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John Kaniecki

Poem To Lyric And Royalties

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Hope all are well.


I write poems for people on Facebook for new friends on their birthdays. It is my hope that they will purchase my books which happens once in about a week and a half.

Also on the upside is that I am motivated to write, I write on topics I would never have thought of and my collection is growing extremely voluminous. 


So today a woman replied with this. 



WOW - your powerful poem gave me tears of hope! No promises (maybe just a pipe dream), but as long as you are credited, do we have permission to put it to music, record, distribute for $ pls? (Lucky if we break even.) Which will require modifying the words, deleting some and adding others etc, to turn 'em into lyrics. (My son is discarding a couple of songs due to bad lyrics but w/ great music, and he's a better songwriter than me, so maybe I'll adapt these lyrics there.) PS I'm ordering your book.


Anyway I'm not prepared just to let her use my poem without a share of the royalties. But what would the proper percentage be? On one side of the chicken farm I don't want to get ripped off, on the other side of the chicken farm I don't want to lose an opportunity. I offered to work with the woman with my lyrics but as of yet I made no commitment to allow her to use my poem. 


So could anybody help?



John Kaniecki 

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Standard industry split is 50/50.


So, the lyric writer gets 50 percent and the music writer gets 50 percent of royalties, which are eared through broadcast - radio, tv web, etc.  It is highly unlikely that the song will earn any royalties.


Royalties in sales of recording are different and negotiable.  How do they plan to make money off this?  Physical CD's? Digital downloads?  They will have to pay for the costs of recording and distribtion before there are any profits to share.  So, it is unlikely you'll make any money there' either.


So... you get 50 percent writers credit, but probably nothing else.


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The woman wanted only to give me credit but in case it made money wanted to keep it all. I thought it fair that if she was going to change my poem into lyrics that I should get half of the credit for writing the lyrics or one quarter ownership of the song. To this she wouldn't agree and said she was too busy. But if I had given up everything she would have done it.


For the record here's the poem. 




John Kaniecki


Vision Of Compassion


By John Kaniecki


I object to the rule of might

Satanic soldiers sickly insane

I will do what is right

For Love and kindness is never vain

Raise your voice lift a clenched fist


Now is the final hour
With all your power


We are all family and kin
No matter your nation or the color of your skin

We have a cause just and true

You look after me, I’ll look after you

I will not kill in Wall Street’s war

Of that you can be sure

Together we must keep Mother Earth pure

Stop the poisoning administer the cure

GMO and nuclear energy they are a sin

Solar power and wind energy welcome in

Eliminate poverty so there is no more poor

Then parents with smaller families can be secure

Profit should not be a priority

Peace to all, Let it be

Corporatocracy is not the solution

I fully advocate

Love and never hate

Grass roots upheaval in revolution

Community hear our call

Acceptance of one and all

Extinction is what we face

The extermination of the human race

Now is the time

Apathy is a treasonous crime

Let us take action

Now that you understand the deal
Let’s make it real

This vision of compassion

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Fuck it. I say let them use it in return of your name being first on the songwriter lyric credit list. 


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John, I'm with onewholovesrock. It seems to me that the poem will need to be changed considerably in order to turn it into a singable lyric. The end result may not resemble the original much at all. And since - as Neal points out - there's little likelihood of royalties in the future, it would still be a feather in your cap to be listed as originator of the lyrical story/idea. Something along those lines. 

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