Who’s actually writing their own music these days?
That can be a complicated question, though in the eyes of the law, the publishing credit determines whether a performer actually wrote the song. And this is more than just a technical distinction: a writing credit entitles the performer to a piece of the publishing revenue (depending on splits, other writers, etc.)
So, we spent last week searching the databases of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, and cross-referencing the top 100 charting songs on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart (week ending 11/11). The result? A whopping 83 percent found the performer, or at least one of the band members in the writing credit. Sometimes alone, though usually alongside a writing team.
The reason? The obvious takeaway is that performers are starting to play a more active role in the writing process. That’s a trend that’s been happening for decades, and look no further than the ‘singer-songwriter’ for proof. But even if the performer has very little input on the songwriting side, they often massage their way into the songwriting credit – and get paid a split as a result. That could be a function of the relationship with the increasingly-common ‘writer-producer,’ but few outside of that small team can really say who wrote what.
All we have is information about who’s got a credit, and who’s getting paid. And it turns out a lot of performers are now getting paid on both the recording and publishing sides.