I have had one instance where a co-writer called and asked if I minded if he took the title and wrote it with someone else. I didn’t think we nailed the song, so I gave him the blessing from my side, and he agreed not to use any of my lines, so I told him I was fine with that and that I appreciated his approach. If I had not agreed, he wouldn’t have done it. You don’t want to be known as “that guy” who takes his or her idea to ten different people until they get a version, they like the best. That’s just a nasty and unprofessional thing to do. Plus, if that’s the best idea you are ever going to come up with, you are in deep trouble anyway!
Another one of my mentees once asked, “How much of a co-written song can I tweak without permission from the other writer(s)?” This question was pretty easy to answer. The answer would be zero. You shouldn’t change anything in a co-written song unless you contact all of the other writers to get their approval. That’s just a respect thing. Again, it’s not written anywhere – as far as I know – but it's just simply common sense. How would you like your name going out as a co-writer on a song that you thought was horrible? Your changes might strike your co-writer as really bad or even objectionable. You need to get everyone on board before you change any lyrics, melody, production – let’s just say anything. At all. Never forget that, if you and I write a song, it’s our song – not yours.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with more than 18 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has produced more than 3,000 and written more than 4,800 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.