Justin Tranter (L) and Emily Warren
Songwriters like Emily Warren and Justin Tranter, who jointly wrote hits for well-known artists like Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa, are joining forces to seek more recognition from artists.
“This group of songwriters is not going to contribute to publishing or songwriting to anyone who did not create or alter the lyrics or melody, or otherwise contribute to the composition, without a reasonably equal / meaningful exchange for all authors of the song,” the group wrote the letter that was published on Tuesday.
Other songwriters who have signed the letter include Ross Golan, Amy Allen, Savan Kotecha, Joel Little, and Victoria Monet.
These songwriters have worked on songs like “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande, “Adore You” by Harry Styles, “Rise” by Katy Perry, “Only The Young” by Taylor Swift, and “Ice Cream” by Selena Gomez and Blackpink.
Billboard reported Tuesday that Warren was the one who started this call to action.
“Emily is the one who really brought the charges here so that this moment could actually happen,” Tranter told Billboard.
Warren spoke about previous experiences when she felt she was treated unequally in her career.
“One high profile singer asked for a ‘crazy’ part of publishing – the income writers make from creating the lyrics and melodies for songs – in exchange for recording a tune that Warren wrote, even though that artist hadn’t contributed to the writing of any Process way, ” Rolling Stone reported Wednesday, adding that she faced “bullying tactics and threats” when she tried to negotiate.
These experiences are not uncommon in the music industry, with countless songwriters relying solely on issuing credit, while musicians have other sources of income such as touring and brand partnerships, according to the letter. This has often resulted in songwriters having to take on other jobs on the side to make a living.
“Over time, this practice of artist publishing has normalized. Until now, there has been no real unity within the songwriting community to fight back,” the group wrote.
The group stressed in the letter that their goals are to protect the future generation of songwriters and “change the rhetoric and perspective of the role of a songwriter”.
“All we are asking is that we are not placed in positions where we are forced to give up everything we have for nothing,” they said. “All we are asking is that we make loans when loans are due and only borrow when loans are earned.”