Here’s Why Criticizing Beyoncé for Working with Songwriters Is Ignorant
It shows a lack of understanding of art, and also intellectual property law. And it‘s probably racist, too.
All the same, it is fair to wonder why so many people get songwriting credits on Beyoncé’s new album. A closer look at just who gets them is revealing. Consider the song “Don’t Hurt Yourself.”
The list of writers includes Jack White of the White Stripes, the songwriter Wynter Gordon, Beyoncé, and a quartet of highly unlikely collaborators, including one, John Bonham, who died in 1980. Led Zeppelin obviously did not sit down with Beyoncé to write a song in 2016. They recorded “When the Levee Breaks” in 1971, and Beyoncé sampled a few seconds of it in “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” Led Zeppelin did not write the song either. Kansas Joe McCoy and his wife, Memphis Minnie, wrote it in 1929.
The reason that the members of Led Zeppelin—and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Animal Collective, and other bands—get a writing credit on the new Beyoncé album, even though that “credit” could be intended to cover a similar sounding line, has nothing to do with art and everything to do with intellectual-property law. In 1991, two lawsuits changed the course of hip-hop and re-wrote the definition of songwriter, so that the band Animal Collective gets a songwriting credit on Lemonade because one of the songwriters unconsciously borrowed(and modified) a single line from a song.
in short: stfu.