It takes a lot of talented folks to create a hit song or album. Along with the artists themselves, others playing a critical role in the process include producers, engineers, songwriters and session players. They deserve credit—on the record, as it were—for their time and effort.
In the age of vinyl, this wasn't much of an issue, as albums usually contained liner notes listing key contributors. That tradition carried over to the CD era, with informative inserts and booklets being the order of the day.
Now, with most consumers streaming music, liner notes have largely vanished, robbing behind-the-scenes collaborators of public acknowledgement.
Cue the Recording Academy (the folks who hand out Grammy Awards), which worked with TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles to launch "Behind the Record," an initiative urging artists to credit those who help their music soar.
Performers can upload "Credit Covers," recognizing contributors on their albums and singles, to the special website. (The Black Keys, Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and other A-listers have already done so.) They're asked to share the covers across social media and tag those working on their projects, using #GiveCredit #WeAreMusic #BehindTheRecord.
"The Recording Academy came to us with the idea of doing some sort of 'Credit Day,'" TBWA\C\D group creative director Jason Karley tells Muse. "'Behind the Record' felt like the perfect name for an initiative that is all about bringing those amazing creators behind our favorite records to the forefront, which quite literally brought us to the idea of the Credit Covers."
"We wanted something that was inherently social, but that could also literally replace the original album cover with a new one," he says. "The design was a challenge, as we had to be able to scale from a relatively small number of collaborators up to almost 100 for some albums, and still look creatively consistent."
Original album artwork appears in the new covers, allowing consumers to quickly recognize which releases each set of credits is for.
To ensure accurate sourcing of who did what across various songs and albums, the Academy is teaming with metadata specialist Jaxsta, which collects credit information from labels, publishers, royalty agencies and industry associations.
"I think artists have always instinctually sought to give credit to their collaborators," Karley says. "That's why almost every Grammys acceptance speech thanks producers or writers or engineers in name or in general."
Such gratitude from the stage inspired the project film below, which strings together Grammy-night thank-you's from some of music's brightest stars:
We'd be remiss not to credit the artists in the video, so here's a breakdown:
H.E.R. - 2019 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album
Flume - 2017 Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album
Earth Wind and Fire (Philip Bailey) - 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award (Special Merit Award recipient)
Alicia Keys - 2008 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
Chris Stapleton - 2016 Grammy Award Best Country Album
Carole King - 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year
John Legend - 2006 Grammy Award for Best New Artist
Tim Hanseroth (of Brandi Carlile) - 2019 Best American Roots Performance
Diplo (as a part of Silk City) - 2019 Best Dance Recording
Willie Nelson - 2019 Producers & Engineers Wing honoree
Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood) - 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year
Lalah Hathaway - 2017 Best Traditional R&B Performance
Daniel Caesar (with H.E.R.) - 2019 Best R&B Performance
Carole King - 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year
Marren Morris - 2016 Best Country Solo Performance
Cecile McLorin Salvant - 2019 Best Jazz Vocal Album
Behind the Record | Credits
Client: Recording Academy
Lisa Farris, Chief Digital Officer
Mazen Alawar, Managing Director of Marketing
Charles Mills, Marketing Director
Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles
Renato Fernandez, Chief Creative Officer
Jason Karley, Group Creative Director
Stephanie Johnson, Senior Art Director
Paula Henzel, Senior Copywriter
Bruno Regalo, Senior Art Director
Beca Dutra, Junior Art Director
Gregory Ballif, Junior Copywriter
Sydney Bonner, Junior Copywriter
Anh-Thu Le, Director of Content Production
Ewan Anderson, Executive Digital Producer
Andrew Serrato, Senior Digital Producer
Joey Iamartino-Larson, Associate Producer
Robin Rossi, Director of Business Affairs
Pamela Lloyd, Account Director
Sharon Hsu, Account Supervisor
Mike Hernandez, Account Group Assistant
Tim Tontz, Senior Project Manager
Simon Wassef, Chief Strategic Officer
Iyana Sarrafieh, Associate Planning Director
Alana Gleason, Junior Strategist
Sarah Singh, Junior Strategist
Ty Harris, Associate Content Strategist
Jennifer Miller, Director of User Experience
Edvin Lynch, User Experience Designer
Editorial Company: Union Editorial
Editor, Nicholas Wayman-Harris
Assistant Editors, Kim Landry & Joe Hughes
President/Managing Partner, Michael Raimondi
Executive Producer, Joe Ross
Finishing/Mix Company, Resolution
After Effects Artist, Mannix Rickenbacher
Mix Engineer, Lihi Orbach
Website Production: Use All Five
Levi Brooks, Production | CEO / Co-Founder of Use All Five
Samantha Combs, Developer
Jason Farrell, Technical Lead | CTO / Co-Founder of Use All Five
Ryan Gordon, Lead Developer
Bret Morris, Technical Strategy | Director of Technology
Michelle Murphy, Production | Director of Operations & Production