Agreements Between Band Members: Dealing Fairly with Members Who Don’t Write Songs

By George Howard

In many bands there is either a single songwriter or a songwriting “team.”  This archetype was established early — Jagger/Richards, Lennon/McCartney, et al. — and persists to this day.  Whether it’s a single songwriter or songwriting team who come up with the necessary elements to create a copyright in a song, there are often others in the band (drummer, bass player, etc.) who have no claim over this copyright.

Only Songwriters are Automatically Granted Rights Associated with Copyright

As we’ve discussed in prior articles (Control Your Revenue: Transfer Your RightsYour Public Performance RightsYour First Asset, The Right To ReproduceThe State of The Music Industry & the Delegitimization of Artists) the owner(s) of the copyright are immediately — upon creation of an original melody and lyric that is “fixed” in a tangible form (i.e., written down or recorded) — granted six exclusive rights.

From these rights comes the ability to make money in the music business. 

Whether the song is downloaded, streamed, used in a movie, or exploited in numerous other ways, it is the songwriter, and the songwriter only, who is compensated for the use of the exclusive copyright. 

So, if the guitar player and the singer write a song, and that song gets used in a TV show, it will be the guitar player and the singer who receive the income from the synchronization fee (and its associated royalties; e.g. public performance royalties if the show is broadcast, etc).  The drummer, bass player and any other member of the band will see none of this money. Zip.

Band members may not understand the rights around either creation of the copyright of the income generated from the various means of exploitation; too often, they believe that all income the band earns will be divided up. 

While they may be correct with respect to money earned from gigs, and potentially money earned from the so-called artist royalty if they are signed to a recording agreement with a label, they are gravely mistaken when it comes to money derived from the exploitation of copyrights of songs they did not write. 

 To be 100% clear, only the writers (© holders) of the song receives royalties from the exploitation of the songs; non-writers do not.

Why Bands with some members who write songs and others who don’t have problems

What often happens is that a band is formed with a single songwriter, and, in the early parts of the band’s career — when the only money anyone is making is coming from live shows — everyone shares in the income equally.  Then, much to everyone’s initial delight, the band gets some momentum, and a label releases a record, a TV show uses a song, the radio starts playing a single, etc., and all of a sudden the songwriter starts getting paid, while the other band members do not.

For instance, when a song is released on a record/download, the writer and only the writer receives a “mechanical royalty”; when a song is used in a TV show/movie, the writer and only the writer receives a “synch fee/royalty”; when a song is played on terrestrial radio (i.e. not Satellite or Internet), the writer and only the writer receives a “performance royalty.”

Pretty soon, the writer has a house and a car, while the other band members are still taking the bus and living at home.

This creates obvious tension in the band, and too often one of two negative things occur: 1. The band breaks up; 2. The writer allocates a percentage of his copyright to the other members of the band.

Avoiding Problems via an intra-band Agreement

There are, however, ways to avoid either of these two negatives: an intra-band agreement

Put simply, this type of agreement — among other things, such as delineating decision making processes, etc. — stipulates the division of all money, including money from the exploitation of a songwriter’s copyright.

This can be done any manner of ways, however, the way that seems to work best is to create an agreement that allows all members of the band to share in the income from all sources so long as the non-writing band members are in the band.  If any of the non-writing band members leave the band, they forego any future income — including income derived from the songwriter’s copyrights.

In this manner, two beneficial outcomes occur: 1. Bands stay together longer because there is a more equitable distribution of income. 2. The songwriter does not have to divide her copyright; all she is doing is dividing the income from the exploitation of the copyright, and not the copyright itself.

Why you should not divide your copyrights — i.e. avoid co-writes whenever possible

Too often, people do divide the copyright by giving non-writers a piece of the songwriting credit, and thus a perpetual claim to income derived from the exploitation of the copyright. 

In this scenario, even after a non-writing band member leaves the band, he will still receive income from the exploitation of the copyright…forever! 

Not only is this non-value adding in terms of keeping the band together, it also makes it that much harder to divide the copyright in the future (you now have less of it to divide).


While intra-band agreements should address a number of other things (and you must consult an attorney to draft these for you), a strategy for dividing all revenue amongst members — irrespective of if they are writers or not — must be a central point of any deal between band members.  Doing so creates an incentive for bands to stay together, while not creating perpetual divisions of copyrights that result in past members of a band being paid even while they no longer add any value to the band. 


