View Poll Results: What am i?

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  • Lyricist

    0 0%
  • Songwriter

    4 33.33%
  • Both

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Thread: Lyricist or songwriter?

  1. #1
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    Arrow Lyricist or songwriter?

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    Hi, I'm in a band where one guy creates the guitar/bass melody and also plays and record them. That makes him a songwriter.

    The other guy (me) write lyrics to these songs, which makes me a lyricist. But I also create the vocal melody for the lyrics.

    Am I only a lyricist, or would I be considered a songwriter as well?

    And could we say the song was composed by both of us, or only by the guitar player?
    Last edited by Big Thier; 02-20-2018 at 21:20.

  2. #2
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    A song is words set to music (Cambridge English Dictionary says : "a usually short piece of music with words that are sung") ie it MUST have both. So the guy who creates the guitar bass melody is a COMPOSER and the people who write the lyrics are lyricists.

    If any of those do both on the tracks they are songwriters.
    Most Copyrights recognise composers and lyricists and never mention songwriters.

    Since songwriter is a loose non-legal term, you are co-writers or co-songwriters. But the bass guy is a composer of music unless he contributes lyrics and you are a lyricist unless you supply music.

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  4. #3
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    So, on paper, there is no difference between someone who writes the lyrics only, and someone who writes the lyrics + the vocal melody?

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    Bernie Taupin was a lyricist. Elton John was the composer. Together, as the songs were John/Taupin (or was it Dwight/Taupin?) then they were both songwriters.

    I would expect a singer who wrote lyrics to also largely supply the vocal melody - you don't mention if you're the singer. I doubt Bernie Taupin did much with the vocal melody. He was a songwriter because he's recorded as the author, along with Elton John, of a number of songs.

    So you're both songwriters from where I'm standing, as you've collaborated to come up with something which is identifiably a song.

    Bigger question is "Why the hell does it matter?" It seems a strange question to be asking...

    Frankly, stringing the same 3 or 4 chords together, as most do, doesn't necessarily make one a "composer" either - perhaps literally, but not really.

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    IANaLb... I believe that US copyright law splits songwriting in half by lyrics and chords, with vocal melody not specifically assigned to either.

    So a standard division of songwriting would say that if he arranged the chords, and you wrote the lyrics and melody, you would both be 50% songwriters. Alternatively, if he arranged the chords and gave you a vocal melody which you set lyrics to, you'd still both be 50% songwriters.

    Regardless, it's up to you guys to reach an agreement about who wrote how much of the song, and it gets codified when you submit it to your PRO.

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    I would say you are co-writers. You had better sort this out between you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robus View Post
    I would say you are co-writers. You had better sort this out between you.
    /\ This .... Songs come in many different ways...The Elton / Bernie thing.... the lyrics came first and Elton put them to music...In your case you are actually contributing to the music via the melody line a melody line is music not lyrics....you are a co-writer of the song.. Now what percentage is for you and your band mate to decide....Lennon and McCartney just split it down the middle though many times one or the other did more of the heavy lifting.

    It only really matters if one of the songs actually starts generating $$$ then it gets real and serious....so as Robus says you need to agree upfront on what the split is on songwriting credit. I'd push for the 50/50 and not settle for less than 25%...If he / she has a problem with that you have a problem that you need to make a decision on...accept it and know you aren't going to make squat on royalties or stop working /writing together...Varies from band to band... I know via a bud that Johnny Vatos the drummer from Oingo Boingo contributed musically to a lot of tunes in the early days but doesn't get a penny of the royalties as a songwriter...

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    Yoko, got credit as co-writer on Imagine. So does that entitle her to 48 years of back-royalties?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manslick View Post
    Yoko, got credit as co-writer on Imagine. So does that entitle her to 48 years of back-royalties?
    Dude as the heir to Johns estate she got the whole enchilada! Damn can you say Lottery winner....

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  14. #10
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    you're definitely a songwriter too

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