How Beyonce’s ‘Alien Superstar’ Got 24 Writers? Here’s how, Diane Warren.

On Monday, Diane Warren woke up on Twitter and chose violence ask“How can a song possibly have 24 authors?” Although she emphasized her question with a prominent eye-rolling emoji, she insisted follow up tweets“It’s not a shadow, I’m just curious.”

While Warren didn’t name anyone, Beyhive quickly started swarming, speculating that the legendary composer was referring to “Alien Superstar,” a standout track from Beyoncé’s seventh studio album regenerationof which there are exactly 24 authors.

The virtual attack on Warren was quick, stinging, and at times simply mean, with some Beyoncé fans trying to provide a “helpful” primer on the song sample business, while others bullied her outright. In her favor — or possibly against her, depending on how you look at the Twitter spat — Warren tries to hit back, bragging”23 moreThe writer deserves more credit than her songs, and she’s known for writing on her own. But after the initial onslaught, she tries to quell the madness, in another tweet“Well, what increases the number of authors is the probability sample.”

Of course, Warren — who has written hits for everyone from Celine Dion to Cher to Beyoncé herself — knows this. She is not stupid. She knows how music law works and is well aware of the creative process of sampling the business and collaborating, even if it’s not the way she chooses to work. She might just feel mean and think she’s going to try to make a point, as annoying as that is.

However, the growing trend surrounding “alien superstars” and popular songwriter committees continues, regeneration collaborator dream participationand countless others giving their opinions on the issue at hand: how were able A song has 24 authors?

The simple answer is, yes, it’s because of the samples. If you sample or insert multiple songs in a new recording, all those original authors and those who contributed to the new song will be the album regeneration– Beyoncé used lots of samples and interpolation to create rich soundscapes – lots of credit on hand.

“It’s a lot more meaningful than people on social media think. Beyoncé sampled three different songs, so she had to include all the songwriters for all three. That’s why there are 24,” Brooklyn Entertainment attorney Adam Friedman explained.

Let’s break down “alien giants”. The track begins with a sample of the 2008 song “Moonraker” by John Michael Holiday, the foremost poet, and ends with author and teacher Barbara Ann Thiel ( The spoken portion of Barbara Ann Teer’s 1973 lecture “Black Theater.” Harlem’s Negro National Theater was founded in the 1960s. Then, in the song itself, Beyoncé sings Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” “I’m Too Classy for the World, Forever I’ll Be That Girl.” The three samples add up to There are seven famous writers.

Beyonce working with a group of collaborators is nothing new.In fact, we almost had this conversation in 2016, when she posted lemonadeThe album has 72 songwriters, plus Beyoncé, in its credits, generating many reflections on whether her work was diminished by recruiting so many co-conspirators.

But really, it’s all less about artistic integrity and more about something admittedly less sexy: intellectual property law. Its roots largely go back to 1991, when two seminal (and very costly) court cases changed our definition of songwriting. That year, the Turtles won a sampling lawsuit with hip-hop duo De La Soul, who had to pay the band $1.7 million. Biz Markie then had to pay Gilbert O’Sullivan $250,000 in damages later that year in another lawsuit. Both cases clearly show that the act of sampling has power over the sampler, and in the end, the solution is that the author of the sampled song must be relegated to the songwriter of the new work.

Taken together, the sheer numbers of “alien superstars” may not actually be the best for everyone involved. “Music in the streaming world can be very lucrative, but when you start to really separate it, it quickly becomes very small,” said Karl Fowlkes, a New York-based entertainment and business attorney.

Speaking of “Alien Superstar,” Fowlkes explained, “A lot of people probably only have 1% of their work on this song. The bucket isn’t that big. There’s probably a lead producer or two on the song, you have to Tell them, ‘Hey, I know you made this record, but you’re only going to get, say, 5% of the publishing.'” (Still, as Friedman points out, “Even the one that gets 1 billion streams 2% of Beyoncé songs would also make me a lot of money.”)

Even 2% of a Beyonce song that gets 1 billion streams would make me a fortune.

Fox Compares ‘Alien Superstar’ Situation to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Die Hard,’ the Rapper’s Most Recent Album Mr Morale and the Great Infantry. That song has two samples and 14 famous writers, including one represented by Fowlkes. “A lot of people will say, ‘Please throw that song away because it’s too complicated.’ But Beyoncé and Kendrick can do whatever they want,” he said, adding that the legal headaches of sampling are easier for larger artists like them to deal with.and because it Yes Using multiple samples in a song was so annoying, he didn’t foresee it becoming a trend in the music industry.

“In terms of the sample that resulted in 24 songwriters, that didn’t happen much. It was a bad business move because everyone got less of the pie. I don’t think that’s our trend. I know there’s some data that says there are more songwriters per song now, but you’re talking about five or six or seven, not more than 10,” he said. “Producers may be relying on royalties for their income, so imagine telling the producer that they actually made most of the record, but there are two samples in it…it’s not profitable. It doesn’t make sense.”

All legal red tape aside, one could say Beyonce’s sampling tendencies regeneration It should actually be a celebratory point. An ode to the history of black and queer music, Beyoncé uses the album to honor some of the artists responsible for that history — liner notes include legendary prom DJ MikeQ, dancehall pioneer Vjuan Allure, drag icon Kevin Aviance and Works by Moi Renee et al. And “Alien Fest” is perhaps the clearest example of a nod to dancehall culture: a bold, self-celebrating anthem that makes you think the more creative influences involved, the better the music.

“Maybe she wants to rely on them to do the right thing,” Freedman noted, adding that Beyoncé clearly seeks to give credit where it’s due, which is actually a rarity in the hip-hop world, where , cleaning samples are “handled more leniently” than other types.

“I work mostly in hip-hop, and most artists don’t clean up everything beforehand and do it right,” he said. “They’ll wait until you find out and approach them. Like, Migos put out an album, and they didn’t pay the producers before the release. It’s always after.

“The main reason why people are proactively asking to clear a song is to negotiate a lower-than-requested rate,” Friedman explained, adding that Beyoncé might be ahead of it, “because she’s ultimately just such a big business. I think Beyoncé is doing everything right and people are trying to turn it into a controversy.”

Although we don’t know her specific contribution to “Alien Fest” or any other track regeneration— like whether she wrote the whole poem or just tweaked a word in the booth — Fox said it would be foolish to question her writing credit on all the tracks on the album. “Beyoncé is the one who sings this song all over the world. Her brand equity gives even publication any value. So if she writes half a lyric or 10 bars on it, she makes sense.”

For her part, Warren eventually changed her mind, questioning the list of “alien superstars” and the superstar at the center, tweet“Well, I have no intention of disrespecting @Beyoncé who I work with and admire. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”

We have to imagine that Bey doesn’t mind; as she herself tells us in “Alien Fest,” she’s still “talking nonsense.”


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