Sunday, August 11, 2013

When Vocalists Don't Get Paid

There's a long list of hits going back to the 50s that used a different singer other than the artist that was credited on the record. The most famous of these may be Milli Vanilli in the late 80s, who when discovered, were forced to give back their Grammy. This actually caused a law to be introduced in the US making it mandatory to credit the correct vocalists on the recording in the aftermath.

But dance music has always been different, since many times a track is already complete when the vocalists is brought in. It's then up to the singer to complete the song by writing the lyrics and melody. The problem is that many times, even today, these co-writers don't get any royalties for what they've done. Case in point is singer Martha Wash on C+C Music Factory's big hit "Gonna Make You Sweat," who eventually resorted to suing the label to get proper credit and royalties.

Now one singer has had enough. Vocalist Antonia Lucas, after 20 years singing and writing on hits without credit or royalties, has started the Vocalist Songwriters Alliance (VSA). Lucas has found that the the problem has become more acute in today's EDM world, where the real singer of the song is usually replaced by a younger and prettier "singer" on the video, and therefore becomes the star artist. VSA is just trying to bring some equality to the situation. You do the work, you should get paid.

VSA now has over 300 members, and some of them are very impressive. Check out their site and the video below.


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