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porcupine

who wrote what?

I was talking with some fellow songwriters, all of which had different opinions on who gets the writers credit, so it poses the question below. I think these answers may help everyone

If you have a complete song and went into the studio to record it with a producer, the producer says "I think you need to change the lyric there to this..." or "I think the bridge needs to be shorted to this..." or ":The chords in the chorus should be A, Amin then D7 instead of..." AND Those changes are made. Does that give the producer a co-writing credit?

I guess this can apply to this forum as well, not just a producer.

I have produced quite a bit and will always give suggestions if asked. Even if Im asked, I wont take credit for it unless the artist specifically asked me to co-write. But where is the line?

Porcupine

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If you have a complete song and went into the studio to record it with a producer, the producer says "I think you need to change the lyric there to this..." or "I think the bridge needs to be shorted to this..." or ":The chords in the chorus should be A, Amin then D7 instead of..." AND Those changes are made. Does that give the producer a co-writing credit?

Not for me. The examples you give are by and large arrangement issues. Although I accept that there may come a point where there have been so many changes that a co-writer’s credit could be warranted. As long as it’s all agreed either could work.

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God, this subject comes up a lot. The answer as far as Nashville would be concerned is "It depends."

If you are doing demos, and hiring a studio, producer, etc. for a "fee for service", the actual job is going to be helping with arrangements, suggestions, etc. Every musician, producer, engineer, etc. is going to have some opinions and are going to bring some interesting "stamp" that is theirs to any thing.

Now if you were to get with someone who is being hired specifically to "produce" an artist, or be more involved than just the demo side of the song, he or she is probably going to be a co-writer on many things because their experience can bring great changes for the positive for a song or project. And to be honest, one of the reasons you hire certain producers is their reputation. Being able to be produced by someone who has multi platinum records or know a lot of people in the business, is VERY advantageous.

I met a group of guys from Boston yesterday. They are doing a band showcase this afternoon. Nice guys, basically the band is built around the lead singer, who is a kid from up there but lives here. He is just getting started and they are meeting with me for career advice. Probably no one in town from the industry will show up because they don't really know any one yet. If things go like they often do, they will probably work with me in the capacity of song and performance coach and I will probably produce some things on him. That will mean I will be writing songs with him, helping him find others. If it is something I have a great deal of input with him. At that point I will get what ever credit I have earned.

That is the big deal. The nature of the relationship. There are things a producer will do "off the field" away from the actual writing, recording, performing, etc. Behind the scenes. At that point you would want to keep them involved.

Now in Rap, Hip Hop, some of rock, dance, techno, etc. producers who do the beats or tracks are also considered writers. I believe there have been some lawsuits recently for credit on certain songs and of course money owed.

The bottom line would be it should be discussed with the client, artist, writer, whatever. Before entering any business relationship, those questions should be asked. If you are hiring studios or producers, ask them what constitutes a co-write. That should clear anything up.

There is one "other side." There are many times situations where you might make suggestions on a song and they love them, and makes big difference in the song, and you would NOT WANT TO HAVE YOUR NAME ON IT. Look, there are a lot of songs demoed that probably shouldn't be. So there are sometimes you don't want to have your name associated with something.

Conversation. That would determine what constitutes a "co-write." If the parties agree on it. It is. If they don't, it is going to be open to interpretation. Personally, I think if someone made a big contribution to my song, I am going to include them on general principal. I do know of situations where someone was included in songs he didn't have a lot to do with because he was involved in the overall project and did't get in on the huge successful ones. It is a family thing here in Nashville and we all know each other. So we would know a lot of that stuff up front long before we get into questionable situations.

MAB

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