Growing up whenever I got a new record, I would sit in front of my stereo listening to the record while combing through the liner notes: looking at the lyrics, the artwork and the names of all the folks who made that record come together. In the digital age, album credits have largely been lost. That means listeners don’t know who makes the records, and those of us involved in the process get lost along the way. The artist who wants their record to sound like someone else’s album doesn’t know who can give them that sound. And the contributors to the album aren’t able to collect the payment that’s owed to them.
This state of affairs was the focus of this the 2020 DDEX Creator Credit Summit held last month over three two-hour sessions for three days. It started out with Jimmy Jam (half of the songwriting/producing duo behind acts like Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men, Usher and others) talking about the importance of credits to his career success. Panel discussions included distributors, royalty collection and payment organizations, and record labels. Over the course of the full six hours devoted to this topic, I learned how many parts of our music ecosystem view the problem, and how they suggest working around it.
There was a panel discussion asking the question “Whose Job is It Anyway?” In the past, labels collected all the creator credits. In our current decentralized production process, it’s up to us to make sure this data is collected and passed through to the streaming services. The panel “DIY Musicians and the Metadata Miasma” aptly describes the challenge. Most digital distributors have fields for creator credits, but few artists use them.
The good news presented at the summit is that there are now technologies aimed at solving the problem, allowing for collection throughout the production process, all the way down the line using the RIN standard. Vendors of SEVEN different solutions presented or demo’d their offerings, including Sound Credit, Muso, and Creative Passport.
Follow this link to the whole shebang: video recordings, slide decks and links to further info: