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A Practical View To Co-writing & Collaboration

by Byron Hill

Having been a professional songwriter in Nashville for 21 years, I can tell you that in two person co-writing situations the best rule to follow is this: Never write for more or less than 50%.

Once you resign an idea to a co-writing situation, you should not count words or start measuring the percentage of each others work. If you feel you've done more work on this one, but like the song, book another meeting with the same person and it may turn out the other way around on the second song.

After a few writing sessions if the other person is not carrying the weight or making a significant enough contribution for you, move on to other co-writers.

Getting too analytical about percentages early on in a co-writing relationship will usually kill the desire to get back together.

The pros develop an understanding that one song will lead to another with co-writers, and over the long-term the contribution of each co-writer will measure out quite equal if it's working.

Regarding the agreement, writers who are unpublished or unsigned might want to just sign and date each other's handwritten lyric sheets. That should suffice.

Here again, anything too formal can kill the fun and desire to continue working together.

Good luck!

Byron Hill

Brian Hill is a successful Nashville songwriter whose songs have been covered by top country
recording artists, including Trace Adkins, John Michael Montgomery and Toby Keith.
Brian's website

( The above article is presented as practical information, not legal advice. )

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