Pandora today announced it will display full song credits for millions of songs on its desktop app and on the web. The new feature will be available to all tiers of Pandora users, not just premium ones, and it will include everything from who played the keyboards to who contributed audio engineering to who helped pen the lyrics or compose the melody.
Pandora is positioning the feature specifically as a remedy to one of the pitfalls of the streaming era, where music’s digitization and effectively free availability across the internet can often downplay just how many artists, engineers, musicians, and other talented professionals contributed to a track.
“Music’s physical-to-digital evolution has given rise to an era of unprecedented music discovery, but it has sometimes made it difficult to find the kind of credits and information that used to live on LP sleeves and CD inserts. Who wrote that song? Who played the instruments? Who produced the beat and arranged the strings?” the company writes in a blog post. “We believe in giving credit where it’s due.”
Right now, the full song credits feature is not searchable; instead, it’s static information supplied from a database that’s compiled using information music labels and distributors have provided. That means you won’t be able to search for, say, the drummer on a Taylor Swift song and find out what other tracks that performer has contributed to. But it is much more information than what was displayed before, which was restricted mostly to lyrics, cover art, and the song features that Pandora’s Music Genome Project uses for curation and personalization.
Another bit of important context for this new feature is current pop queen Lizzo’s songwriting dispute over her record-breaking chart topper “Truth Hurts.” The artist just yesterday filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against two former collaborators to establish in court that they had no part in creating the song, after the men — brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen — said they worked on “Truth Hurts” and deserve credit. With songwriting credits comes a portion of royalties.
But as part of her legal defense, Lizzo added British singer Mina Lioness to the songwriting credits after using a phrase in a viral tweet of Lioness’ as a now-iconic line in “Truth Hurts.” The line is, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” and Lizzo has openly cited Lioness as the direct inspiration after turning “100% that bitch” into a trademark, t-shirts and all.
It marks perhaps the first time a song lyric has ever transitioned from a tweet to a pop hit and earned the initial author a songwriting credit. And it just goes to show you that songwriting these days is as collaborative as it’s always been — something Pandora wants its full song credit feature to emphasize — even if the process now involves public meme-sharing.