THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDING CREDITS
Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Lately I've been having this discussion with work colleagues and clients, and it's something that seems to be overlooked by many people.
In this post I want to explain a little bit about the importance of the credits in a music or audiovisual project.
Generally the beat-makers are characters within a music production that are left aside when publishing a song (or at least thats what I had to explain, that is very important to me that my work is acknowledged), I'm talking specifically about those artists and producers who are just starting their musical career and who have little knowledge about this and how beneficial it can be for all parties.
CHARACTERS WITHIN A MUSICAL PRODUCTION
First I want to mention those credits that Spotify publishes on its platform, these are:
The main functions of these characters are as follows:
These are musicians who perform parts of the song, here we can usually find the main artists who perform the song or act as the face of the product itself.
2. WRITERS (COMPOSERS)
Those who compose or write all or some parts of the song, here would go the lyricist, that is the person who writes the lyrics of the song, if there are any. It could also be considered a writer the person who was involved in a certain way in the melodic or rhythmic composition of the song, either by putting a chord, a melody or the rhythm of the percussion.
They are those who took on the role of music producer.
WHAT DOES A MUSIC PRODUCER ACTUALLY DO?
This is something that can be confusing among those who are just entering the music industry.
The music producer is the person who moves, removes and adds people within a musical project so that the final product is the best possible while respecting and following a specific artistic vision.
We can take for example a project in which the producer feels that the song needs a trumpet, so he has to look for a trumpet player that can fit well with the song, or that a backup singer is needed, or that an additional lyricist is needed, all this is the real work of a producer, we can see it as if he were the director of the project.
With this I want to clear up the confusion that many independent producers claim that the music producer is the one who sits behind the computer and hits the record button. Personally I don't think that's the case because many high budget productions have been produced due to several people helping the producer bring an idea to life. In a masterclass, Timbaland talks about how his co-producers are fundamental for his workflow.
HOW TO ADD CREDITS TO A SONG?
The easy way would be to add the whole team in the description of the music video on YouTube.
Most importantly, depending on the distributor it is possible to add various characters, from performers to arrangers, graphic designers and even musical influences. In my case I use Distrokid to distribute my songs and it leaves us a great variety of metadata that we can add to our songs, this function can be found in other distributors like Ditto and Routenote for example.
It is very important to add as many credits as possible, the more extensive the information, the better it will be for the platforms to sell the product, that means your song, which could increase the sales and streams generated.
For example, Philip Kaplan wrote on the Distrokid news portal:
Spotify just announced (here) that they’re going to show songwriter credits in the app. Apple Music shows lyrics (and DistroKid lets you add lyrics). Tidal shows artist's Facebook & Twitter links. Amazon Echo lets you find songs by saying “Alexa, play the song that goes ‘now I’m falling asleep and she’s taking a cab.’”
We have to take into account that legally, the protagonist of all this matter is the songwriter.
The original composers have the full right to demand royalties from a song.
I want to bring up a recent controversy involving singer Olivia Rodrigo and the band Paramore, although it was not really that controversial, it was mostly generated by fans who started to speculate about the original authorship of Oliva Rodrigo's song.
Oliva Rodrigo released her single "Good 4 You" which within days, fans began to notice that it had a very similar resemblance to Paramore's "Misery Business", the confusion came to an end when months later Olivia's team added the band's singer Hayley Williams and former guitarist Josh Farro to the song's credits on all platforms, but, this was not the only case of this type in which Rodrigo was involved, she was also accused of plagiarizing other artists and even plagiarizing an album cover. It should be noted that Williams and Farro's team had already contacted Olivia's team prior to the release of "Good 4 You" and had added the Paramore members to the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) list of authors, so both William and Farro were earning their respective royalties for their contribution to the composition of the song, so in the end, it was just a controversy that caused confusion among fans on both sides.
The most important thing is to register the credits at your local collecting society.
A credit within Spotify is simply an acknowledgement that will be easily available to the public eye, but the important thing is that you must be careful when acknowledging the authors of your song as you could face a lawsuit if they discover you plagiarizing a work.
Another infamous case is the one of artists Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke who after releasing their song "Blurred Lines" they lost a multi-million-dollar lawsuitmultimillion dollar fine for plagiarism towards Marvin Gaye, this reignited the debate about plagiarism in the music industry and the rules that must be respected to avoid falling into this type of situation.
The copyright was designed to encourage creativity.
It is very important that whenever you work on a project you always give credits to all the people involved because on one hand the public will know the amount of effort and work that was involved, on the other hand it is beneficial for the parties involved as they will not only be very grateful but they will also be more than happy and willing to work together on future projects,
We must not overlook the legal aspect of this whole matter, a wrongly placed credit or one that we forget to add could lead us to a lawsuit.
After all it is a simple recognition that has much value for the career of all the people working on the future hit that will disrupt the music industry.