You know the type, at the end of a movie, while everyone is rushing to the exits, queuing for the washrooms to complete the processes started by their incredibly oversize and overpriced sodas, there’s always a handful who sit patiently and watch the credits roll. They’ll do it even for movies not made by Marvel and don’t have the teaser for the next film right at the end.
Those people will all say approximately the same thing about what they’re doing. “A lot of people worked to make this film. This is my way of giving them some respect.” There are those out there, more than 40,000 of whom who have officially declared it thus far, who believe music should be given the same treatment.
While their numbers may not be as plentiful as a feature-length film, an album takes more than the work of the musicians in the band to produce. There are producers, mixers, engineers, graphic designers, guest performers, and a whole host of others whose contributions too often go unnoticed by the public, even when they are all mentioned in the liner notes. In this ever-increasingly digital age, there often isn’t even a liner upon which notes can be provided. That is the thrust behind this petition by Jon Burr.
To be delivered to Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.
Album credits are the lifeblood of musicians. Musicians need them to be displayed when their music is played.
Showing the headline artist and track title only anonymizes and minimizes the contributions of all the others involved and forecloses opportunity.Please show the credits when music is played!
This opinion isn’t exactly a new one. In fact, the petition was started a year ago. It is, however, an important one and one I feel is worth revisiting as we focus so heavily on the names of those headlining artists and so often forget everyone else.
Six years ago, Don Was, a record producer with decades of experience, penned an editorial for Huffington Post entitled iTunes and the Death of Liner Notes in which he wrote “I’m at a loss to explain Apple’s ambivalence about upholding the quality and value of the product that has fueled the success of their hardware.”
But, as Was wrote, the blame doesn’t land solely at Apple’s feet. “Distracted by the tsunami of horrifying financial trends, maybe nobody in the music business is seriously addressing the possibilities for digital liner notes and the improvement of digital albums. We’re missing the point that, just like domestic automobiles, if we offer better records at a reasonable price maybe people will start buying them again!”
The petition, as of writing this, is less than 10,000 signatures from their goal of 50,000. Several of the signatories, as is common with online petitions, have given short statements of support in addition to their signature.
“As a former manager of a national and international act.. name recognition is as key as the song itself…musicians, producers and engineers need that recognition to survive,”
– Tom Feeleym, Keyport, NJ
“I am a freelance engineer who has been mis-credited or left off of Canadian gold and platinum selling albums. It is of dire importance for everyone to receive credit for their hard work!”
– Wayne Cochrane, Toronto, Ontario
“This would dramatically increase presentation and also help those involved in the production and recording of a piece of music maintain a portfolio while using the apple services.”
– Ricky Neff, Boyds, MD
Of course, for some this is just a good first step towards Apple treating the music industry as more than just a cash cow.
“This is just one of the many things Apple needs to do to improve Apple Music. Next will be fair payout.”
– Mark Jorgenson, Austin, TX
But that’s a whole other topic. First, let’s get Apple to step up and give credit where it’s due. It’s nigh impossible to have widespread success in today’s industry if you’re not on Apple Music or iTunes, but it is impossible without a strong team backing you. Give them a little credit. Please, Apple? (You, too, Spotify.)