where credit is due

Once upon a time, in an ancient land, there were album credits. Big round vinyl LPs had inside sleeves or booklets on which everyone involved in the making of that record was named. Not just every last writer, musician, producer, and recordist, but even A&R, booking agents, legal people, etc. Lyrics too! When CDs came along, that got trimmed a bit with the smaller format and certainly became less enjoyable to read the tiny print. Now that the vast majority of sales are digital, I would think a resurgence of credits is in oder. After all, the cost of crediting and linking to everyone’s websites is so minuscule that it hardly bears mentioning. Instead, the opposite is true. I really don’t know why, but I do know that itunes has a policy of not accepting credits and external links. Same with Amazon. This is very bad for people like us.

If you’re reading this then you are involved in making music in some way and you want your name to appear on your work. It’s good for your spirit and your business. It’s also good karma to credit folks who contributed in obscurity, often for little or no money. Links and linkbacks help people find new music and learn about you and what you do. Perhaps you like the drumming on some record. You find out who the drummer is, follow them, find other things they’ve done, and so on. There’s no downside that I can see. As for itunes’ policy, I can only assume that it’s a human resources cost thing. Also they want people to stay on their site and not be lead outside by links or distracted by credits.

I encourage everyone who is making and selling music to steer people towards bandcamp.com, tunecore.com, your own website, or any other sites that support credits. Furthermore, when you make your layouts and design your sites, include full crediting and links! It’s the right thing to do and it’s good for you.

UPDATE 5/8/11:

Here is a really simple, clever, and righteous way Sarah Fimm got around the deplorable itunes no-credits policy. She embedded it in the track titles! Have a look and a listen here. Nice work Sarah!

2 replies
  1. Hilarie
    Hilarie says:

    I totally agree. It’s really infuriating that there’s no easy route to full credits when purchasing on iTunes. And after I sold a song to HBO, it was TWO YEARS before the show site listed music credits for the episodes for that season (and then it was just a name, not a link to a site with more info.) The music at the end of the shows did not show in end credits either. Kinda lame.
    On another note, hi Danny! You probably don’t remember me but I used to hang out at Blue Eagle playing the banjo when you were just a mandolin whizkid. Your name came up when I was talking to Jerry Middaugh a few minutes ago and I idly googled you. Nice to see that you’ve “made good!”

  2. db
    db says:

    Whoa! Hilarie? I sorta kinda do remember. At least I think I do. In any case it is beyond cool to re-meet you in this virtual and public way. Here’s something really odd: I am currently wearing my Blue Eagle Music T-shirt that I have kept pristine for the last 75 years, give or take. It must be divine providence.

    And yes, cable tv is horrific about credits. The reason is that unions are nonexistent or so weak as to be ineffective. In film, the credits go on forever because those union contracts are tight. Credits are good, people. There is often very little money involved in this labor of love. Credits help.

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