (e.g., a duet) with another more popular artist (a third-party “Featured Artist”) and hires a Producer and Mixer to record and mix the Artist Masters, before they are sent to mastering.
As a rule, generally, the Producer is entitled to a 15% share, and the Mixer a 5% share, of the artists’ joint share of Net Income resulting from the Masters. The Artist and Featured Artist split the balance 50/50.
As a caveat, where a Producer works for no fee (i.e., works on a “sweat equity basis”), then it is not uncommon to treat them the same as any individual member of Artist when splitting Net Income (i.e., it’s split in equal shares amongst the individual members of Artist and Producer). This is not the case for mixers. They might receive a double share (e.g., a 10% share, but not an equal share), as their work product is not as extensive and laborious as that of a producer.
Songwriting / Composition splits
Songwriting is generally split as follows:
A song is composed of both lyrics and music. Therefore, in the music industry, 50% of the copyright in a song is divided amongst the lyricists and 50% is divided amongst the composers of the music (i.e., the producers). As a rule, generally, the division is made in equal shares.
Putting it together: split sheets!
As an example, if a 3-member Artist wrote the lyrics to an unrecorded song called “Flying” over a melody initially composed by the Artist, but then the Artist hired a Producer to flesh out the musical composition and record and mix the Artist performing the lyrics over the final composition co-written by Artist and Producer (“Composition”), the Master and Composition would be split as follows:
Producer - 20%
Artist member 1 – 26.6%
Artist member 2 – 26.6%
Artist member 3 – 26.6%
Producer – 25%
Artist 1 – 25%
Artist 2 – 25%
Artist 3 – 25%
As you can see, the Producer received a 20% share of the Artist’s share of Master-royalties for producing and mixing the released Master, and a one-half (1/2) share of the “producer’s share” of the final Composition (i.e., the Producer was entitled to 25% of 100% of the Composition). The individual members of Artist split equally the balance of the “producer’s share” and the entirety of the “lyricist’s share” of the Composition (i.e., they split 1/3rd to each, 75% of 100% the composition).