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Sony/ATV boss calls for songwriter credits in streaming


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We’re used to royalties being the main point of friction between songwriters and streaming services. However, Sony/ATV boss Martin Bandier has turned the focus onto another topic: credits.

As part of his speech accepting a lifetime service award at US publishing body NMPA’s annual meeting last night, Bandier called on streaming services to do more to highlight songwriters.

“When I look today at the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, I ask: where are the names of the songwriters? They are either not there or so hidden that you would have to be a special prosecutor, or perhaps The Washington Post – to find them,” said Bandier.

“It is as if the songwriters do not exist and the only people who matter are the recording artists. However, without the songwriters coming up with the words and music in the first place, there would be nothing for the artist to record and no music to stream.”

This argument winds back to the question of royalties, though. Bandier suggested that this lack of visibility for songwriters in the streaming world ties in to their share of the revenues being made.

“The fruits of our labour are not being equitably rewarded and we are not benefitting from the streaming revolution as meaningfully as we should,” said Bandier.

“Far too often the songwriter’s contribution is overlooked or even forgotten. I have no doubt that this lack of public recognition has played a major part in why songwriters are not treated on an equal basis as the recording artist.”

Bandier did praise streaming services, noting that the global growth to more than 100 million paying subscribers has ensured that “for us at Sony/ATV the growth in streaming is now outpacing the decline in physical and digital downloads”.

He also had warm words for Spotify’s recently-announced ‘songwriter ambassador program’. “This is a small step but a welcome one as it starts to recognise the value of the songwriters. But there is still a long way to go before the songwriters are given anything like the same status and recognition as artists. Credit for a songwriter is like them handing you their business card…”

Now read: Sony/ATV boss: ‘YouTube should have paid us $5bn…’

Stuart Dredge

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4 responses
  • Mr. bandier is talking about two different things: credits and fair remuneration.

    The first one is not difficult to accomplish (although major publishers should all start to provide quality data in a uniform way). I don’t see any reason why streaming services would be against crediting the composer(s) and (co)writers.

    The question here is if major publishers think this is worthwhile doing if it’s not resulting in more revenue.

    Receiving a fair remuneration is frankly a completely different topic. IMHO some publishers have not been paying enough attention to the changing industry. And streaming today is just the tip of the iceberg. Labels and publishers should work (together) on creating proof of concepts and minimum viable products for tomorrow’s “connected” market opportunities.

  • reid Hoffman says:

    Tidal offers additional information on producers, writers, mixers and engineers, it also includes art direction, sample clearance, creative director, photography, mixing assistant and A&R credits. Napster/Rhapsody do liner-note-style credits for every track in its catalog of 17 million songs: producers, engineers, session players, sidemen, backup singers, songwriters. For Martin to say this idea hasn’t been thought off or implemented in the streaming marketplace just shows how Spotify and Apple Music are the only streaming game in town – the rest are wasting their time and money. The problem seems to be that it isn’t a feature that would make for good UX. You’d end up with a streaming platform full of interlinked content and the discovery trend now has moved to playlists. Sure, there are people who would like to see this feature in Spotify/Apple Music, but it is out there and thats where Google comes in.

  • @reid With “…shows how Spotify and Apple Music are the only streaming game in town” you mean in the head of Martin Bandier / Sony ATV? Because I can think of many reasons why YT, Amazon Prime, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora but also Saavn and Gaana in the future can claim their space.

  • Rich unsigned says:

    the meta data is the problem. Think of all the time it would take to create a data base of who worked on who’s song etc etc. And how do you verify it? Can’t just have a Wiki style of artists and producers entering the data themselves it has to be verified.

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