Songwriters urge artists to stop receiving credit for hits they haven’t written
Justin Tranter (L) and Emily Warren
Songwriters like Emily Warren and Justin Tranter, who wrote hits together for well-known artists like Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa, are joining forces to seek more recognition from artists.
The group of songwriters called The Pact signed an open letter calling for more equality in the music industry.
“This group of songwriters will not provide any contribution to publishing or songwriting to anyone who has not created or altered the lyric or melody, or otherwise contributed to the composition, without a reasonably equal / meaningful exchange for all the authors of the song,” wrote the Group the letter that was published on Tuesday.
Other songwriters who have signed the letter include Ross Golan, Amy Allen, Savan Kotecha, Joel Little, and Victoria Monet.
These songwriters have worked on songs like Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman,” Harry Styles’ “Adore You,” Katy Perry’s “Rise,” Taylor Swift’s “Only The Young,” and Selena Gomez and Blackpink’s “Ice Cream.”
Billboard reported Tuesday that Warren was the one who started this call to action.
“Emily is the one who really brought the charges here so that this moment could actually happen,” Tranter told Billboard.
Warren spoke about previous experiences when she felt she was treated unequally in her career.
“A high profile singer asked for a crazy chunk of publishing – the income writers make from creating the lyrics and melodies for songs – in exchange for recording a tune that Warren wrote, even though that artist hadn’t contributed to the writing process in any way.” Rolling Stone reported on Wednesday, adding that it faced “bullying tactics and threats” when trying to negotiate.
These experiences are not uncommon in the music industry, and countless songwriters rely solely on the release of credits where the musicians have other sources of income such as touring and brand partnerships, according to the letter. This has often meant that songwriters had to take other jobs on the side to make a living.
“Over time, this practice of artist publishing has normalized. Until now, there has been no real unity within the songwriting community to fight back,” the group wrote.
The group stressed in the letter that their goals are to protect the future generation of songwriters and “change the rhetoric and perspective of the role of a songwriter”.
“All we are asking is that we are not placed in positions where we are forced to give up everything we have for nothing,” they said. “All we are asking is that we make loans when loans are due and only borrow when loans are earned.”