By: Kelly Myers, Client Experience Specialist at Jammber
It’s no surprise that technology influences the way industries evolve, but when it comes to music the impact it has on artists and collaborators deserves our attention. With technology, going from analog to digital has made creating and sharing files faster, and software like Logic and Pro Tools help people create high quality content faster. From the way projects are produced to assigning proper credit and payment to creators, technology is the driving force that’s making positive changes in the music industry.
So What’s The Problem?
Even though technology has a powerful impact on music from the way it’s consumed to created, there are still so many individuals who aren’t properly paid or credited for their work. People don’t realize just how common this issue is in the music industry, and it’s not just with artists either. I remember being mad in high school if my teacher read a “well written” paper to the class but didn’t mention that I wrote it. I can’t imagine something of mine going out to the entire public without being credited for it. Writers, producers and other creatives experience this frequently, and technology can help them receive the recognition they deserve. DJ Burn One gave a great example of his own experience when he said,
Beyoncé’s album Lemonade is an example of how difficult it can be to control all of the administrative aspects to a project. There were 72 writers on that album and about 100 collaborators. How easy do you think it was to keep track of every person’s contribution to that album? Hint: Not very. Some producers only created a sample on one of those songs. Other collaborators helped write 3 or 4 songs. All of this information has to be tracked and documented, and administrative responsibilities are easily overlooked when such a big project is being worked on. It’s not until after release and someone’s name is missing from the credits that creatives realize how important organized administration is to the creative process.
This situation happened with a young artist/producer named Steven Vidal, “Stwo” who created a sample for the song “Weston Road Flows” off of Drake’s album Views. He wasn’t sure if the sample would end up being used, but after hearing the song he was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was in the song. However, when the credits came out his name was missing from the list.
“They have a million things to think about. So yesterday they dropped the credits, and I was not on there, and I was confused.” -Stwo
Luckily, Drake verified that Stwo did in fact own that piece of the song, and immediately gave him credit. That doesn’t always happen though, and a lot of artists are frustrated but don’t know how to make sure their work is being recognized as their own. Going back after an album has been released and trying to pinpoint who deserves credit is an administrative headache. This is where technology comes in to simplify the process.
Technology Saves The Day
Imagine all of the studio sessions, paperwork and collaborations that go into creating a project being organized and tracked on one online platform.
Artists are often so focused on creating music (as they should be) that they forget about all of the important administrative aspects that go along with it. Tools in the studio would make it easier for them to manage sessions, track song splits and capture the date of creation. Without technology, or with just a phone, you’d have to contact your entire team through emails, texts and phone calls to figure out a time to get in the studio. Technology can make those tedious tasks quicker so you have more time to focus on creating.
Let’s break this down even further. Paperwork is a great example of an administrative component to projects that requires a lot of attention. Split sheets are used to list all producers, writers, performance rights organizations, artists, and other people who had a part in a project. The important thing to know is that no split sheet is the same. If they were then the process would go a lot smoother. The genre of music also plays a part in who could earn what from a project. Urban music is a great example, and according to RB Jefferson,
“In urban music (hip-hop/contemporary rhythm & blues), a producer is typically going to receive 50% of the song, less any portion allocated to existing samples, because the music significantly contributes to the success of a song, and the songwriters will split the remaining part.”
Jammber’s Mission to Fix The Problem
At Jammber, we are passionate about data and technology, and we know that the two together have a positive impact when it comes to compensating creatives fairly.
No matter what industry, everyone deserves credit for their work. That’s why we built tools and technologies to solve the metadata problem. With data tagging technology, top musicians like DJ Burn One and Stwo will never lose credit again. It will all be captured at the date of creation. These roles will be a lot easier to access on sites like Allmusic.com or Discogs.com. Our team is always thinking of easier ways to manage the creative process, so we are developing a protools plugin that will capture all metadata behind the scenes. The simplicity will allow creators to focus on their projects while the administrative pieces are taken care of at the same time.
We designed our tools to easily fit into the artist, songwriter and production process. We know that notes and voice memos are vital for all creatives when making a new song, so we are working on apps that have the same functionality with more power from data tracking. We think we’re close to developing an app that will make administration easier while being kept at the forefront of a creative’s mind. When they step foot in the studio and start typing out an idea or tracking a beat, their work will be streamlined better than ever.
While it has always been a driving force in entertainment, there is no doubt that technology is the future of the music industry. As exciting as it is, being among the elite in the industry means being responsible for your administration in order to get paid and credited for your work.
The reason I’m so passionate about Jammber’s mission is because I believe that all creatives deserve to receive credit for their work. As a member of the team and more specifically client experience, I see firsthand how important it is to creatives that their hard work is fairly compensated for. I want to help creatives share their talent with the world, because it’s truly a gift that changes lives. It’s not so much the long hours spent in the studio that motivates them but the impact it can have on one person or a whole society. The way to make sure they continue to do this is by giving them fair credit. It’s a blessing in itself to be able to help clients manage their projects every day, and when you combine creative individuals with those who want to help them reach their full potential, you’re left with a pretty positive force. That’s what our whole team is about, and it’s only going to become more powerful from here.