Artist Rights Alliance and Partner Organizations’ Statement on Credits & Attribution

In January, the Artist Rights Alliance, along with the American Association of Independent Music, SAG-AFTRA, and the RIAA, issued a statement calling for the development of a better digital attribution and credits system. This marks the first time groups representing both artists and labels have come together to acknowledge the importance of attribution and collaborate on pursuing a solution.The statement reads:

“Attribution recognizes artistic achievement, helps creators connect, collaborate, and appreciate each other’s work, opens up new pathways for fans to trace artistic influences and find new music, and aids accuracy in the digital royalty economy.

As music has shifted online, systems of attribution have become less robust and consistent. Where once cover art and liner notes often reflected who contributed to each specific musical recording, including producers, songwriters, and side players, attribution today is often less extensive, sometimes identifying only the featured artist or band and the track and album name.

Credits are a creator’s resume. Knowing what music an artist or songwriter has made or contributed to can help them find more fans and build and sustain their careers over time. Credits are also a learning tool and ‘map’ to the music ecosystem for fans, creating a more educated music audience to the benefit of the music business as a whole.

Digital music services are evolving, and many are adding new information for fans, including lyrics and — in some cases — credits. The proliferation of new screens and listening methods from portable devices to vehicle consoles to home assistants creates new opportunities and options for greater availability of attribution, credits, and expanded liner notes for the digital age. A multi-media environment should offer new and creative ways to provide this information and context, not limit and shrink it.

We welcome collaborating with everyone in the music ecosystem to develop and implement a more robust and effective system of digital attribution and credits to the benefit of creators and consumers alike.”

This is just the start of what we want to be an ongoing process, particularly as technology continues to change. In time, we hope there will be a credits system that is universal, fair, and robust — translating the wealth of information contained in liner notes to the digital realm. We welcome more partners that will grow this coalition and help this project succeed.

As always, we’d love to hear from all of you. What would a good attribution system look like to you? How has your career been affected by attribution or lack thereof on digital platforms? If you are a fan, how have the current methods of attribution impacted you?

Artist-run, non-profit advocating for musicians, performers, & songwriters in the digital landscape. (Formerly the Content Creators Coalition or “c3”)

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