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How and why to credit properly

3 min read

Why do credits matter?

Credits acknowledge a creator's contribution to a musical work or sound recording, help build their fan base, and ensure accurate payments to creators and other rights holders.

What are credits?

Credits are the public acknowledgment of someone’s contribution to the creation of a , a live , or . You may, for example, see credits in the liner notes displayed on CD or vinyl covers or on some platforms. Credits are important to you, the creator, and your fans, but they play a more important role than just that of public acknowledgment. They can be a crucial part of the payment process.

Why is it important to have the right credits?

Credits mean those listening to your know it’s yours and credits help you get paid when your musical work or sound recording is used. Without the proper credits in place a may find it difficult, or even impossible, to claim payments they are entitled to. Along with other , correct credits should be attached to every musical work and sound recording.

Note that failure to credit someone on a musical work or sound recording can lead to disputes over ownership or income, including and breach of contract.

And removing metadata can also lead to copyright infringement disputes, since metadata is commonly protected as by under .

Head over to our Resolving Disputes topic for more information on that.

When does a creator need to be credited?

Creators who perform live, make an contribution to a musical work or sound recording can all own a share of the in the musical work or sound recording, and therefore may have to be credited.

However, not all creators are always credited. The type of contribution made, where, and under what agreements or law, and how the song is performed or used can all impact who will eventually be credited for their contribution to a musical work, live performance, or sound recording.

Explore our topics, Songwriting, and Recording to learn more about the creator's roles and their contributions.

How do you properly credit someone?

For live performances, it’s good practice to credit musicians, singers, and other on stage, as well as if those are not the or a band member performing. But it all depends on context and industry practice.

In order to credit properly, the names of all contributors to a song, including songwriters, performers and other , and including their , and identifiers, should be collected in the metadata when and a musical work or sound recording. As a creator, you have a critical role to play in that process.

Keep reading this topic to learn more about Metadata and Identifiers.

It’s also important to capture the right information at the right time. For example, you’ll want to know exactly which version of the musical work or sound recording was used in the of the sound recording. You don’t want to be crediting a musician from an earlier recording session when it was actually a different musician playing in a later recording session that made it onto the final mix.

This sounds easy enough to manage. But remember, writing and recording a musical work can happen over long periods of time, sometimes years, in many studios located in different countries, and with many people involved. It’s easy to lose track and credit the wrong person, or fail to credit at all, so remember to agree on with fellow creators and record credits as early as possible and in any case before your song is released.

Image credit: Bokeh Street