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Who Wrote Your Favorite Song? It’s Complicated (wsj.com)
21 points by jkuria 42 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

For the Pink Floyd fans, my favorite story about songwriting credits concerns the album “Animals”. There are 5 tracks, the three longer compositions in the middle and a very short song split into two “bookends” (so it counts as two songs). Roger Waters is credited as a songwriter on all 5 songs, with David Gilmour contributing to one.

Now the way the accounting worked, every songwriting credit counted as one “share” of the royalties. Without this short song, Waters would have gotten 3/4 of the songwriting royalties. By including it and splitting it in half, he got 5/6. Was it a purely artistic choice? We will never know, but as the story goes the resentment between the two eventually snowballed and the band broke up.

Could be worse. On the song “Money,” Waters alternates between 7/8 and 4/4. That’s probably where he got the idea.

I love this comment!

> Every recorded song has two copyrights—one for the songwriting (the melody and lyrics) and another for the sound recording itself (the “master” recording). Songwriters and publishers, who are separate from record labels, own the songwriting copyright, earning royalties on sales, streams, performances (radio, live) and the song’s use in television, films and videogames. Labels historically have owned the sound-recording copyright, in exchange for taking the financial risk to develop performers.

The software analogy would be source code = melody and lyrics and compiled/deployed software = sound recording, but the analogy doesn’t hold in that it’s easier to replicate compiled/deployed software from its source code.

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