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Pop Culture
Esther Gaon

Usually people associate a song with its singer, assuming they wrote that song, however this is not usually the case. In some of the biggest hits of our time, like “Party in the USA,” for example, people don’t even know that Miley Cyrus wasn’t the person who wrote that song; it was actually by Jessie J, who gave the song to Cyrus to sing. Other popular songs with a different writer than its singer can include “Love Yourself,” by Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Women.” But why would a songwriter let another person take all the credit for a song they wrote?

For years now top artists have had others write their hits for them (or at least help them write them), and those singers get all the credit. According to Rolling Stone, the number of Top 10 biggest tracks in the U.S. last year that were written by a solo songwriter was zero –  same for the year before. But now songwriters are fighting back. In 2021, a group of songwriters banded together to collect more credit for their role in the hit songs played on the radio. 

The group wrote a letter stating that they would not give any publishing rights to anyone who did not “create or change the lyric or melody or otherwise contribute to the composition without a reasonably equivalent/meaningful exchange for all the writers on the song.” Emily Warren, one of the songwriters involved, also spoke about an A-list artist who tried to get the same amount of money that Warren earned from the publishing company, even though Warren wrote the song, while the artist simply just sang the song without any contribution to it. 

Songwriters are upset that many of them get paid solely for creating the songs, while the artists who sing the song make millions from touring and branding partnerships. 

According to CNBC, “The group emphasized in the letter that its goals are to protect the future generation of songwriters and to ‘shift the rhetoric and perspective surrounding the role of a songwriter.’ ” The songwriters just want to make sure that all the hard work they put into their jobs isn’t for nothing, and that they ensure they get the compensation and credit they deserve. They just want credit where credit is due.


  1. Tsai, K. (2021, April 1). “Songwriters' Group demands artists stop taking credit for hits they didn't write.” CNBC. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from

  2. Ingham, T. (2019, April 1). “Hardly anyone on the pop charts writes their own music (alone) anymore.” Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from 

  3. Aswad, J. (2021, March 30). “Justin Tranter, Emily Warren, more songwriters sign letter calling for artists to stop demanding credit for songs they didn't write.” Variety. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from

“Songwriters Fight Back Against Artists Taking Their Credit”: Academics
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