Who wrote that song? It’s a common question that a quick search doesn’t always cover. Here’s how to find out who wrote a song and more.
It can be challenging to find out who wrote a particular song sometimes. Fortunately, there are a variety of repertory databases you can search to find out who wrote a song, published, performed it, and more. Some of the databases on this list are aimed at music professionals but still contain a comprehensive search function for general use.
AllMusic has a lot of filters, and it contains an excellent database if you’re looking for general information about a song, album, or artist. It can be tricky to navigate compared to some of the other databases on this list. Still, it’s one of the best for most users seeking information who aren’t necessarily in the music industry.
Songfile offers some results under its public search option, but most of its information requires membership to access. Songfile is a database designed for someone looking to license music and credit accordingly, rather than a general knowledge database.
An invitation-only performance rights organization, SESAC (originally the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers) has a robust public database you can access for free. SESAC was initially founded in 1930, making it the second oldest performance rights organization in the United States.
BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.)
The largest music rights organization in the US, BMI deals in music licensing. While BMI’s services require membership, their database can be accessed publicly, including information in the ASCAP database below.
ASCAP (ACE Repertory)
The ACE Repertory is a searchable database containing musical works licensed under ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and BMI. You can search both databases via its SongView service or one of them individually. ASCAP was founded in 1914, making it the oldest music copyright collective in the country.
CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International)
Though primarily for licensing Christian music and media in churches, schools, and other organizations, CCLI boasts a wide array of publishing partners. It features a searchable database and a song licensing service called SongSelect.
A comparatively newer service founded in 2015 by a husband and wife team in the music industry, Australian-based Jaxsta is making waves as a credible source for finding out who played what role on a song. The content owners supply Jaxsta with its database rather than crowdsourced information.