Written by Maddie Westrup
Amidst the rise of “streaming” the music industry has faced immense innovation in recent years, not the least of which is the total rebuild of Section 115 and the mechanical licensing portion of the 1976 Copyright Act, thanks to the Music Modernization Act which is being implemented as this is written and should be fully operational by 2021.
In a gentle nod to the songwriter community it so conveniently shortchanged over the past decade or so, the popular streaming platform Spotify recently announced this month, its plans to implement “Songwriter Pages” and “Written By” playlists on the platform. Click here to see the announcement. The purpose of these new tools are to expose songwriters to the public and allow them to create a larger fanbase. Gaining exposure for songwriters on Spotify has been a somewhat difficult task in the past, especially if the songwriter does not perform their works. Spotify is attempting to eliminate this obstacle.
Songwriter Pages are individual profiles for songwriters, similar to the profiles Spotify currently has for artists where the works recorded by a specific artist can be seen as a collective body of work. The Songwriter Pages intend to serve the same purpose for songwriters. For example, a Spotify user can now look up the songwriter’s page to see a brief bio of the songwriter, works created by the songwriter and/or works collaborated on, and sample playlists consisting of the songwriter’s works. The purpose of the Songwriter Pages is to give songwriters a direct presence on the platform, which has not been the case in the past.
In addition to the Songwriter Pages, Spotify is also rolling out “Written By” playlists which consists of a compilation of works the songwriter has worked on. The Written By playlists will be a category displayed on Spotify’s homepage. Additionally, users of the app will be able to follow the Written By playlists. The creation of Written By playlists allows users of Spotify to follow their favorite songwriters and the work they have done. For example, a user on Spotify hears a song they love and discover who the songwriter is. The user can pull up the songwriter’s official page and listen to all the songs they’ve created through the Written By playlists.
These features are a step in the right direction for Spotify, a company who has the past reputation of not acknowledging songwriters and not compensating them correctly or adequately. Spotify hopes to open a new door of opportunities for songwriters through implementing these new tools. The persuasive power of Spotify has proves effective in the past when Spotify began displaying song credits to the public in 2018. Due to that simple change, major labels and distributors were 60% more inclined to identify and credit songwriters in new releases.