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lyrics separately of a song

Posted By: Alek

lyrics separately of a song - 08/19/11 07:42 PM

Hi all, one question appeared and I should answer to it, but I have a doubts what to do: I was proposed to use my lyrics from a song separately of a melody -
ie I have a song with a melody and a lyrics of mine, so, is it legal if I allow any person to use a lyrics only?
And next: if I allowed this and then somebody wants to use complete song - both music and lyrics, so, is it legal when the same lyrics is used in different songs(melodies) in a same time?
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: lyrics separately of a song - 08/20/11 12:30 AM

Alek,

Once music is affixed to a lyric, that is one song. While I am sure you could probably take it and do it with other music, you are only going to create legal and ethical problems for yourself.

People have done this with great problems by selling "tracks", existing backing music with no lyrics, and that has created several ethical and legal questions for songwriters.

My view is that it is far too easy to write more lyrics and why would you want to use one lyric on several melodies. To me, it simply doesn't make any sense and actually is lazy songwriting. The idea is to be continually creative. If you can't create more than one lyric, that is not very creative. Why ever try to write another song? Just recycle the same lyric over and over.

As far as music and lyrics done separately, it is done all the time. Actually the way Elton John And Bernie Taupin and almost every writer up until the 60's were done. There was almost always a composer who did the music and lyricists that did the lyrics. In plays and operas, there were often a librettist also.

There are so many songs out there I can't imagine why anyone would just want to do the same melody or lyric over and over again on purpose. We all recycle both of them but to sit down and actually MEAN to do it, doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Imagine if you actually got a song recorded for a television or motion picture or even a cut. And before that song is released, you suddenly get a "cease and desist" order from someone who you had written the same thing with on another song. Not only would it totally screw up your chances of having it used in anything, costing the film or television people troubles that could potentially mean thousands of dollars in schedule overruns, but also would succeed in destroying any chance you would have of ever having a career. No one likes dealing with legal issues, lawyers and confrontation.

Doing what you are talking about invites all of those.

MAB
Posted By: Alek

Re: lyrics separately of a song - 08/21/11 12:27 AM

Marc, thanks for your input, and, as always you're to the point, but my question is more complex: I have TWO lyrics for the same song! One is of mine and another is by another person, but heck, that singer chooses my lyrics (as said without music)! I feel that song has a potential (another singer recorded it but I declined her variant) and, honestly, I see now: at least two aspiring artists want to use my song whether whole or lyrics only.
Well, I decided - or the whole song or nothing.
PS. Later, maybe, I place both lyrics at lyrics forum for comparison plus a link to a beat of a song.
Posted By: Marc Barnette

Re: lyrics separately of a song - 08/22/11 05:35 PM

Alek,

I really can't tell you what to do on your song because personally I would never get to that point. If it is single lines, or particular parts of a song that are multiples, I would find the best and boil it down to one. If I had two completely different lyrics, it would be two different songs. Period.

I believe that some of the biggest problems songwriters get into are self inflicted. They are confusing on what they are writing, songs really not making sense to the outside world, which I refer to as "Songwriter Tunnelvision." It is some personal statement that really only appeals to them, usually about a lot of pain or heartache and most people simply don't care about that. They have enough heartache in their own lives and the last thing they want is to listen to music to hear about heartache. Music is most often an "escape" from reality. Not a reminder of reality.

When it gets to things like you are talking about here, I hear people talking about "retitleing" or going to the copyright office, and wanting to make changes. Are they KIDDING? There are about 3 million song applications, 4-10 million patent applications, 1 BILLION songs a month on the Internet alone. And people are talking about creating confusion within one song? It simply doesn't make any sense to me.

Profssional songwriters write a LOT of songs. It is what they do as a job, so they spend their time raising their overall level, practicing, marketing themselves for audiences and the industry. They know that there is no time with the public to weigh through some multiple versions of songs, and with publishers, labels, pluggers artists, etc. they have NO INTEREST WHATSOVER in things that have confusion in them. They only have one word for those type songs, "NEXT."

You are talking about people that listen to an intro, a tempo or two lines of a song, then fast forward to the next, not people that are going to sit there and weigh through the various intellectual dynamics of some songwriter's vision. People simply don't have time to do that.

In my opinion you should write two separate songs, get them down and move on to other songs. If you have people interested in one of them, go with that. If there is confusion, you need to make a decision because no one else will do it for you.

This is pretty much a "here, it's done" world now. There is quite simply too much out there to bring along questions on it.

The only other thing I would suggest you do would be this. Get three people whose opinion you trust. People who you know their music, who like you. Send them both a personal email and ask if they will help you. Then send them the duplicate songs and what you have. If two people say the same thing, go with that.

Other than that, I really can't help you.

MAB
Posted By: Pat Hardy

Re: lyrics separately of a song - 12/13/12 09:51 AM

I believe you can do anything you want if all parties concerned agree, in writing. But, why would you do this?

I have agreement with a lyricist, if we don't have a song become
a success on some level, say, in two years, we dissolve the copyright and she is free to shop her lyric to another melody,
as I am free to shop my melody to another lyric, but, in my contract, I don't allow her ( the lyricist ) to shop her lyric
during the agreement term ( works both ways ). That's how I do it.

Caveat: " IANAL ".

Pat Hardy Lockwood

Posted By: Bernd Harmsen

Re: lyrics separately of a song - 12/14/12 04:09 PM

> If I had two completely different lyrics, it would be two different songs. <

And vice versa.

I publish my lyrics with a license that allows everybody to set them to music and publish non-commercially. Or in other words: I don't write for anybody exclusively. I do this to impove my chances to 'pitch' lyrics/songs. The effect is that as of today up to four different songs exist with the same lyrics (that sometimes had to be slightly adapted). Meanwhile, a few are also registered with the PROs because they are being performed (the PROs cooperate internationally). No harm in this: different composers, different tunes = different songs.

I you have a contract with your partner - lyricist and/or composer - just look into the contract.
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