Spotify now displays songwriter credits: Why musicians should make a habit of documenting ALL credits

How a lack of credits in track metadata hurts the music industry.

Producers, engineers, songwriters, and session players have all been hurt over the past two decades by a lack of digital liner notes and proper credit within the metadata that accompanies each song.

Once upon a time you’d hear a song you liked, find who tracked or mixed it printed in the liner notes, and get in touch with that engineer to see if they could work on your next album.

Strange that the digital age, in which information is normally MORE accessible, accompanied the disappearance of proper credits. This means that many professionals in the music-creation process now have to rely more than ever on word-of-mouth, and it hurt their livelihoods.

Spotify has introduced songwriter and producer credits

Last week Spotify announced that:

Spotify users around the world can view songwriter and producer credits for tracks on the desktop platform. Simply right-click on a track and select “Show Credits” from the menu of options to view information on performers, songwriters and producers.

At launch, we’re showing information we have from record label-provided metadata, and will also display the source of the credits so you know where it’s coming from. We realize some of the label-provided credits are incomplete or may contain inaccuracies, but this is just the first step in displaying songwriter credits on Spotify. The feature will continually evolve to become more efficient, provide better functionality, and incorporate more information from industry partners over time.

Time to remember, document, and save your collaborator info!

Spotify’s recent changes are a great start. Hopefully all digital music platforms will follow their efforts and eventually expand to include:

  • engineers
  • mixing engineers
  • mastering engineers
  • session players
  • arrangers
  • cover art designers
  • and more

Note: CD Baby is working to collect more of this information in our signup process. We’ve always delivered available songwriter information to our partners, so if you check your own tracks on Spotify, the songwriter details should be listed correctly.

But we’d also like to take this opportunity to suggest you keep good notes on all your collaborators past, present, and future — since music outlets may one day display all of this information, and five years down the line it might be difficult to remember the name of that tuba player you hired for 20 minutes to play on the bridge of one song.

Yes, CD Baby is working to get more of your credits out there in the future, but it starts with you accurately collecting them in the first place. Make it a habit. In the digital space, everyone has gotten lazy with music credits.

So write it all down. Save it in a doc. And be ready to credit everyone… eventually.

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