We Create Music Blog

Digital Music Should Include Songwriter/Composer Credits

It happens to me all the time: I'll be listening to a song, and there's some perfect guitar lick or creative turn-of-phrase that gets me wondering: "who did  that?" If it's an album in my collection, it's as easy as scanning the liner notes. I've discovered some of my favorite session musicians and producers that way (reading liner notes is also how I first heard of ASCAP). With digital music, it's not so easy. There's no current industry standard as to what and who should be included in the metadata for audio files, and most streaming services only tell you the artist, song title and album name.

That's why all of us at ASCAP are big fans of the Give Fans the Credit initiative. Launched last year by The Recording Academy, the initiative is aimed at "enhancing music fans' discovery of new music by ensuring all music creators are credited for their work on digitally released recordings." The Academy and its Give Fans the Credit ambassadors (including the ASCAP members pictured at right) are working directly with digital music services to come up with ways of delivering more info on their platforms. They're also courting music consumers to speak up and express how important this is to them. You can sign their petition at www.givefansthecredit.com.

The lack of complete metadata on digital tracks is a problem for a couple reasons. Most importantly, the songwriters, composers, arranger, engineers, producers and musicians that contribute to recorded music deserve to be credited, and often rely on it. Being known for your past work is an important step in getting more work.

On the consumer side, listeners can lose out on the joy of fully pursuing a new discovery if they don't have enough information. For example, an Adele fan might want to dive into the back catalogs of ASCAP members Paul Epworth, Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder, Greg Wells or Dan Wilson after hearing their incredible work on her 21 album. But without the information easily available to them, those connections are denied to listeners.

Professional songwriters, producers and composers work behind the scenes of our favorite music every day. It's a sad truth that their work is undervalued in the digital music landscape, a problem that ASCAP has addressed with Washington lawmakers on many occasions. Here's hoping that this Give Fans the Credit campaign helps to remedy that situation. Sign the petition today.

Sheila E

Sheila E

Jimmy Jam

Jimmy Jam

Ryan Tedder

Ryan Tedder

Don Was

Don Was