George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is a Professor and Executive in Residence in the college of Business Administration at Loyola, New Orleans. He is most easily found on Twitter at:



  • The Library of Congress did a great job allocating copyright ownership with my first recording submitted to them in 1996. I wrote what each member contributed and tried to give equal rights to all band members involved on the recording. The copyright office sent back a letter awarding me as 100% copy write owner with a detailed explanation of why. I’ve gone through several members over the years since. I guess the Gov. foreseen that happening, like they probably saw with several others long before receiving anything from me. I’ve never had any past members ask me for any money from that recording, probably because I never really made much, but I still have that letter filed away safe just in case.

    • Hey Timothy,
      I was wondering if you had that letter and if you’d be willing to share what the Lib of Congress shared with you.  I’d like to hear it in their own words.  Thanks so much.  All of this has been a real eye opener

  • More good insight from George, as usual. Lack of this understanding between band members is most likely the biggest cause of groups dis-banding before their prime, or never coming close to their potential success.
    The songwriter issue is the most critical. Carefully considered split letters are necessary that bring into play any unique offerings by the “non-songwriting” members to the original recording that contributes the the success of the song and the band. I prefer to pay the recording musicians a fee for service, which can alleviate some of the problems. But if a real hit takes off, that paltry session fee would seem insignificant and be a cause for resentment. Perhaps a sliding scale for successful recordings could be considered. Any income derived from usage of the song outside of the original recording, however, would have to fall only to the copyright holders. Even a couple of points to a contributer carefully delineated in a split letter could solve that problem.

    • esolesek

      Question is by giving those points in a written agreement, are you then admitting you are surrendering and sharing your copyright? That admission may cause a lot of trouble in the future. In fact, I think the Smiths got deep into the doodoo with their rhythm section because of that. I think it basically comes down to a gentleman’s agreement. I pay the rhythm section enough to keep them happy, period. If they don’t like it, next. I’ve played with 5-6 great drummers in my life, and there are more. Still, it is true that great drummers make a song, and I don’t consider myself better at writing drums than an experienced drummer. Great drummers know dynamics and accents, and styles, and patterns. It’s a really tough question.

  • Lowe

    these kind of situations are all what I have lived. Fs hurt over and over again but i’m willing to play , I just hope I don’t get my feelings funny thing is that I start to think that like it was written above that those that share the copyright with the other band memembers should be carefull of that act . Clear thing is that when that member quits the band he could and will still have right on that song that you’ve all shared. This game of music is hard, too hard

  • Philip

    I didn’t understand if this article meant to really divy up the money earned from selling songs and cds equally between a whole band if only 2 people out of 4 wrote the songs or not.
    I’m in a band, and I write everything myself. Shouldn’t I be entitled to earning extra through profit made by copyrighting the songs myself?

  • The thing is unless the singer writes the whole song, and I mean everything. The words the bass the guitar the drums etc then he didn’t write the song. He only wrote part of the song, as did the rest of the band members. You remove any aspect of the song and it just won’t sound right. Imagine removing the drums from a well known song. Every member of our band is very important to the song writing process. We all have a great understanding of song structure, what works and what doesn’t. We all write our own part of the song for our instrument and give advice on ideas or changes to the other band members.
    It’s a very old fashioned way of doing things and it’s time things changed. No wonder band don’t last two minutes. Every band member involved in writing the song should get a equal split of the profit from the song and of the copyright to the song. If you leave the band anything that is written from that point on gets split equally with the new band member and not the band member who has left the band. However they should still receive any money made from the songs they were involved in, even after they have left the band because they had input in the writing process of them songs. Its the fair way of keeping everybody on an equal footing and keeping the whole band happy. Keeping the band together!

    • JT

      Here’s the problem. You can use the same drum beat in many, many songs without being sued. Melodies lyrics… can do. Nuff said…

    • Awax

      Should the makers of colored paints and canvases get paid when their products are sold in paintings? If I color a sketch of a person’s face, did I create the face? Nope. If I write a song containing melody, lyrics and guitar, the progression of the guitar part reduces the options for the notes of the bassline from infinity to a reletively small number. The rhythm of the guitar poses the same limits to patterns on a drum set. If a particular choice of one of the limited options by a bassist spurs me to alter the timing or pitch of my melody, that has no bearing on the original “intellectual” exercise of creation. For instance, does a programmer that alters a bit of Windows code for an update get ownership rights to the OS? No. However, I do not think that melody and lyric alone constitute sole copyright ownership of a song when a band is concerned. A single melody barely restricts the options of additional melodic parts, since any single note on the scale can accompany any other single note. Arranging a set of chords to accompany a melody would significantly diminish the options for additional notes. Adding a rhythm and tempo to those chords reduces options quite further, leaving little to “create” for drummers and bassists. Since a guitar is a polyphonic and percussive instrument, putting a guitar riff to a melody constitutes the intellectual act of composing or “writing”. If the melody contains lyrics, then there is little room for intellectual property to be added. As to your argument of removing the bass line or drums from a song – a song can easily be played with only vocals and, say, a guitar or piano. Often, a song can be adequately represented a capella. I ask you, what would any song be, if only the drums were played?

