Work-Artist relationship: Credit group vs band members as writer/composer/lyricist

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I always use to add the individual members as composers/lyricists to a work using release credits / or other sources (interview, biographies,…) rather than the whole group.

Example: In early days the album Trespass by Genesis is credited “all songs written and performed by Genesis”. Nevertheless I would credit each song to the individual members of that time (Banks/Gabriel/Phillips/Rutherford/[Mayhew]) and even drummer John Mayhew was removed as writer, because later it become apparent that he did not contribute to any of the songs.

So I started a discussion on the recent edits for the work

I would prefer the song being credited with the individual persons not the whole group:

I found no specific style guide.

Any hints, opinions?


Crediting to the individuals is definitely better, but only if that specific information is known, I think. If it isn’t, which is more inaccurate? Crediting to the ambiguous collective of the group? Or crediting to every member, likely resulting in crediting those who had no involvement in its writing? If the only information yet available is a credit to the group, I’d go with that, as it isn’t then a deceptive level of precision.


For works where a band is credited as writer, I usually use BMI and ASCAP’s websites to find out who officially wrote the work. Then I credit the individuals.


Same. I would caution, though, that this is the case for Western groups; Japanese groups are another story. JASRAC has specific fields for lyricist (作詞) and composer (作曲), and usually there will be specific credits crediting the individual who provided each. On occasion, though, the group’s name will be used in one or both of these fields.


Crediting band is both artistic decision (act as a band) and will to distribute equal share of royalties to every members*.
Individual link all members is wrong because it goes against artist intent and it is also incorrect to say that each and every one of them did write both lyrics and music.

We should credit works how they are declared by artists in their official release booklets.

(*) it is the reason why you can see the members instead of band in SACEM and other copyright manage databases.


– "Individual link all members is wrong because it goes against artist intent and it is also incorrect to say that each and every – one of them did write both lyrics and music."
I thought in this case you can use the writer-relationship for which is a set-union of composition and lyrics. In this case the individual link is logically not false. If I do not know who exactly wrote the lyrics or composed, I use “writer”


Even writer may be wrong for some of the members.
We don’t aim same goal as SACEM, BIEM, ASCAP, etc.
Their goal is to send checks to artists.


Who a band chooses to credit as integral to the creation of a song is not limited to those who write the lyrics or melody. If Marvin has got a funky dance move that inspires, or brings some wicked LSD to the session that blows everyone’s mind, then Marvin can get credited.

Our division of creative roles is not intended to be proscriptive, merely help us create metadata elements, as I undrstd things.


You gotta go with what you know.
It is one thing to only know that Genesis wrote the songs (such as liner notes). But if you know individual members wrote it (such as royalty sites), then you need to input the individuals.

That was one of my numerous problems with WP - it seems like they stopped wanting to be a fact-based source of knowledge and became only interested in being an advertising arm of the entertainment industry. Regurgitating press releases from script writers instead of posting actual information from a place like the music union who is responsible for paying the people that actually worked on an album.

Prior to the internet, where people can search and find answers to anything…
When a local band didn’t have a gig, they would say they had a gig at a “private function” and big bands would say “working on a new album” - so that people would think they were busy working instead of being unemployed or in rehab.
Or they would say “our album is selling like hotcakes in Germany. We are talking about doing a tour overseas.” And that would put in the minds of US promoters, that these guys are something to do business with.
Actors say “I am doing an independent film” as a way to explain why they aren’t in a big budget blockbuster this summer.

The point - it’s the entertainment industry. Fantasy. Make believe.
It is one thing to go with Artist Intent. It is another thing to repeat their bullshit.


Nice discussion on my edit.

As I told @magicroundabout in notes already, I updated work with infos from liner notes from official release, where group artist is credited as written by. This can count as artist intent and it’s also @jesus2099’s opinion to credit works this way.

On the other hand Relationship Types / Artist-Work / Writer says: “In many cases, the composer, lyricist and/or librettist relationship types should be used, even if the liner notes say this work was “written by” the artist, since we prefer specific relationship types.”, which would go against that practice.

I’m still not sure, how this artist-work-credit looks best.


The one problem with that is that, as @jesus2099 mentioned, relatively often royalty sites will list every member despite some of them having nothing to do with the specific track, just so that everyone gets paid equally. So it’s not really a very clear “who wrote this” claim, as much as “who should get paid for this” claim.


But if the liner notes say “written by band” and the royalty sites list all four members of the band… that is different than when the liner notes say “written by band” and royalty sites list one guy and an outside guy.

That’s what I mean by hype. The press agents tell the story of one thing to create an image, while the truth is something totally different.


Or a co-credit will be demanded by managers and producers, as Wikipedia tells us.


Personally I would encourage going beyond artist’s intent with works, in particular when attribution of a work becomes a matter of historical record. It is why we even have, for example, the “previously attributed to” relationship. To me, a work transcends any given set of liner notes, and possibly contradicts them. It is the domain of the librarian, archivist and historian. :stuck_out_tongue:

And specifically, not the domain of rights societies, although their databases can at times actually be indicative of actual artist involvement.


OK but only if they can be marked as unnofficial or if the official credits can be marked as official (artist intent).


Semantically, “unofficial” has a cultural implication of hearsay, and applying it even to cases of historical fact might not be ideal. Also, again, a work transcends liner notes not only in the fact that it may contradict them, but that it may be performed, and thus attributed arbitrarily, any number of times. For works, we ought to take liner notes as informative, but not definitive, records of authorship.


Maybe this shows my age. But “in my day”, no one got rich selling records. Records were considered advertising. You advertised your music so that people would come to the live show. Live shows is where you made your money.

And that would make the liner notes, by extension, a press release.

Plus, when it comes to printing, it is much easier to say “written and performed by the band” instead of listing each and every single credit.


Well, actually I guess it’s rather more the case nowadays than it ever used to be.
Now with fewer and fewer people buying records.

Frankly, except in budget various artists compilations like ULTRA BEST OF MEGA DANCE, I don’t think it’s true for original albums and singles.
These credits have always been quite thought out and fruit of a decision.


I think individual credits are preferable, if known.

  1. The members of a group may change with the time.

  2. When the same song appears on a compilation or is covered, there are usually the individual writers mentioned in the liner notes/booklet etc. and it becomes difficult to find the work (especially for covers) if it has someone else as writer.


If you go against artist intent, you must really prove it (who really composed and who really wrote lyrics is not official nor public) and explain in work annotation.