Let’s say you worked really hard on a mixing project that turned out to be a huge hit, but your name wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the songwriting credits. Not getting credit where it is due can lead to you losing future opportunities. In this article, I’m going to talk about songwriting credits and how they can be useful to different people in the music industry.
What are songwriting credits?
The liner notes on CDs, vinyl records, and digital recordings mentioning details of instrumentalists and music producers are known as songwriting credits. In the digital age of the music industry, only a few music streaming websites display songwriting credits.
Apple Music has songwriter credits (desktop) but it’s not as separated as Spotify and Tidal has it. Amazon to my knowledge doesn’t have it yet. https://t.co/Ob3nM1yE7f
— Vince Valholla (@VinceValholla) February 6, 2018
You should never miss out on a chance to get songwriting credits for your hard work. Every time your name is mentioned is another opportunity to make a connection with someone who likes what you do. This applies to everyone in the music industry, not just the singer or actual songwriter themselves.
Benefits of songwriting credits: Sound engineer
The MVP of a sound recording is the sound engineer. A sound engineer is responsible for setting up the recording session and mixing. Working with an experienced sound engineer can get your music on par with the industry standards.
Sound engineer Riley Urick, who has worked with artists like Chris Brown, Kanye West, Usher and many others, was credited for his work on this track from Skate right in the song title. Skate understood the prestige of working with this engineer, and featured him.
When it comes to royalty payments and credits, everything is negotiable. The best way to avoid any future disputes is to sign contracts before you begin your project. Most sound engineers would prefer a straight up fee instead of songwriting royalties. Having your name mentioned in the credits gives you a proof to claim future royalty payments if things go south.
If you believe that the project that you are working on is going to be an amazing song and has a chance of going viral, you should ask for songwriting credits and negotiate for songwriting royalties. Having your name in the songwriting credits can also bring you more offers in the future.
Songwriting credits for session musicians
Whether you’re a guitarist, drummer, bass player, pianist, or any instrumentalist, you should clarify with your collaborators how songwriting credits will be shared. Session musicians working with other musicians should get into a mutual agreement with them over songwriting credits. Megadeth’s frontman Dave Mustaine and Metallica’s frontman Lars Ulrich have being in a legal dispute over songwriting credits for decades.
Who knows. I ain’t giving my songwriting credit to Lars for songs I wrote in Panic. https://t.co/X2Q6oOX9FL
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) February 8, 2018
Apparently, Dave Mustaine didn’t want Lars Ulrich to re-release the No Life ‘Til Leather album, which they had recorded together back in 1982, because he was no longer a part of the band and didn’t want to give away his songwriting credits.
Instrumentalists should negotiate their music contracts in a way which benefits both parties. Make sure that you’re given proper songwriting credits on every platform where the music is distributed.
Songwriting credits for singers
Singers should definitely get their names in the liner notes. Singers do not usually get songwriting credits. One of the most popular tracks of David Zowie, House Every Weekend, has a singer who we’re still not 100% certain of.
And let’s not forget the controversy surrounding the singer for C&C Music Factory back in the early 90s.
If you’re someone who is an experienced singer, you should only collaborate with people who will appreciate your work and will give you proper credits for it. Some of the websites where you can sign up and find genuine clients include:
Use our guide to learn how to sing better and you improve your singing so that you get better paying gigs.
Album credits for designers
Lastly, a designer who designs album art is just as important to branding music as a professional music marketer. We rarely see designers getting credit for their album artwork shared on streaming websites.
If you’re a professional designer, make sure you’re getting proper credits for your input as well. Use these websites to get new projects:
If you’re working with an international artist and you can’t afford a lawyer, ask your client to send you at least an email with all the terms and conditions mentioned.
Benefits of songwriting credits for artists
The music industry is built on referrals, and it makes getting these referrals much easier when your name is featured in the credits. If your role in the music is worthy, some of the benefits of having your name mentioned include:
- Receiving collaboration offers from other musicians. If you receive any international collaboration offers, learn to collaborate with them before they approach you.
- You can get offers from major artists who see your names in the liner notes. You’ll then be glad to have not accepted a few hundreds bucks extra for not having your name in the credits.
- Get royalty payments from all music sales and streams. It’s a great way to make money without having to put in any extra effort.
However, there are no rules or compulsions regarding songwriting credits, but respectable musicians should give you credit for your work. It all comes down to how you negotiate your contracts.
Places where you can share the credits
Some of the ways you can share songwriting credits on your albums are:
- YouTube and Vimeo are the most popular video streaming websites, and are widely used to listen to new music. You can use these websites to mention songwriting credits in the video description section. See how Justin Bieber does it:
- SoundCloud is used by many record labels and major artists. Mention songwriting credits in the track description and share it with your fans. Here’s an example:
- Websites can also be used to share songwriting credits. Include the names in the album or track description.
- Blog submissions give you an opportunity to tell people how you compose your music and who you’ve worked with. Learn how to submit your music to blogs in case you’re not aware of it.
- Press kits are a great way to promote your music. If you’ve recently started with your music career, having a famous sound engineer’s name in songwriting credits might catch people’s attention.
- Social media sites are obviously useful to share songwriting credits with your fans. Include them in your promotional social media content.
— Co-Stanza (@costanzaband) February 17, 2018
If you expect your name to be mentioned in the credits for someone else’s project, you should share your collaborators’ names in your music as well. Be sure to mention all the important roles which I discussed above.
Keep track of songwriting credits and boost your music career
This article looked at how songwriting credits can help boost your music career as you work with reputable people, and how asking for them in other people’s songs will also help boost your career. Here are the highlights:
- Credits are commonly listed in the liner notes on CDs, vinyl records, and digital music.
- Mentioning songwriting credits in music can be helpful to many people in the music industry.
- Instrumentalists, singers, sound engineers, and designers can benefit the most from it.
- If your name is mentioned in songwriting credits, you may receive more collaboration offers.
Some of the places where you can include songwriting credits in your music are:
- YouTube and Vimeo video descriptions
- SoundCloud track descriptions
- On websites
- In press kits
- On social media
Keep following our blog and learn more tips and tricks about music marketing.