We referred to it in our story about Pandora adding full credits for songs last week, but now US music body the Recording Academy has officially launched its ‘Behind the Record’ campaign. It’s an initiative encouraging artists to credit all of the collaborators on their music. “Credits have been a casualty of the digital age, for all that we gained with streaming we lost in the opportunity for recognition and even discovery,” as the Academy puts it.

For now, this is largely a social-media campaign, complete with a tool that helps artists generate their own ‘credit cover’ for a track or album, giving props to producers, songwriters, musicians, masterers, engineers, photographers and other collaborators – designed to be shared on Instagram, Twitter and other social networks. There’s not one, but three hashtags for the campaign: #GiveCredit, #WeAreMusic and #BehindTheRecord.

It’s a good thing, and there is a wider trend of streaming services adding features that surface the credits to recordings. Spotify added songwriting and production credits in its desktop app in February 2018, then to its mobile app that August. Pandora just added credits on its web and desktop apps, while Tidal did it in July. Meanwhile, Apple’s Siri can tell you (for example) who the drummer is on the song currently playing on your HomePod. There’ll be more of all this.

We shouldn’t forget the other end of this process though: how those credits are compiled in the first place, and supplied to the digital services. Startup Jaxsta, which is involved with the Recording Academy’s new initiative, seems to have some good industry traction compiling official credits, while other firms like Auddly, Jammber and Reveel are trying to help performers and songwriters log this kind of information throughout the writing and recording process.

With no disrespect to any of the roles being credited in all this, as far as actual music discovery goes, looking for tracks with a specific writer, featured player or engineer will always be a niche. Other kinds of metadata – moods, topics and other contextual signals – will be more useful as smart speakers and voice assistants continue to grow, for example. Encouraging artists to credit all their collaborators is a good thing, but making sure that music has all manner of other discovery-friendly metadata attached is another challenge our industry is getting its teeth into.

Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!

Avatar photo

Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *