Does "Composer" need to be legal name? [metadata]

I’ve gotten myself in a spin regarding Release Composer’s legal names on an upload.

Artist X has provided their legal name, Alan Human, on the wordpress submission. Under Release Composer they have put Artist X instead of Alan Human.

I reached out to double-check I should use Alan Human but they have concerns about privacy etc.

Is the Release Composer legal name at all made public at present?

Would this likely change in the future (e.g. with increased track/release credits display - would this automatically poll the release composer)?

What are our obligations regarding trying to make sure legal names are properly input? I presume this is all needed for royalties and collection agency stuff? It’s perfectly possible for an artist to have registered a pseudonym via collection agency and we can’t really check that? Once the upload tool is out in the wild we can’t control what people put in it anyway? Not everyone will be registered with collection agencies either? Is there any worse consequence than, if/when we’re tied in to collections agencies, things not matching up? Does it expose the coop to legal risk?

I think I’m massively over thinking this now but I’m down the wormhole so thought I might as well ask. @richjensen @sganesh I’m tagging you both as I think you’re pretty well versed with the collections agency side of things?

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I could use info on this as well. Moved your post to @Catalog’s workshop.

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i believe the composer name is either legal name or the name they are registered with at a collecting society.


I suppose it’s a silly question as it’s probably of little consequence, but what about where they’re not registered with a collecting society? Do we have any other obligations here or can an artist put whatever they want?

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Hi wanted to say the only reason I haven’t answered is I am just not sure—would default to melissa/rich on this/ we can only request the artist to do so/since they are the release composer, how they’re credited affects them specifically?

think the anonymity thing is interesting cause streaming services now have composer names publicly displayed (tho tucked away slightly by ui)


So sorry @sganesh , I totally confused your role with melissa :man_facepalming:

Anonymity isn’t necessarily difficult here, e.g., I checked U2 on Tidal and Bono and The Edge are credited as Bono and The Edge. It’s perfectly possible to register pseudonyms with collections agencies etc.

I think what threw me was simply, on the metadata spreadsheet and upload dashboard, Release Composer is required and it says it should be a legal name. But… does it actually need to be a legal name?

For (so called) ‘professional’ releases this seems straightforward to me - legal name, pseudonym, whatever you use with your label/distributer/collections agency etc.

Outside of those professional frameworks I was left wondering if there were any other considerations/implications, or whether ‘Release Composer’ could be anything and everything.

I don’t think this is a big deal (unless anyone has another take on why it actually needs to be a legal name) but maybe the guidance notes/help text needs tweaking once the upload dashboard is fully public facing and artists are navigating it themselves.


Yes, you can register with an “artist name” at a collection society - like bono or the edge. So a composer can also be an official (artist) name, but that might not be the one on a birth certificate. There’s no reason why resonate should be insisting on a legal name - perhaps it’s clumsy wording and “official name” could be better.

Composer name is generally used if the legal name is different from the artist name and the artist name is not officially listed somewhere like a collection society. But there are plenty of composers where they would use their artist name everywhere.

There are of course the case where the composer is different to the artist, eg. a classical artist performing a classical work.

The issue for a lot of artist’s is that their name isn’t unique…
eg. Artist name is Cookie Monster. Real name Fred Smith.
But there are 20 Cookie Monsters in discogs.
Having the composer name, as well as the artist name, makes it more likely Fred Smith gets paid properly. But if Fred Smith is registered at GEMA as Cookie Monster, his composer name could also be Cookie Monster.
Where you only to give a DSP the name Cookie Monster, and nothing else, and there are 6 other Cookie Monsters - that doesn’t mean an artist doesn’t get their earnings, but they have to take extra care to ensure that all the correct tracks and releases are associated with their name and account, and not the wrong Cookie Monster.

In the case where privacy or security are an issue, say you are Russian making anti-war metal, then associating your real name with the artist name is an issue, and you are unlikely to have this connection also at any PROs. The system has not been designed to protect artists and their privacy though - it’s something I would recommend we consider as part of the back end rebuild, to ensure artists can use Resonate in safety and with anonymity. Resonate should also not be in a position to compromise these artists in any way.

Resonate doesn’t need to make ‘composer’ public - only the artist name is public usually. And in general, as part of our more advanced metadata handling, artists should be able to say whether we make all the metadata public or just parts of it - like writer, musicians, engineer, drums etc. I don’t really understand why other DSPs are making composer public now - I will look into it when I have time, there must be an underlying reason.


Thanks this is great, confirms a bunch of stuff I thought I kinda knew but wasn’t 100% sure on.

Absolutely love this thinking :+1:

Agree, this is super important. I’m quite keen on e.g., Tidal’s quite detailed song credits, but any move on our part to increase the visibility of of such credits should be consensual and have granular control.

I’ll have a think about tweaking the wording on the submission forms and/or uploader guidance to make this all clear.