Skip to main content
forums, blogs, song critique, support & more...

Legal difference between Music and Lyrics??

When one person supplies the music (chords, beat, arrangement, instrumentation) and another person writes the lyrics and composes the vocal melody, who is considered the "writer" of the song?

Generally speaking, is the writer of the lyrics and vocal melody entitled to a greater share in performance royalties than the person who composed the music bed?

Do both the music composer and the lyric writer each file their own copyright with the library of congress, or is there a joint copyright to be filed?

I have read Passman's book, and lots of others, so I'm not looking for a book referral. I'm curious about how this type of deal is COMMONLY done in TODAY'S rock and hip-hop music industry.

Thanks in advance...

Tags

Comments

Member for
51 years 5 months

Paula Fri, 01/04/2008 - 00:08

CasBK wrote: When one person supplies the music (chords, beat, arrangement, instrumentation) and another person writes the lyrics and composes the vocal melody, who is considered the "writer" of the song?

Generally speaking, is the writer of the lyrics and vocal melody entitled to a greater share in performance royalties than the person who composed the music bed?

Do both the music composer and the lyric writer each file their own copyright with the library of congress, or is there a joint copyright to be filed?

...

These are great questions! I would love to know the answers also!

Profile picture for user MadTiger3000
Member for
16 years 7 months

MadTiger3000 Tue, 09/18/2007 - 15:15

Technically, the actual "song" is the lyrics and vocal melody, and ALL the other things are the arrangement.

(People use the term "arrangement" incorrectly oftentimes in that they are just talking about the order of the verses, choruses, bridges, etc.)

Member for
51 years 5 months

Anthony_Gore Wed, 09/19/2007 - 18:41

The music is just the melody (usually vocal melody) plus any significant instrumental hooks (e.g. a riff). The chords, arrangement, instrumentation etc are not considered part of the song.

Neither the writer of the music or the writer of the lyrics is necessarily entitled to more than the other. It depends entirely on the agreement they made when writing the song. Most commonly its a 50/50 split.

x