Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman and CEO Martin Bandier has called on music streaming services to fully and clearly credit songwriters on their sites.
Bandier (pictured) made the call as he received a Lifetime Service Award from legendary Motown songwriter and recording artist Smokey Robinson at yesterday's (June 4) National Music Publishers’ Association’s (NMPA) Centennial Annual Meeting in New York.
Bandier said the music business had become “more complex and more challenging than ever before” for songwriters and music publishers.
“The fruits of our labour are not being equitably rewarded and we are not benefitting from the streaming revolution as meaningfully as we should,” he said.
“I’ve always believed that songwriters are not getting proper recognition. This is even more prevalent today on the leading music streaming services. 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,” he added.
“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. 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.”
He noted that the vast majority of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart were written in part by someone other than the recording artist. Indeed, Music Week’s analysis of the 2016 Top 100 Singles recently revealed that nowadays, you need an average of 4.53 people to write the very biggest hits.
“The wider world – and most especially streaming companies – must start to fully acknowledge the essential contribution that songwriters make to music and to the success of the music business. And that should start by identifying them today,” he added.
“So I call upon all music streaming services and others to prominently show the names of the songwriters who wrote the songs just as they clearly credit the artists who recorded them. It’s a tiny step but a hugely symbolic one that will once again put the role of the songwriter front and center and remind everyone of the songwriter’s vital contribution to music and the industry. And, ultimately, it will play a part in ensuring that these will become the best of times for everybody, including the songwriters and music publishers.”