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Stand up for your credits, urges MPG campaign

Dave Robinson 29 June 2010

The Music Producers Guild (UK) has launched a campaign designed to achieve full credits for all those involved in the production of recorded music, writes David Davies. Designed to help counter the increasing anonymity of music delivery in the digital download era, Credit Where Credit’s Due is supported by a dedicated MPG micro-site (link below).

At present, there is no accepted or standardised method of including credit information on digital downloads – hence the general feeling that musicians’ and technical staff’s contribution to recorded output is sorely under-acknowledged at present.

A new survey by the MPG, however, indicates that there is a definite demand for this kind of detail. An emphatic 98% of record producers support a unified database and believe that this information should be incorporated as metadata. Meanwhile, 66% of those polled on the Credit… site said they would buy more music if the information was embedded into file formats.

One of the campaign’s most ardent supporters is MPG director and producer Tommy D, who has worked with artists including KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Ray and Kylie Minogue. Part of the inspiration, he says, came from his own difficulty in establishing the identity of a string arranger on a classic Etta James album. "I spent hours and hours online looking for this information," he recalls. "I just thought, It really shouldn’t be this difficult."

Tommy D tells PSN-e that in a fragmented era in which an increasing amount of recording is done in bedrooms and small studios, the general level of archiving is declining rapidly, raising fears that producers, engineers and musicians could lose out on both credits and vital revenue streams. With the new website intended to kickstart a wider debate on credits in the digital age, he is hopeful that a mechanism to record information can be formulated in the short- to mid-term future.

"Not only is there an inspirational reason for credits, there is also the fact that people like to be acknowledged for the work they do," says Tommy D. "We also need to ensure that people are getting paid everything they are due, and [a unified database] would help to ensure that money gets back to the right person."

There are also numerous potential spin-offs – for example, Tommy D suggests that the application of a familiar online retail ‘if you liked this, try this’-style approach could help music lovers to track down more work by specific producers and session players.

"If you look at the popularity of the Classic Albums TV series, it’s clear that there is an appetite for this kind of information – a lot of people do like to know about the circumstances in which music is made," he concludes. "It all helps to make you a fan of music in the first place. So with CD sales declining and more and more people buying music digitally, we need to ensure that there is a mechanism in place that can record everyone’s contribution properly."

Participate in a vote and join the debate at MPG micro-site, www.creditisdue-mpg.co.uk.

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