The amount of people it takes to make the song in the first place!
We’ve all heard the joke ‘How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?’ but how about this one:
‘How many people does it take to make a smash hit song?’
What would your answer be? 1? 5? 10? Well, when it comes to Travis Scott’s ‘Sicko Mode’, the answer is a staggering 30! Yes, you heard that right; 3-0!
Sicko Mode, which came out in August last year, hit the coveted Number 1 spot in the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart and has stayed there every week since. Scott also performed this track at the half-time Superbowl, gaining further exposure and traction. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
But is it normal to have so many contributors to one song? 30 is probably one of the highest figures we have seen in the industry, but it’s not as unusual as you think.
Many of us don’t see how much work goes into making a hit record and many certainly don’t look up how many creditors there are. But if you did (like we do on a daily basis) then you’d probably be surprised. Infact, the average number of contributors to a Top 10 track last year was 9. It’s easy to think that the song simply belongs to the artist who sings it, but for the majority of songs this is not the case. Each track requires a team of producers, songwriters, and of course the artists themselves, to name a few.
When clearing music, there are 2 main music rights that must be cleared before use; one being the Publishing Rights (the musical composition) and the other being the Master Rights (the recording). You must obtain approval from ALL Rightsholders involved in the work, before use.
Let’s take a closer look at Sicko Mode and who helped to create it.
The track starts by switching between three different beats created by six different producers. In addition to three guest vocalists, one of which is rapping superstar Drake, another that utters only three words and one that has been dead for 13 years — it includes two vocals sampled from landmark rap songs that are themselves packed with further samples from 1970’s funk bands and, just for good measure, a handful of other landmark rap songs. Scott raps three words “Gimme the Loot” and as a result, 14 different people earn credits. Scott is quoting 1994’s “Gimme the Loot” by the Notorious B.I.G. and includes a sample from it, so Biggie and the producer Easy Mo Bee get credit. You get the picture.
* = splits are subject to change depending on territory and assignment of writers rights.
** = specific writer’s split information unknown, ClicknClear estimate used in graphic.
There’s been a shifting trend towards such collabs on popular music found in the charts today, making it increasingly difficult to license their work for use in anything but more importantly, in your mixes. That’s because whenever a song is licensed you need to get permission from every person involved in the track.
So, in order for you to license ‘Sicko Mode’ for your mix, you would need a license from every one of the rightsholders; all 30 of the writers, regardless of if you use 5 seconds or 2 minutes of the song, or how much they own of the track (two writers own 0.13%), plus then the master owner (which is usually a record label)! You need to do this for every track used in your mix.
Seems like a lot of work, right?
Well that is why ClicknClear has done deals with over 100 rightsholders, including major record labels and publishers such as Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing, BMG and more, to clear every track on our platform. Every new deal we sign clears more tracks for license. The result? Access to a constantly growing catalog of 100% legal and music for your mixes available for immediate license and download direct from the music industry, with all the rights you need for cheerleading mixes.
Find out more about music licensing and what’s involved here.
Any questions? We’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org