      • Kehinde Azeez

        If that’s the way you look at it then write ALL the parts to the song and say to anyone who wants to cover it, assign me the copyright of your arrangement or you cannot cover the song with a different arrangement. It’s not hard to write all the bass, piano, drums, riffs etc. This is what a major songwriter (he’s in a 3 piece band too) made me do to do a dance version of his mega hit. Bearing in mind I needed to cover more than he needed me to cover it, I agreed.

  • Great article….much appreciated!

  • The way that the songwriting copywright is written is outdated and unfair to those who create as a band. It is ok if songwriter writes the lyrics, melody, percussion, bass, and all other parts of every song then hires people to play the parts that he/she wrote. For many bands, songwriting is a colaboration of writers that specialize in writing parts for songs for their instrument. In the case of my band, Our singer does not write vocal parts until the rest of the band creates a song for him to sing along to. Most of the time my Band looks to my pecussive rhythms and dynamics for inpiration for their parts. Why does copywright law not recognize percussion as a written part of a song? It sure does not magicaly appear in songs. It makes me want to quit playing all together.

    • Anna Nascimento

      awww we are all important and better together

  • Andrew Thompson

    Phil, under Australian law, a song is defined as the melody and the lyrics. The arrangement – the bass part, the drum part etc – is not part of the writing, but part of the performance. This is a very clear definition which prevents many misunderstandings. I agree with George’s analysis and proposal, but I also think that assigning copyright to band members who aren’t entitled to it will also end in tears – with the departure of the songwriter.

  • If you are the major writer of that which is the indentity of your band.You want to hold the reins tightly upon that which is your intellectual property.Most groups end up splitting up and many times with all of the drama of a horrible divorce.There is no such thing as a nice guy in a bad divorce.You want to remain in the drivers seat of all creative control of anyway that the song can be sucessfully exploited,even in a collaborative work there is a way to do that,yes the co-writers are due their share of the income from the song.But you are free of them in terms of How you may decide to exploit it and set up any deals. with outsides parties without being reined in or sued by

  • Rob

    in response to posts by people in “bands” who all write together: melody / lyrics – that’s the song. You can take any song on the radio, and change the percussion or drums or bass line – and it’s still that same song. Change the lyrics/melody… you’ve changed the song. Just like the article stated, it’s other components are part of the song’s performance.
    That’s a tough pill to swallow for a lot of drummers and bassists I’m sure, but it’s neither outdated nor unfair… it makes perfect sense and that’s the law.

  • Hi i have a start up label here in Dallas,Tx., how much does it cost to get a band.

  • I realize my last post sounded pretty heartless yet this is a business you see.And certainly not one famous for it’s high level of ethics.Ideally you want to play with a great band of gypsies and share equally the responsibility and wealth,and rare as it is there are some groups doing that.I would love to be in a band like that!With a great and loyal crew as well.The thing I think that made me finally get really hard was a dear friend of mine who was a songwriter in LA who had a chrous lifted direct from a tune he wrote which made for a very sucessful song and he got paid nada.He sat down in an abandoned building with an eight ball of coke,a bottle of Jim Beam and a 38 special,he pawned his guitar to get all three and this wonderful artist and human being blew his brains out.I miss him so!

    • Anna Nascimento


  • liz

    I stand corrected here; to my knowledge, in many countries (still to be brought into the USA) is a law providing for “needletime” for the musicians. It is a performance royalty and is meant to give some payment to the musicians in the band who did not write the actual melody or lyrics, but still contributed to the production of the song as a whole. This also benefits session musicians who get paid a fixed rate upfront rate and nothing when the song becomes a hit. Every time the songwriter gets a performance royalty from airplay on radio etc; a royalty is also paid out for the musicians featuring on the recording- ie. needletime. This is still to be implemented worldwide. I believe this is currently working in Europe, and is in the process of being implemented in South Africa. This is a great way of making sure each member of the band gets a share in some money derived from airplay etc; while each respective person maintains their respective rights. Hence no bad feelings towards the songwriter.
    I’m also interested in people’s thoughts regarding a solo artist who writes the songs, hires session musicians to perform on the record and then puts a band together to play live.. the same resentments form.. but the bandmembers did not contribute to the initial recording/writing/expenses etc… what split would be deemed fair?

