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Songwriters should receive public recognition for their work

Songwriters should receive public recognition for their work

Songwriters should receive public recognition for their work
November 15
15:41 2019

Songwriters are the genius masterminds behind your favorite songs and without them, most of the hits we hear today, especially those on the radio, would cease to exist.

They work incredibly hard at their craft, yet oftentimes, they are denied the credit that they deserve. The songwriting itself is an incredibly hard task to do, which requires a creativity that not everyone possesses and lots of patience in order to assemble a track that will garner great success. Now more than ever, songwriters need to get the public praise that they deserve. It’s not fair that the singer gets all the credit and success for selling songs that they did not write.

Within the music industry, the means in which songwriters have earned any sort of income is through mechanical royalties, which come about when a song is streamed or sold, as well as performed live. However, as time went on, the business of mechanical royalties has progressively gotten worse. According to an article by Rolling Stone, when CDs were still used to sells records, songwriters would only get about 9.1 cents per song, per sale. And that’s only if the writer was credited on the album.

Nowadays, streaming has taken over the role of CDs. While it may be profitable for singers, it has taken a toll on songwriters. The streaming universe tarnishes the musical well-being of songwriters because fans are now able to pick and choose which songs they listen to instead of listening to an entire body of work.

Prior to streaming, there was no way to tell which tracks were played most on an album and which ones were skipped over. Through the evidence of digital streams, there is now a way to tell which songs are played the most and which ones are not, which ultimately does not make any money for the songwriter.

Andrew Watt, a songwriter who has crafted hits for popular musicians such as Justin Bieber, Kygo, Selena Gomez and many more says that “If you’re not writing the hit off the album, you’re f****d .” In other words, the income that songwriters make from their ability is not as stable as it once was. Thus, it is important that they get public credit from their singers which can help them gain the attention of other musicians who are impressed and want to potentially work with them.

Along with not getting a fair enough salary for what they do, songwriters also have to go through the nightmare of singers lying to the public and claiming the songs that they did not write. In most cases, if not all, the songs that these singers claim to have written are tracks that pave the way for their success in the music industry. This means that even though the writer is the mastermind behind the track, their names are nowhere to be seen in the credits of songs.

This is incredibly unfair and should be addressed within the industry.

In most recent news, Lizzo, an American singer who has been topping the charts as of late with the hit track “Truth Hurts,” has come under fire for allegedly plagiarizing the iconic lyric from the song “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m hundred percent that b***h.” Though Lizzo has been putting out music for a number of years now, this is the song that gave her the platform that she has today. “Truth Hurts” is the reason that Lizzo has gained massive popularity and accumulated supporters worldwide to become the beloved pop star that she is right now.

For the weeks that it blew up, everyone was screaming the lyrics everywhere. Though it wasn’t surprising, it was disappointing to learn that famous lines were written by someone else. Lizzo claimed that “the song is [her] life and its words are [her] truth,” however, songwriting brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen state that they should be given credit as writers for the hit track.

British singer Mina Lioness, who tweeted “I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that b***h” in February 2017 also claims that she deserves acknowledgment for the popular song. Lizzo has since stated that she is “sharing [her] success” with Lioness who then tweeted “I just took a DNA Test, turns out I’m a credited writer for the number one song on Billboard.”

Like I mentioned earlier in this article, without songwriters, we would not have the many great songs we have the freedom to enjoy today. Their ability to achieve poetic beauty through music is something they work tirelessly at and it’s absurd that they are not recognized for their genius works.

It’s important that I note some influential songwriters in the industry who don’t get the credit that they deserve. Ross Golan is not new to the music industry, in fact, he was once in multiple bands before he ventured into songwriting. Golan who is well versed in the industry has written hits for Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Flo Rida, Lady Antebellum and more. The title track of Ariana Grande’s third studio album and lead single, “Dangerous Woman” was written by Ross Golan. This record amassed great success and was even the overall theme of Grande’s world tour, yet Golan didn’t receive public credit for a song that so many people loved. Another great songwriter who I feel doesn’t get the recognition they should is Max Martin who has written 51 top ten singles in the US music charts. From Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert to Taylor Swift.

Behind every great singer, is an even greater songwriter. Most often, if not every time, songwriters do not get the public recognition that they truly deserve. Being in an industry where the ropes are only getting tighter for them, songwriters need public credit now more than ever for their hard work because it’s also a means of income for them.

We should learn to not just celebrate the singers of the songs we like, but also the incredibly skilled songwriters that work tirelessly behind the scenes.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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