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…”