This post co-authored by FMC Communications Intern Olivia Brown
The big music biz news this week is all about the launch of Google’s new subscription streaming music service. But that’s not the only development in the world of streaming. Last week, at the annual NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Convention, one of the first such services, Rhapsody, announced that it would be the first major digital music service to join the Recording Academy’s new “Give Fans The Credit” initiative. The campaign aims to make songwriter, performer, producer, and other credits widely available to digital music consumers at a time when physical media sales — along with liner notes — are on the wane.
John Irwin, president of Rhapsody, said the following:
Rhapsody listeners are avid music fans who value the craft of musicianship and recording, and they want to know who was involved in bringing a song to life […] We have a responsibility to our listeners to back this initiative, and further, view the inclusion of more complete credits as a truly useful feature that will only deepen our listeners’ connection to their favorite artists and songs.
Credits will be rolled out over the next few months, but in the meantime, Rhapsody has started a new curated series called “Liner Note Gods” that features the discographies of specific songwriters and producers.
This is definitely a step in the right direction and we hope that other digital music providers will follow suit, but there are still some concerns. It’s probable that credits and metadata for legacy and major label acts will be readily available and accessible to Rhapsody, but it will likely be more difficult to amass data for independent, niche or small-scale releases. Additionally, Rhapsody’s database will be proprietary, meaning the info will not be available to other digital music providers. This may delay the wide adoption of the “Give Fans The Credit.”
Wouldn’t it be something if there was an accurate and inclusive database (or databases) that not only gave proper credits, but aided would-be licensors in knowing who owns which copyrights? (We’re holding our collective breaths.) Still, if the inclusion of credits on digital music services like Rhapsody becomes more commonplace, we may be inching our way towards that goal.