Business News Digital

Pandora adds songwriter and musician credits to millions of tracks

By | Published on Friday 25 October 2019


US-based personalised radio service Pandora has announced that it will start publishing full song credits for millions of tracks currently streaming away on its platform. The new credits will name-check songwriters, producers and session musicians involved in a track alongside the main artist who usually gets all the name-checking glory.

The digital firm says in a blog post: “Music’s physical-to-digital evolution has given rise to an era of unprecedented music discovery, but it has sometimes made it difficult to find the kind of credits and information that used to live on LP sleeves and CD inserts. Who wrote that song? Who played the instruments? Who produced the beat and arranged the strings?”

“We believe in giving credit where it’s due”, it adds. “That’s why we’re excited to announce that Pandora now displays full song credits for millions of tracks in our massive music library, highlighting all of the people – both in front of the mic and behind-the-scenes – who played a role in the creation of your favourite tunes”.

All the digital services have come under increased pressure in recent years to list the songwriters, producers and session musicians who are all credited, albeit usually in super small print, on the artwork that accompanies physical releases.

One of the challenges has been where the services get this data from. Many labels won’t provide this information unless forced to. And, when it comes to songwriters, in an age when the services not the labels license the song rights, there’s the question as to whether you can force the labels to provide songwriter info. And even if you can, do you trust them to get it right, them not being actively involved in publishing the songs?

Nevertheless, some services have started adding some or all of this information, perhaps aware that in most countries copyright law actually provides a moral right, especially for songwriters, to be credited, where practical, when their work is exploited. Spotify started adding songwriter credits last year, while to date Tidal has been most prolific in this domain.

The Pandora credits look pretty comprehensive and will therefore likely be welcomed by the music community. Though those lobbying for more credits have also argued that users should then be able to click on said credits to see more songs and recordings that each songwriter, producer and session musician worked on. Pandora doesn’t have that yet.