Credits from Drake R. Kelly’s album, * NSYNC – But Who Gets What?

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But even after the release of Drake’s album, a source familiar with the situation said Billboard the distribution of writing credits – that is, which collaborators get what part of a song – are not yet finalized. In fact, releasing songs and projects before determining the official divisions for each songwriter is normal in the music industry, especially for albums with significant money to be made and the interests of many authors to be reconciled. .

“Late separations after discharge are common,” says Kelley fox, Head of Publishing and Records at Unknown Music, an independent label and publishing house founded by the songwriter Ross Golan. The process can be complicated, and it can become especially difficult for sample-rich genres like hip-hop, due to the complex nature of determining ownership percentages between present writers and sampled or interpolated writers who don’t. were not present.

“At the end of the day, creatives have different ideas about what they’ve contributed to the room,” says Fox. “There’s no rule that says because you came up with the concept, you definitely deserve 5%. That’s really why it’s so hard to understand.”

Additionally, songs are often written months or even years before release, so when writers have to defend their share of the publishing royalty pie after a song is released, they’re often working from old memories. unsure of the session. And greener songwriters must fight for their fair share with their more seasoned and well-known counterparts.

The stakes in these negotiations are high, especially when the song is attached to a successful artist like Drake. This week, songs from Boy in love certified represent nine of the Hot 100’s top 10 slots, while the album’s 21 tracks feature in the top 40 of the charts, as it racked up 743.67 million on-demand streams, second all-time behind his album from 2018. Scorpio.

And that can mean a lot of money. For Drake’s mega-hit “One Dance” in 2016. Wizkid and Kyla, for example, the publishing revenue accrued so far is at least $ 4 million, not counting sync and general licenses, i.e. royalties from the time it is played in shops, elevators or hotels, Billboard estimates. And that’s only in the United States – the IFPI named “One Dance” the greatest song in the world in 2016. In this case, the difference between getting 15% writing credit and 25% on a song – even one with nine authors credited – can be, as Fox puts it, “As great as you buy a house or don’t buy a house.”

Additional reporting by Ed Christman.

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