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Is It Right For Singers To Have Songwriting Credits When They Haven’t Done Any Songwriting?

Most of the songs you listen to these days have more than one writer credited. In fact, it’s quite common for songs to have 10 or more different songwriters listed. A lot of singers have played an active part in writing their songs and so they are listed as one of the songwriters, or if they have done themselves they are listed as the sole songwriter. However, there are some singers who have managed to bag songwriting credits – and therefore are entitled to claim a percentage of the song’s royalties – even though they didn’t actually help write the song. Is it right for them to do be doing this?

Yes – it’s a business deal to help songwriters

via Thatericalper.com
via Thatericalper.com

Some big-name artists buy songs from songwriters and add their name to the songwriting credits so they’ll get royalties. The reason songwriters let this happen is because having a popular artist sing one of their songs gives them exposure, puts their name out there and can earn them a tidy sum, especially if the song is released as a single. If songwriters refuse to allow artists to stick false songwriting credits on their song, they would probably find it a lot harder to sell their song. Though some artists are believed to not be that involved in the songwriting process, if you look at it from a business perspective, you could argue it’s right for them to claim songwriting credits because it benefits them and it helps songwriters who otherwise might not be able to get their song sold.

No – songwriting credits should be accurate

via Vox.com
via Vox.com

Let’s take the song ‘Halo’ by Beyoncé as an example because that’s a song whose songwriters have spoken up about who contributed what to the song. According to the song’s credits, Ryan Tedder, Beyoncé and E. Kidd Bogart wrote the song, with Tedder and Beyoncé also listed as producers. Beyoncé is one of many artists whose songwriting contributions have been questioned and though she’s listed as a songwriter for ‘Halo’, Tedder has since admitted that she didn’t actually write any part of the song. Tedder has said that Beyoncé worked on the bridge and completely transformed it to how it sounded in the demo and that she deserves credit for that; the fact remains, though, that she didn’t contribute to the writing, so should she still have been credited? If she didn’t co-write the song yet is still listed as a songwriter, how many more of her songs does she have false songwriting credits for? Other big artists, including Kanye West, Iggy Azalea, Drake, Rihanna and Justin Bieber, to name a few, have had their songwriting contributions questioned. Songwriting credits can be misleading, with artists buying songs and adding their names to the credits, but surely they should be accurate so people know whether or not the artist was involved in the song’s creation?

What do you think?

via Londonguitarschool.co.uk
via Londonguitarschool.co.uk

The next time you look at a song’s songwriting credits, just remember they may not be entirely accurate. Does it really matter who contributed to the songwriting process? If it does matter, then shouldn’t the credits be an accurate list of who wrote the song and not include people who haven’t contributed to the songwriting process at all?

James Gibson
James Gibson
I'm a Classics graduate and have been writing for over three years. Hopefully going to go into novel writing some day. I'm mostly interested in theme parks and roller coasters - I've been on 300 coasters and plan on going on lots more!

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