Rock bands are often volatile associations. While there may often be conflicts about the creative orientation of the band, conflicts are too often about jealousies regarding free riders or members who attract too much attention. Fundamentally, these are issues about contracting who does what and who gets what. In particular, when a band member is doing more creative work, should he also be getting a larger share of income (to reward creativity) or the same as the others (to avoid some jealousies)?
This is the question that Cédric Ceulemans, Victor Ginsburgh and Patrick Legros ask. The trade-off is clear: you want to attract more creative band members for its success, and you want to give them credit for this by giving them a larger share of the pie. So you may want to associate one creative musician with less creative ones (in a complete contract) or only creative ones (in a incomplete, uniformly sharing contract) depending on what it means for the probability of achieving a hit, and the type of contract will determine who wants to form a band and whether the band will outsource song writing (and how much effort each member puts into it). The theoretical analysis shows that under a complete contract, the more disperse the credits are, the more successful the band is (reflecting very much the winner-takes-all features of show business?). The relationship is negative for incomplete contracts, which is apparently true in the data. This means that bands are driven to write incomplete contracts.