YouTube Expands Credits on Videos, Using Content ID to List Artist, Songwriter and Publisher Info

YouTube Headquarters
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Los Angeles headquarters of YouTube photographed on Sept. 4, 2017.

The days of racking your brain (or launching Shazam) while trying to identify songs heard on YouTube are numbered with the introduction of a new feature rolling out today across more than a half billion videos on the Google-owned video platform.

The "music in this video" feature will provide expanded credits for songs heard in a wide range of videos, from official artist clips to fan-uploaded content containing recorded music, along with DJ sets, short films, beauty vlogs and gamer videos.

By clicking the existing "Show more" link in a video's description, there's a good chance you'll see info on the artist and songwriter(s), plus any labels and/or publishers involved, as well as links to official artist channels and music videos, when available.

The introduction of song credits and discovery links on millions of fan-uploaded videos is a first for any platform, YouTube said. The company said the new feature is driven by its Content ID system, which finds and monetizes user-uploaded videos for rights owners, and is aided by existing partnerships with labels, publishers and rights societies.

"YouTube is committed to providing recognition to all of the people who contribute to the creative process, and this is just the beginning," the company said. "Through our industry partnerships we will expand the scope and quality of data to ensure all creators are credited as completely and accurately as possible."

YouTube's move to offer expanded credits is already attracting rave reviews across the industry, including from Sony/ATV Music chairman and CEO Martin Bandier and PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft, as well as artists like Elton John.

"Songwriters are essential to the success of the music industry, but too often their critical role gets overlooked," said Bandier in a statement. "It is why I have long called for all online music services to properly acknowledge their contribution by displaying writer credits. This move by YouTube is an important step forward to deliver that goal and one which Sony/ATV welcomes."


Added Ashcroft, "Unlike with CDs, and LPs before that, songwriters are not generally credited for their work on digital services and platforms; I welcome the steps that YouTube is taking to right this wrong and look forward to supporting their efforts on behalf of all our members."

John called songwriters the "heart and the soul of songs, so it's wonderful seeing them get the credit they deserve. There is so much more we can do to establish a better situation for music creators and this is great step forward."

On May 10, YouTube announced changes to several of its global charts, including for top songs, top artists and top music videos. It also added a new trending chart that will "essentially preference new music and will be updated multiple times a day to provide a near-real-time view of what is truly the hottest, has the highest trajectory, on the platform," YouTube's head of label relations Stephen Bryan told Billboard.

These new updates to YouTube arrive as it prepares to unveil its new subscription streaming service, which is rumored to be arriving in the coming months.