CMT Will Restore Songwriters’ Credits

Channel Working Toward Technical Solution

Responding to howls of protest from Nashville’s songwriting community, CMT executives announced today (April 10) that the channel will work with its technical staff to restore songwriters’ credits to the music videos it airs.

John Sykes, president of CMT and VH1, and Paul Hastaba, CMT senior vice president and general manager, contacted Bart Herbison, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, with their decision. Herbison made the announcement at a news conference at the NSAI’s office in Nashville.

Restoring songwriters’ credits could take as long as three weeks, says Randy Wilkes, CMT director of operations, since it will require rewriting software, re-entering data and testing to verify the accuracy of the data. The switch back to displaying songwriters’ names should take place by May 1 and will cost at least $25,000, Wilkes predicts.

“NSAI wants to thank CMT for understanding the importance of songwriters and understanding the meaning of NSAI’s motto, ’It all begins with a song,'” Herbison said in a prepared statement.

On April 2, 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 room to display credits at the end of a clip. As a result,
CMT stopped listing songwriters, album producers and video producers.

The NSAI had scheduled a rally to protest the development at 10 a.m. Monday (April 16) in a park adjacent to CMT’s Music Row office. Members of Nashville’s Metro Council, the Tennessee General Assembly and the U.S. Congress also had planned to make statements or offer resolutions in support of the songwriters, NSAI’s release said.

“This issue was so important to songwriters that it produced the biggest outcry in the organization’s history,” Herbison said in his statement. The protest rally “is now going to become a victory celebration and a ’thank-you’ party to honor CMT’s decision.”