US streaming service Rhapsody used the Music Biz 2013 conference in LA earlier this week to announce that it is going to be the first digital music service to join Grammy organiser The Recording Academy’s ‘Give Fans The Credit’ campaign. Launched last year, the drive advocates better crediting on digital music – bringing the same comprehensiveness generally seen in liner notes on physical releases.
Over the coming months, Rhapsody will begin adding full credits, including producers, engineers, songwriters and session musicians, to releases on the service (with some already live now), to music in its catalogue. The information will also be fully searchable, allowing users to search for specific musicians or studio personnel, rather than just featured artists. This is something many, particularly in the producer community, have been arguing for in recent years.
Announcing this, Rhapsody president Jon Irwin said: “Rhapsody listeners are avid music fans who value the craft of musicianship and recording, and they want to know who was involved in bringing a song to life. We have a responsibility to our listeners to back this initiative, and further, view the inclusion of more complete credits as a truly useful feature that will only deepen our listeners’ connection to their favourite artists and songs”.
President and CEO of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow added: “Since we launched the ‘Give Fans The Credit’ campaign, we’ve seen an outpouring of support from music makers and music lovers alike. Fans want more information about the tracks they like, and we applaud Rhapsody for taking a leadership role on this initiative. Putting credits in the hands of fans is the next step forward in guiding fans to music discovery, as they find new songs and artists based on songwriters, producers or band personnel. It is our hope that other digital music services will follow Rhapsody’s lead”.
As well as becoming the first streaming service to add this level of crediting this week, Rhapsody also became the first to officially feature Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ album. As previously reported, Swift’s label Big Machine Media decided to keep the album off streaming platforms indefinitely when it was released last year.
Big Machine Media boss Scott Borchetta told Billboard at the time: “I personally struggle with [the streaming] model – and I don’t think that it should be free. We’ve spoken with the services, and spoken with Spotify in particular … We just haven’t hit on the right model that works for us. I don’t have thousands and thousands of albums and hundreds and hundreds of artists, I have a finite artist roster and finite number of releases. If you’re a big battleship like Sony or Universal and have tens of thousands of masters, that income stream makes sense at a big corporation. It doesn’t make sense to a small record company”.
Rhapsody launched a highly vocal campaign against this decision, urging fans to tweet the hashtag #WheresTaylor and arguing in a blog post that Swift and her label would be more successful if they embraced streaming.
All that shouting seemingly paid off (eventually), as Big Machine Media has now caved. A little. ‘Red’ is now playing exclusively on Rhapsody, which is of little use to Swift fans outside the US – though may raise the hopes of the four people using the Rhapsody-owned Napster. The streaming release also comes accompanied by other bits of exclusive Swift content, including an acoustic performance of ‘Our Song’, which you can watch here: