Sony atv

Sony ATV's Martin Bandier calls on streaming services to 'fully credit' songwriters

Sony ATV’s Martin Bandier has called on music streaming services to ‘fully and clearly’ credit songwriters on their sites just as they do with recording artists.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 15 Jun 2017
  • min read
Sony ATV’s Martin Bandier has called on music streaming services to ‘fully and clearly’ credit songwriters on their sites just as they do with recording artists.

The chairman and chief executive of the global publisher made the comment as he received a Lifetime Service Award from Smokey Robinson at the National Music Publishers’ Association’s (NMPA) Centennial Annual Meeting.

In his speech at the industry trade association event in New York, Bandier said the music business had become ‘more complex and more challenging than ever before’ for songwriters and music publishers.

And, while they were starting to benefit from the growth of music streaming, they were still not receiving an equitable share of the enormous amount of money being generated by the streaming services.

‘The fruits of our labour are not being equitably rewarded and we are not benefitting from the streaming revolution as meaningfully as we should,’ he said.

‘I’ve always believed that songwriters are not getting proper recognition. This is even more prevalent today on the leading music streaming services. Far too often the songwriter’s contribution is overlooked or even forgotten. I have no doubt that this lack of public recognition has played a major part in why songwriters are not treated on an equal basis as the recording artist,’ he added.

‘When I look today at the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, I ask: where are the names of the songwriters? They are either not there or so hidden that you would have to be a special prosecutor, or perhaps The Washington Post – to find them.

‘It is as if the songwriters do not exist and the only people who matter are the recording artists. However, without the songwriters coming up with the words and music in the first place, there would be nothing for the artist to record and no music to stream.’

He noted the irony of this situation at a time when the role of the non-performing songwriter in creating hit songs is greater today than it has been at any time since the heyday of Tin Pan Alley.

He said that in any typical week something like 95 out of the 100 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart are written in part by someone other than the recording artist.

‘The wider world – and most especially streaming companies – must start to fully acknowledge the essential contribution that songwriters make to music and to the success of the music business. And that should start by identifying them today,’ he said.

‘So I call upon all music streaming services and others to prominently show the names of the songwriters who wrote the songs just as they clearly credit the artists who recorded them.

‘It’s a tiny step but a hugely symbolic one that will once again put the role of the songwriter front and centre and remind everyone of the songwriter’s vital contribution to music and the industry. And, ultimately, it will play a part in ensuring that these will become the best of times for everybody, including the songwriters and music publishers.’