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Bollywood lyricists criticise lack of credits on music streaming platforms

Swanand Kirkire, best known for penning songs like "Bawara Mann", "Piyu Bole" and "Behti Hawaa Sa Tha Woh", shared screenshots from the album of "Dil Bechara" streaming on Spotify. The lyricist noted that while composer AR Rahman and other singers were duly credited, there was no mention of Amitabh Bhattacharya—who has penned the songs.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: July 22, 2020 22:10 IST
swanand kirkire
Image Source : SWANAND KIRKIRE/ INSTAGRAM

Varun Grover, Swanand Kirkire and Neelesh Misra have criticised music streaming platforms for not crediting lyricists.

Hindi film song-writers including Varun Grover, Swanand Kirkire and Neelesh Misra have criticised music streaming platforms for not crediting lyricists.

Grover, who has penned songs for films like "Masaan", "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" and "Gangs of Wasseypur", was among the first to tweet how he and composer Sagar Desai were not credited for the 2014 film "Aankhon Dekhi". In a series of tweets on July 18, Grover wrote how despite "repeated requests" it took the record label four years to release the film's music online and that too without lyricist credits.

"Now I find they put the full album jukebox in 2018 but have not credited me and Sagar Desai. And then in 2020, six years after the film's release, @TimesMusicHub starts putting out the 'lyrics videos' from #AnkhonDekhi - but again no credits eeven in lyrics videos," Grover said. Hours after his first tweet, the writer wrote that Times Music had added appropriate credits on the YouTube channel and thanked lyricist Mayur Puri for his timely intervention. "Thanks to @mayurpuri for intervening & grateful to them for being prompt. Hope it's a start and all music companies take action to rightly credit the creators on their channels."

Kirkire, best known for penning songs like "Bawara Mann", "Piyu Bole" and "Behti Hawaa Sa Tha Woh", shared screenshots from the album of "Dil Bechara" streaming on Spotify. The lyricist noted that while composer AR Rahman and other singers were duly credited, there was no mention of Amitabh Bhattacharya—who has penned the songs—beyond the thumbnail of the album. "There's no tradition of crediting the lyricists on this music app. Only the thumbnail, which the producer has provided has a mention, but once you click, only the composer and singers are credited. They have also embedded the lyrics, but not the name of the lyricist," Kirkire said.

The writer-composer also shared screenshots of other steaming apps, including Apple Music, Jio Saavn and Gaana, where three albums- "Teesri Kasam" by lyricist Shailendra, Javed Akhtar's "Lagaan" and "Omkara" by Gulzar were also uncredited. "If their names aren't included, then who are we?" Kirkire wondered. Screenwriter-lyricist Neelesh Misra observed that the music streaming platforms are falling in the same trap as that of radio stations, which fail to mention a lyricist's name for a song. "Music launches have been held without the lyricist getting prominence. For years, lyrics writers have got no mention on most radio stations or TV reality shows playing songs.

"And now OTT platforms have taken the same route. The lyric writer stands at the end of the line," Misra tweeted. Kirkire said the point raised by Misra—known for penning hit songs like 'Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai' from 'Jism' and 'Maine dil Se Kaha' from 'Rog'—was valid as many didn't consider lyricists as "artists."

"Lyricists are not a part of their algorithm. composers and singers are and they get all the data of streaming on everyday basis on @spotifyartists @spotify @AppleMusic and other apps," Kirkire said. Music composer Shantanu Moitra, who has worked with Kirkire on several hit albums like "Khoya Khoya Chand", "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" and "3 Idiots", requested the platforms to give rightful credits to the creators. "To all streaming platforms, please don’t give my name as a composer if u r omitting the name of a lyricist, I am incomplete without lyrics and the lyricist @swanandkirkire," he said.

Lyricist Kausar Munir, acclaimed for her work in films like "Secret Superstar", "Meri Pyaari Bindu" and "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", said it's high time the services got in place a credit policy. "Kudos to my courageous colleagues @varungrover @swanandkirkire @mayurpuri for taking up the issue of lyricists’ credits across platforms. Credit the creators, it's about time," she added. 

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