Even with unprecedented access to the goings on of the music industry through journalism and social media, I still find myself surprised almost daily by little factoids about how things work when it comes to the back-end of making music.
For instance, earlier today (June 29) I read that Metro Boomin, one of hip-hop's most prolific producers, was somehow the top songwriter in the US for the first quarter of 2017. Essentially, this means that Metro was a part of more Billboard Hot 100 hits than anyone else through the first three months of 2017, and while I know he’s produced damn near every one of my favorite tracks so far this year, I was puzzled as to how that makes him the top songwriter.
Metro topped both Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran in an analysis by online royalty marketplace Royalty Exchange, which compiles placements on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and assigns a point value to them. Each No. 1 song is worth 1,000 points, with 10 points being deducted for each placement below that—the 100th song, for example, would be worth 10 points.
Through the first six months of 2017 alone, Metro has had a hand in five Top 10 records on Billboard’s Hot 100— Post Malone’s “Congratulations,” Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” Future’s “Mask Off,” Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision” and Big Sean’s “Bounce Back”—all of which have been certified Platinum at least once over. He’s also been involved in “no less than nine” Hot 100 hits over the last three months alone.
So how does a producer end up surpassing Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran as a songwriter?
Well, it turns out that for Metro Boomin, the two are one in the same. Whenever Metro produces a track, he automatically gets a songwriter credit, so although I’m sure he’s had a hand in penning a line or two on some of this year’s biggest smash records, the title of top songwriter doesn’t necessarily mean Metro was penning lyrics for every one of the hits he was involved in helping to create.
The way publishing works, in hip-hop anyway, is that anyone who could have conceivably contributed to the creation of a record is usually hit with a songwriter credit. This seems to be a catch-all remedy to defend against anyone who might have suggested a word while vibing in the studio and starts feeling litigious after the song becomes huge. With Metro, however, his role as producer is clearly more involved than just coming up with a fire instrumental and clocking out, so his songwriter credits are well-earned.
Metro might not be penning fire 16s, but his involvement as more than just a conductor of addictive beats has directly led to a vast majority of 2017’s most replayable hip-hop records.
Congratulations to Metro, I can't wait to hear what the rest of 2017 brings from one of hip-hop's most captivating producers.