The Music Producers Guild (MPG) has enlisted the help of Trevor Horn, Tony Visconti, Nigel Godrich and Spike Stent to highlight the issue of missing credits in digital music files and streaming services.
In a video, Credit Where Credit is Due, filmed at the 2014 MPG Awards in London, the four respected producers spell out how important accurate credit information is to the future of the music industry.
“For the young guys out there, people starting out, credits are everything, and it’s really important they get the recognition,” says Spike Stent, who has worked with Coldplay, Arcade Fire and Ed Sheeran.
Trevor Horn (pictured), speaking about his first major hit, Video Killed the Radio Star, adds that many people who worked on the track were “really hurt” when he didn’t include their names on the sleeve notes. “It also left it wide open for four or five different people to claim that they went oh-ah oh,” he says. “Well, I know who did it, so there’s a load of people out there— stop saying you did it because you fucking didn’t and you know it!”
The MPG’s video forms part of the organisation’s Credit Where Credit is Due initiative, which promotes the inclusion and accuracy of credit information associated with the various roles of music recording.
“We feel it is time that all those involved in the production of recorded music got the credit they deserve,” says MPG director and producer Tommy D, who is spearheading the initiative. “These credits were previously included and easily accessible within the sleeve notes and artwork of CDs and vinyl albums. They were an essential and standard practice, within the music business. And don’t underestimate how essential they are – not just because they acknowledge the hard work and effort that had gone into making a recording, but also because they accurately define and thus allow the industry to compensate those professionals for years to come.”
When listening to digital music, this information is only accessible online and is often inaccurate and not properly endorsed by the industry. Mastering engineer and MPG member Barry Grint has long worked to persuade record labels to implement industry-standard ISRC codes into digital files.
The MPG says feels the music industry is missing “an essential marketing tool by denying consumers an easy way to cross reference and search for the work of labels, musicians, producers, engineers, etc.”. It adds: “The industry’s general apathy when it comes to solving this issue also belies a deeper disregard and disrespect for the backroom staff as a whole.”
“We need to rectify this shortcoming, and the best way to do that is by lobbying,” adds Tommy D. “The MPG is encouraging all consumers and recording artists to make their voices heard so that the music and technology industries, responsible for the distribution of recorded music, are left in no doubt that we want credit information and that it needs to be attached and accessible at the source of the listening experience.”