If you do good work, you want the credit, right? If you contribute to something important, you want your name attached. It’s good business.
Giving proper credit is a major, major, MAJOR shortcoming of music in the digital world. In the olden days, we had liner notes on big album jackets or in multi-page CD booklets. This is not only how we learned about who played what instrument and who wrote what song, but it’s how we learned about producers, engineers, songwriters, studios, art direction, management and so much more.
How many millions of people started to dream of some of these jobs because they learned about them from a record sleeve or CD booklet? How many of today’s music fans even realize these gigs even exist? None of this data can be found in a stream or even a purchased digital download.
This article from MagneticMag.com makes the case for a return to the days of liner notes. Any kind of liner notes.
The digitalization of music has changed so much about the business from downloads to streaming to new ways of interacting with fans and selling tickets. This has turned the industry up side down. Vinyl may be surging again, but it likely won’t ever be the dominant force it once was and CDs are quickly becoming an afterthought. With these in the rearview, we are missing not just the sound quality, the tactile ability to hold music, but also song and album credits.
Song credits were a critical part of CDs and vinyl. You could flip over the back of a vinyl sleeve and see who engineered a song, who wrote the song, what was sampled and who played the drum part. CD sleeves also have this information with the songwriter’s publishing companies, the producers and much more. A lot of this can be wonky and may not interest the casual fan, but some connections can be really fun to make.
Calvin Harris put the songwriting credits out on his Twitter for each song during his Funk Waves Bounce Vol. 1 album cycle, which was refreshing to see from a pop artist to say the least. Some derided him as arrogant, showing all of the instruments he played on the record, but it was good to see all of those instruments or machines and who wrote on each of the songs for the album. It didn’t go as far as a vinyl sleeve, but the information was broadly there.