Ivors 2021 report: 'The songwriter is in the periphery - and that has to change'

Ivors 2021 report: 'The songwriter is in the periphery - and that has to change'

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus was the toast of the songwriting community on a day of celebration at the 2021 Ivor Novello Awards. 

The pop legend chose the September 21 gathering in London to launch open global initiative Credits Due. A collaboration between The Ivors Academy and The Music Rights Awareness Foundation (MRAF), the scheme is designed to unite the music industry’s approach to ensuring that complete and accurate song metadata is attached to all recordings at the point of creation. 

Five simple data points are required – creator identifiers and role codes (IPI, IPN & ISNI); the musical work identifier (ISWC); the recording identifier (ISRC); the song title and alternative song titles; and the writer, performer, producer and contributor names. 

The song is where everything starts. And yet, the songwriter is in the periphery - and that has to change

Bjorn Ulvaeus, ABBA

"I couldn't think of any event that could be better to launch this new initiative," Ulvaeus told a packed Grosvenor House Hotel. "It's called Credits Due and I am a songwriter at heart. I was just talking to Nile Rodgers and we both agree that writing songs is the best there is - nothing compares to that. Well, sex of course! And I know from a lot of experience that the song is where everything starts. And yet, the songwriter is in the periphery - and that has to change."

The first in-person Ivors ceremony since 2019 saw Harry Styles clinch his first Ivor Novello Award alongside co-writers Amy Allen, Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon. Adore You, the second single from Styles' second album Fine Line, won the PRS For Music Most Performed Work of 2020. American songwriter Allen accepted the award.

"Thank you to my co-writers," she said. "Writing the song was one of the best writing days of my life, so I'm really grateful."

Also claiming her first Ivor was Lianne La Havas, whose self-titled album won the award for Best Album, written with Matthew Hales, while Best Song Musically & Lyrically went to Obongjayar and Barney Lister for God's Own Children from the Which Way Is Forward? EP.

Celeste and Jamie Hartman received the Ivor for Songwriter Of The Year for their body of work in 2020 including Stop this Flame, I Can See The Change, Little Runaway, Love Is Back and A Little Love for the John Lewis Christmas advert. Children Of The Internet by Dave and Fraser T Smith, meanwhile, won Best Contemporary Song. 

Tears For Fears' Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were honoured with the Ivor for Outstanding Song Collection, presented by Texas' Sharleen Spiteri, Goldfrapp's Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory were recognised with The Ivors Inspiration Award. 

"I'm just very, very grateful to be able to do this. It's a crazy beautiful thing to be able to write music and share it with everybody," said Goldfrapp. "To be able to do something that touches other people is truly special."

The songwriter deserves to be paid more money. And the power to give the songwriter more money is in this very room

Nile Rodgers

In the final award of the afternoon, the Special International Award with Apple Music went to Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Nile Rodgers presented Sambora with the award on stage, fresh from their performance together at Bush Hall the previous evening, while Jon Bon Jovi gave a video acceptance speech. 

"We work in a wonderful business but people tend to forget that everything starts with the songwriter and the song," said Rodgers, who is on the advisory board at song management company Hipgnosis. "The songwriter deserves to be paid more money. And the power to give the songwriter more money is in this very room... Whatever you do in this business, please make it your mission to make this industry more fair and equitable for songwriters. You would not have an industry if it weren't for them."

First presented in 1956, the Ivor Novello Awards are judged and awarded by songwriters and composers to their peers. This year, 70% of the 26 songwriters and composers recognised with an Ivor were picking up an award for the first time. 

All Saints singer Shaznay Lewis, chair of the Ivor Awards Committee at The Ivors Academy, said: “I’m amazed by the impressive range of talent who have joined the UK’s roll call of songwriting greats by winning an Ivor Novello Award. Each one brings joy to so many and creates the soundtrack to our lives. As well as being astounded by their achievements, I would like to thank every winner and nominee for creating the most wonderful and era-defining music.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

Best Album 

Lianne La Havas 
Written by Matthew Hales and Lianne La Havas 
Performed by Lianne La Havas 
Published in the UK by Universal Music Publishing and Warner Chappell Music 

Best Contemporary Song 

Children of the Internet 
Written by Dave and Fraser T Smith 
Performed by Future Utopia feat. Dave and Es Devlin  
Published in the UK by Warner Chappell Music and Kobalt Music Publishing 

Best Original Film Score 

Calm with Horses 

Composed by Blanck Mass 
Published in the UK by BMG UK 

Best Original Video Game Score 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps 
Composed by Gareth Coker 

Best Song Musically and Lyrically 
God’s Own Children 

Written by Barney Lister and Obongjayar 
Performed by Obongjayar 

Published in the UK by Promised Land Music-Universal Music Publishing and Beggars Music

Best Television Soundtrack 

Composed by Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury, The Insects
Published in the UK by Sony Music Publishing

Outstanding Song Collection

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith 

PRS for Music Most Performed Work  

Adore You 

Written by Amy Allen, Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon and Harry Styles 
Performed by Harry Styles  

Published in the UK by Artist Publishing Group West-Kobalt Music Publishing, Concord Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing 

Rising Star Award with Apple Music 

Willow Kayne 

Songwriter of the Year 

Celeste and Jamie Hartman 

Special International Award with Apple Music 

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora 

The Ivors Classical Music Award 

Mark-Anthony Turnage 
The Ivors Inspiration Award

Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory 

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