S.P.A. Ajibade & Co. wins award for Mondaq Contributor Most Read in Nigeria

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Understanding Split Sheets and Collaboration Agreements in the Music Business – Francis Ololuo

Collaborations are an integral part of making music. Rarely would one find a successful song wholly composed, performed, and produced by the same person (except one is a Jon Bellion or Ed Sheeran). Generally, there are three contributors entitled to control the copyright in a song: the writer, performer, and the producer. Usually, the songwriter(s), performer(s) and producer(s) are different people. Consequently, collaborations may be deemed the livewire of music. The music business has become highly profitable with each collaborator in a song lawfully entitled to royalties. As a result, it is unsurprising to find various collaborators’ conflicts and legal battles as to credits, rights, obligations, ownership percentages, distribution of royalties and the mode of exploitation of the copyrighted works stemming from such collaborations. An illustration is the longstanding dispute between Blackface and 2face concerning the songwriter credit in the globally acclaimed song, African Queen.[2] Blackface claims to have co-written the song which was performed by 2face but was not credited nor paid royalties in respect of the song.