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I am a Los Angeles-based twentysomething. I have a profession, and I have a secret life in music, and this blog isn't about any of that. I like Blogger because I can't read what you're thinking.

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Thursday, July 1   >>

A ONE-WORD CASE AGAINST ANY AND ALL SYSTEMS IN SONGWRITING CREDITS: RADIOHEAD

Songwriting credits are a VERY finicky subject.

This has usually been the tipping point in how far a musical project of mine goes; once the topic is brought up it inevitably gets ugly.

What I find most ironic is that my view on songwriting credits is one that benefits everyone. The people who contest my views are just greedy, blood-sucking motherfuckers.

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Let's start with some context. This, by the way, has happened to me countless times.
SINGER: I brought a song in.

HUGO (AND EVERYONE ELSE): Let's hear it.

Singer plays on guitar.

HUGO: Nice. Let's play it.

Days later, after the song has been arranged by a group

SINGER'S FRIEND: Wow, great song!

SINGER: Yeah, I wrote it.

HUGO: [interjecting] Well, we all did, really.

SINGER: ...?

HUGO: We arranged it, which is part of the songwriting process.

SINGER: ...?

HUGO: Did you write the drum parts?

SINGER: No, but...

HUGO: Did you write the bass lines?

SINGER: No, b...

HUGO: Did you write my keyboard parts? And my passing chords and chord substitutions?

SINGER: No.

HUGO: Did you transcribe it?

SINGER: No.

HUGO: Well, your initial chords, lyrics, and melodies are simply the spark to what is now our song.

SINGER: But it's my song.

HUGO: But it wouldn't sound this great had it not been for everyone else's input. This is officially not your song anymore. Unless you brought sheet music marked with a fat-ass double-bar line at the end of it, it's everyone's song. Period.
And then the band breaks up.

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In my little (and horrible and fucking horrendous) experiences in music business (outside of said context which I'll talk about tomorrow), there's a whole mess of bureaucracy in who-gets-what and how-much-you-don't-get, and it's all dictated by an arbitrary "point" system and stupid contracts and slew of legalities that would make anyone want to shoot themselves in the fucking face.

What I'm trying to get at is this: You never hear about the wheat farmer in Utah taking credit for the bread baked in Miami.

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*Now, obviously, if there are pre-determined terms (like being a hired gun who is okay backing an artist whose sole interest is their own self) then this is a conversation that doesn't happen; it only applies to "bands" and artists who call their backups "my band" and not "the band." But you see how fucking ridiculous this is? It's insanity. FUCK I'M MAD NOW BYE.