NonFiction ~~- The 10 Commandments Of ScreenWriting

When Others Want To Take Credit For Your Song

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QUESTION:
I hired a producer to record my songs.
He majorly changed 2 songs for which I gave him co-writing credit.
However on another song the Producer changed 2-3 words;
on another song he changed one line of the melody;
on another song he changed 4 chords of another line, without changing the melody.
I say these 3 changes do not contitute 'writing', but merely arrangement writing since the songs were substantially done before the Producer received them.
Can you give me an idea of what is arrangement vs. what constitutes writing?
The producer told me verbally that if I didn't want to give him credit I didn't have to, yet, I feel if I am wrong I will give him credit.
I just in my heart feel that a few minor changes do not merit co-writer credit.
I asked ASCAP and they said the Producer's contributions constituted 'interpretation.'


ANSWER:
Many producers and stars do take writing credit for little or no contribution to the song.
For instance, Amy Grant might agree to cut your song, change a line, and become half-writer, or full writer.
A friend of mine lost his credit entirely to Fleetwood-Mac in return for a one-time buyout fee.
It is a mode of business that is very common, in all echelons of the business.
If you ghostwrite for famous acts, you are gonna get paid in exchange for giving up the credit.
I've given away lots of ideas to the artists and writers I work with, as a gift.
A good writer does not need to get credit for every idea he comes up with.
It's good to give a few ideas away just to love your neighbor.
Were I the producer, I would not take writing credit for the changes you describe.
Of course, the actual music would need to be inspected to tell for sure.
I would offer the producer something nice, financially, or a gift or at least generous liner-note praise, to show you appreciate his help, as it is not necessarily the Producer's job to aid in this way, but it does sound like interpretation as you describe it.

One other thing- when you have troubles with people, it's best to tell the fewest number of people about it.
Everyone knows it takes two to tango, and everyone gets dirty, so it's best to resolve these things privately and quietly if possible.