The Great Denigration of Composers

by floranteaguilar

I recently had the opportunity to watch this video clip that became viral. It is a 6-minute video based on Don McLean’s anthem of a song American Pie. It is an elaborate set-up that employs a single take which must have required prodigious amount of coordination. It is nice and heartwarming.

But I do have one problem with it – they have completely ignored the composer! Nowhere in the rolling credits did they mention Don McLean. They only credited him in the YouTube tag, like an afterthought.

You have to remember that each scene and image in the video is a direct representation of Don McLean’s innermost thoughts, which he poetically put into words and set to music. It is a little bit like setting War and Peace to movie and they forgot to mention Tolstoy. The video dedicated two full minutes of credits to corporate sponsors and every little minor person involved but no mention of Don McLean!

To me, this broke the camel’s back. Amidst the backdrop of massive looting of intellectual property, they kick the composer in the groin by not acknowledging him. If you’re not going to pay us, at least give us the credit!

I have been cognizant of the long and slow denigration of credits in a musical composition and performance on recorded music. If you download a track from iTunes, there is no information, even in the meta tags of who the composer is, much less the musicians involved. Gone are the days when you can read about other contributors such as the arranger or that inspired line from the bass player.

When I like a piece of music, I am very interested about the person who wrote it. He or she is a mystery to me. I am interested in getting to know a little bit about this individual who brought a little magic to my daily life. I mean, wouldn’t you be?

In this great information age where digital contents are measured in giga, tera and peta bytes, what is the excuse for not embedding a measly few kilobytes to credit the creator?

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