  • Wofa B

    Now here’s a question. Is a musician who hires a band after her music is released supposed to shared evenly fees paid from gigs with the band? when she pays for everything else, rehearsal space, band management, promotion, etc.

  • For those who actually believe that songs are made up of lyrics and melody only, Take what you consider your songs and remove the drums, bass, and any other music you did not personally write and create. Than ask your self which version people are more likely to listen to. I believe that the answer will greatly vary based on the style of music you are playing. If people want to hear only the lyrics and melody, then release it to the public as such.
    If a “songwriter” wants to add some drum music for a song to release to the public and is not capable of writing or performing that drum music, he/she would have to find some one to write the drum music and someone to perform the drum music. That “songwriter” should share writing credit based on the contribution to the song. Otherwise release the song without the drums. You can substitute any instrument for this example.
    I am coming to the conclusion that each musician should file a separate copyright for their part of every song. That way the vocalist does not feel that others are claiming credit and rights for their work due to poorly written laws.

    • esolesek

      I figured out a system of splitting all the elements of each song into slices. Say four instruments and one vocal. Each one is performed and written, so that’s two splits there. So say 10% for each section. Problem is that you also have to put in a production slice, because that matters as well. So I give a drummer a split for performing and writing the drums. I’m not paying a bass player, since I can write the damn bass line being a guitarist and vocalist and writer.

      As far as I see it, with the production slice added in, taking at least a fifth, a drummer writing their own part is going to max out at 15% if not a bit less. I’m not going to write the guitar, and vocals and lyrics, and split that down the middle with a drummer. Its ridiculous. I’ve known a drummer like this. All he does is show up and play. He’s good but he’s really unreliable, so I just use him to brainstorm jams. Unfortunately, then when I finish songs, he keeps reminding me of his part ownership. I’ve tried to accomodate him, but first off, its irrelevant, since no money is coming in, but he just can’t get off the topic. I know another more professional drummer, and he also claims some writing credits, but I’m not sure what his standard is. Of course, if I’m paying him for hire, he’s basically toast at that point.

      It’s a tough world, but if you want to make money, start writing songs. People don’t realize how much seasoning it takes to do it well. Then again, some people stumble into it really easily when young, and it’s interesting how very self-contained great writers often lose their ability to write when out of their first successful band. It’s also illustrative how many great bands split the writing between two writers, often one guitarist and one vocalist lyricist. Guys that do it all aren’t rare per se, but they are a different situation for sure, and obviously, a lot clearer legally. You don’t question Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello who’s writing the songs.

      But every story is different. It’s not worth the hassle to offer a piece in writing. Too much liability. You just gotta
      be generous about it if it comes to that, or you may face a lawyer if you pay nothing.

  • dancingboyX

    A song is the lyric and melody. Songwriter should hold on to these at all cost. All members of the band should be compensated and I think the agreement outlined here is perfect for that. You stop working at a job and you don’t continue to collect a paycheck. I was personally responsible for two publishing contracts and every song we had placed with a former writing partner. We had demo singers come in and sing, but the demo singers were not entitled to receive writers credit nor the keyboardist on the track because they did not create the “song”. Any writer giving up there intellectual property should really think twice. I know I won’t.

  • The song YESTERDAY had 1800 different covers of it, each band or singer that sang the song owns the master rights to their arrangement but they can’t license it for any situation without the songwriter’s approval. Very few songs become hits based on the first demo. You pay the musicians to come up with arrangements so that you don’t have to split up the copyright. Copyright is only for melodic interval and lyrics. There are a million people who can play instruments, very few can write a hit song.

