May 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Rhapsody Goes Deep on Liner Note Credits


Image courtesy of Rhapsody

The Recording Academy, the people who put on the GRAMMY® Awards (and who sometimes get upset if you call them “Grammy Awards,” “The Grammies,” or even “GRAMMY Awards” without the “®”), want to give credit where credit is due.

The organization’s “Give Fans the Credit” initiative promotes the noble goal of crediting all of the songwriters, session players, back-up singers, engineers, and producers who don’t appear on magazine covers, but who are arguably more important to the quality of music than the pretty face with the microphone that does appear there.

Their names used to appear in things called liner notes, which were usually 2D-printed paper or cardboard documents shipping with circular and rectangular objects that contain music.

Rhapsody announced on Tuesday that it is the first digital music service to support that initiative. It will be probably be slow going, because the database must be built by hand — session player by session player, engineer by engineer — although Rhapsody is hopeful that the whole thing will be done in a few months.

“While the full implementation of the credits will occur over the following months,” reads Rhapsody’s statement, “Rhapsody has already begun to curate music collections based on producers, songwriters and sidemen within the Rhapsody service including GRAMMY® winners Dave Grohl, Pharrell Williams, and Timbaland.”

Rhapsody also has feature posts about super-producers, so you can trace their influence (Dave Friddman, Terry Date, Dave Grohl, etc.).

As much as we enjoy poking fun at The Recording Academy, “Give Fans the Credit” is a worthwhile cause, and Rhapsody is good to embrace it. These folks deserve a little bit of the limelight — or at least as much as they used to have before music went digital. Besides, it gives us music fans another way to find stuff, and we like those.

However, we wonder why the Academy isn’t swinging for the fences on this one with one big database that could hook into every single service, allowing each to contribute to and pull data from the same pool, possibly with the help of The Recording Academy, so that these musicians, engineers, and producers could receive the credit they deserve without Rhapsody and all the other services building the same data over and over again in their different silos.

  • Solveig Whittle

    Amen to that sentiment. Either one big database… or a perhaps a standard for metadata entry that standardizes fields for attribution.

  • Audio Texture

    Excellent news and the “digging” possibilities of searching for all the works of a certain producer or every session your favourite sax player is involved in will be endless. Metadata has been an afterthought for most artists and labels for far too long..