Pick you metaphor– what once was old is new again; what goes around comes around. Both could be at the core of technology’s latest nod to analog as Spotify has announced its recent decision to add songwriter and producer credits to the behemoth service.
In a world of ones and zeros, liner notes have become as quaint as a doorstep adorned with the morning paper. But not so fast. Like most things that go by the way side, eventually, they are afforded the opportunity to shine anew to a fresh and previously uninitiated audience. While I quite enjoyed the recent storage unit discovery of a treasure trove of CD long boxes, my teenage nephews would not know of the purpose these cardboard beauties served.
Buying a record used to mean something to hear, yes, but it was also something to open, to pore over, to dissect the liner notes. Who wrote what. What does the band want us to know about these new songs? Who took the publicity photos? Who played triangle?
With Spotify’s “Show Credits” right click option, some of that glory returns. “Songwriters are an integral force behind the music we love,” said Tiffany Kumar, Global Head of Songwriter Relations, Spotify. “With the newly launched credits feature, we aim to increase songwriter and producer visibility and, in turn, foster discovery among new collaborators, industry partners, and fans.”
“The more we share information, the more opportunities we can help create for songwriters,” added Annika Goldman, Director of Music Publishing Operations, Spotify. “This is just the beginning of making songwriter and producer credits more easily available to Spotify listeners, and we look forward to continually improving that information, in close collaboration with our music industry partners.”
Songwriter Ali Tamposi, whose credits include songs for Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, and others, shared “We’re all artists in our own right, and every artist appreciates being recognized for their hard work. I’m excited and grateful to see this new feature on Spotify.” Frank Dukes, whose credit include Lorde and Camila Cabello echoed the sentiments. ““It’s amazing to see Spotify give the unsung heroes of music some recognition on their platform. Definitely a step in the right direction.”
It wasn’t so long ago the Don Was (Was Not Was) opined of “the death of liner notes” to HuffPo. “The first time I heard of Charles Ives, Willie Dixon, Captain Beefheart, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Eric Dolphy was when I read that list of 150 random notables (titled “People Who Have Contributed Materially in Many Ways to Make Our Music What It Is – Please Do Not Hold It Against Them”). My friend, Michael Loceff, and I took a trip to LA later that summer just to check out all the locations that Frank listed as Freak Out! hot spots. When we finally reached the hallowed portals of Ben Franks restaurant on Sunset, we felt like we’d become part of a movement — even if it was 10 a.m., and there wasn’t a freak in sight! Years later, I got to hang out with the Mother’s drummer, Jimmy Carl Black. I was tongue-tied and awestruck to be in the presence of this cat whose mystique, for me, was based solely on his portrayal on the inside of album covers. Frank Zappa schooled us in counter-culture history, gave lost teenagers an identity along with a mythology and provided four sides of groundbreaking rock ‘n’ roll for five bucks! Some 44 years later, I’m still a fan — that’s what the music business is about.”
Perhaps now, we’ll start getting schooled again.