  • Thia is a great article folks. I just had an issue with my x bass player from years ago. He emailed me asking why i was playing his song. I reminded him years back when we had a record deal all the songs we recorded are copywritten as agreed with all of us as owners of all the songs regardless who wrote them..since we ALL wrote songs together for the band and wrote some songs separately…he owns songs I wrote on my own as well as I own songs he wrote…and the obvious when we wrote together. This is just the agreement we made back than. You have to give credit and share any $ and make sure you do it cause if you don’t it could turn into a lawsuit and bite ya in more than it’s worth…peace fellow songwriters and musicians…My favorite saying: “Good Luck with That”

  • Kyle

    I read above someone griping about the non-songwriting musicians in the band being as essential components to the music and therefore needing adequate compensation. Seriously, get real. If you take away everything but the lyrics and melody, you’ve still got the essential components to do a recognizable arrangement of the original composition. The additional musicians don’t mean squat, and splitting royalty income with them is doing them a favor. If you want to further argue that they deserve it for their work, keep in mind that a real composer would write all the parts himself anyways, and for the clarity of all legal purposes, that role of composer falls on the person who writes the truly essential, recognizable portion of any song: the melody and lyrics (if applicable).

    • Kehinde Azeez

      Does not apply today. Answer this. In a techno song or EDM song (instrumental) who gets the publishing. According to your narrow definition no one. Go and look at any EDM tune or Deep House record with no vocals and tell me if you can find one with zero publishing.

  • Jamie

    It isn’t outdated at all actually. Your opinion is the only thing that’s outdated. What you mentioned is the arrangement – totally different thing to an actual song, which can recorded many different ways. Basically what you’re saying is that if I write a song and do none of the arrangement, but someone else does it and it flops – then years later another person comes along does a totally different arrangement and the song becomes a million seller, then the person who wrote the original arrangement of the RECORD gets the majority of MY income. That’s the most stupid thing I ever heard! You will get nowhere if you expect a songwriter to give up their royalties. I will never give up any of my royalties to someone who does that. What I will do is give them a production/ arrangement credit, which I will not get and they can have a higher percentage of the record royalties. That’s fair, but not writing away half of the song. And if you’re hoping for an amendment in the law, you’re going to be dissapointed. Hence the reason it is as it is and has not been updated to suit opportunists. In answer to your question about percussion. I repeat: it is part of the ARRANGEMENT of the RECORD Not the song. Clear enough? And one last thing: if you’re that bitter about it maybe you should quit music. It seems that the money is all you’re interested in. Maybe you should become an accountant instead?

  • Cryptic

    Thanks for this awesome post (like everything else on this blog!). I just have one question: what do you define as melody? Is melody just the vocal melody or is it also the guitar part? I’m assuming it’s the vocal melody because although it follows a certain chord pattern and key the vocal melody is entirely different.

  • great article. a pretty basic thing that people never do. ‘we’re friends so everything is fine’ only goes so far. thumbs up

  • funkytime26

    Unless the band puts on the album…”all songs written and composed by BAND” even if thats not entirely true. Its up to the band to make the decision of putting individual names behind each song or not. Because if you write a song and when you show it to the band and your drummer lays down something that inspires you to play something slightly different, that to me is a collaborative writing scenario. But thats up to the band to decide.

  • funkytime26

    Unless the band puts on the album…”all songs written and composed by BAND” even if thats not entirely true. Its up to the band to make the decision of putting individual names behind each song or not. Because if you write a song and when you show it to the band and your drummer lays down something that inspires you to play something slightly different, that to me is a collaborative writing scenario. But thats up to the band to decide.

  • chante

    If the song is copyrighted to 2 song writers and the band breaks up, can band members still use the recordings or videos associated with the song?

  • JohnNA

    Good Evening,
    I have a few questions…
    I have some songs writen – by that I mean voice melody, lyrics and chords, often bass and segments of drums too. And would like to play those songs in a band. My idea would be let my drummer and bassist play along and so I wouldn’t write tabs. I want to let them be spontaneous and have a band vibe. The thing is I don’t want to share the copyright with the other band members since I was the one who made the songs. Would the band be like an interperter of my songs? Should I make tabs for both the drummer and the bassist in order to have full copyright? What should I do?

    Also: I was in a band and all of us wrote some songs together, meaning everyone helped making the songs. If I’d left the band does that means I’d lose my copyright of said songs? Or I’d always be labelled as a co-author?

