Songwriters Take Issue With CMT Over Credits

Nashville songwriters and a trade organization that represents them, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, will stage a rally at 10 a.m. next Monday (April 16) in Nashville to express concern about the removal of songwriters’ credits from videos aired by CMT.

CMT has changed the way it presents credits at the end of a clip. Instead of showing two sets of superimposed information, one after the other, the channel now can present only one, a change made necessary by new technical requirements.

On April 2, the date of the change, CMT’s signal began originating from the MTV Networks operating center on Long Island in New York rather than from Nashville. The transition required that video credits be reformatted to conform to a system also used by CMT’s sister music video channels: MTV, VH1, BET and VH1 Country. Under the new system, there is less space to display credits at the end of a clip. Contractually, CMT must name the artist, song title and record label for each video. Only one additional line remains; CMT uses that line to credit the video’s director.

In addition to dropping songwriters’ credits, CMT also was forced to drop information about album producers and video producers.

The NSAI was founded in 1967 to lobby on behalf of songwriters whose names did not appear routinely in album credits at that time. A release from the NSAI announcing the rally on April 16 states: “We encourage CMT to re-think this decision. NSAI intends to take any appropriate means necessary to encourage CMT to re-think this decision.”