    Best Regards,

  • JB JB

    Hi there, I have a few questions. I wrote a few songs, and came up with all of their respective melodies and lyrics (verses, chorus’s, bridges, etc.). I now want to hire 1-2 musicians to help put the chords together for these songs that I fully wrote and generated full melodies for. The musicians I’ve been speaking with want to draft an agreement that entitles them to rights due to the chords (notes to my melodies) they will put together for my melodies. They are looking for royalty “rights” for the chords they put together even though I am paying them for this service. Is this fair? I really am concerned that this is unfair, because I would be paying them for their services, and in my view this is where it should end (in terms of them receiving any additional royalties for my songs). This blog really helped me understand that I am the royalty owner for the songs that I fully wrote and generated melodies for. I am wrestling with this decision, because I want to start putting chords together for my songs but now I am running into the issue of musicians not understanding that they are not owed royalties. Am I thinking about this fairly? Thanks in advance for your response.

    • octaveUp

      a melody without chords is nothing- chords are half the writing, the melody is the other.. so, i think what your proposing is very unfair yes.. either learn to write music (which is a LOT harder than just inventing a melody and putting lyrics to it- which anyone can do) and then you will own all the copyright for your songs and you wont need to hire people to write the actual music for you.
      lyrics and melodies are very important, dont get me wrong, but how can you even write a melody without the chords behind it that set the mood, and create the ebb and flow of tension in music ? a melody floating along by itself can be beautiful, stirring or haunting, but its not a song.
      sorry if this answer is condescending, it just reminds me of a past friend, who wrote lots of ‘songs’ but that in reality were just shattered snippets of melodic ideas with lyrics that followed no set key and had no real musicality to them, it was a little sad in a way because he thought he was a great songwriter, but in reality he had no real understanding of how to write music and couldn’t even play an instrument.

      • esolesek

        I disagree. Chords are an arrangement. If someone comes up with the melody – that’s the notes. The other part is the lyrics. Chords matter, of course, and if the writer can’t come up with simple chords, they probably better work on their musicianship. However, if they actually are writing the song’s entire melody along with the words, even if they are doing it in their heads, that’s an entire song right there.

    • esolesek

      Chords are an arrangement. If someone comes up with the melody – that’s the notes. The other part is the lyrics. Chords matter, of course, and if the writer can’t come up with simple chords, they probably better work on their musicianship. However, if they actually are writing the song’s entire melody along with the words, even if they are doing it in their heads, that’s an entire song right there.

  • Smash

    Question for you, if two people are co-writing a song, but after recording a demo the person that wrote the music decides to hire a new lyricist, is the original lyricist entitled to any of the profit made off of the newly recorded song with the new lyricist?

  • esolesek

    I’ve had some really interesting (and also stupid) discussions with drummers on this topic (one drummer really thought his drumming was equal to me writing guitar riffs AND vocal lyrics – sorry champ), and its been irrelevant, since my songs haven’t made anything substantial via copyright. However, I have to admit that drummers bring something to the table in terms of arrangement and feel, if not official songwriting, but sometimes their contributions are parallel in my mind, to me arranging multiple guitar tracks or keys, and then if I’m doing the vocals as well, that’s a whole nother ball game which is entirely mine, unless they actually start writing words and vocal melodies. They also don’t write the riffs. However, the best drummers you don’t tell what to do. They bring something to the process. I feel less that way about bass players, which REALLY puts them on the outs, unless you’re McCartney or JPJ in Zeppelin (who also played keys).

    I’ve thought about a percentage breakdown of copyright, but I can see how that admission would make the entire process a nightmare in the future, so unfortunately, drummers are in the position of having to take what I, a songwriter chooses, to give them out of royalties. Unfortunately, if you make that official in a document, you are then opening yourself to future hassles.

    Question, what if your drummer is Bonham, or Moon, or Mitch Mitchell, (can’t think of many recent ones, though there must be). What if they are SO signature that their contribution clearly goes beyond just playing to a score. Speaking of Zeppelin and the Who, I wonder how they handled it all. I wonder if Moon’s relatives are getting any piece of Who royalties?

    Anyway, any self-respecting songwriter these days can manipulate some of the incredible drum software out there, and get some pretty great results, although its too time-consuming (and boring) compared to a band. You also need the support of a reliable band when touring, and fans choose loyalties to non-writers, like Michael Anthony in Van Halen, although he did some writing? Also, in that band, all four members were also doing backup vocals.

    Anyway, going into copyright law is probably a brilliant choice of career. You’ll never run out of work!

  • esolesek

    If drummers and bassists want to make more money, they should start writing ENTIRE songs. It’s really that simple.

    • Anna Nascimento


      • Chris McCoy

        Yea whatever, your written song wouldnt be much without those drums added to it, and since no two drummers play the same way, that drummer would play it different from the other drummer and etc etc etc. maybe you should start writing your drum tracks too?