CD-Text Composer vs Songwriter context

CD-Text fields include both Songwriter and Composer as separate entries. I did some queries in Google and found quite a bit of philosophical discussion on the differences in defining each term. I also realize that the CD-Text database indexes are a fairly recent creation driven by the music/entertainment industry which assumes that each of the stages in the production of a musical work are distributed/assigned to many, many more titled individuals than in Mozart’s time (apparently thanks to Sir Robert Russell Bennett). So, I realize that the current hollywood/music industry view is that everything needs a publisher, orchestrator, arranger, producer, etc. but going through piles of non-pop music, I am puzzled as to how I should interpret completing the CD-text info.

Should the Lyricist be used as the songwriter and the composer be just the writer of the music? I’m looking at standard religious music here, like Hark the Herald Angels Sing, or Now Thank We All Our God - songs that have known tunesmith and lyricist.

I just find ‘songwriter’ totally useless as a role. Either they wrote the music, or they are an arranger of someone elses music … which is a field not tracked by CD-Text.


If this is really for the physical CD, I wouldn’t worry about it, since players that will show this info are very hard (maybe not at all) to find.

I agree with you that ‘songwriter’ is a very bad term, implying in my view composer plus lyricist in one (as is usually true for the limited group of singer/songwriters). I usually - not only for CD-Text - leave tags open that haven’t had a different person responsible for it. Also because this is relevant to who gets which cut of royalties. I don’t know exactly which tags are offered in CD-Text (since I usually don’t bother for that), but if you need to distinguish between lyricist and composer, I think the best compromise would be indeed to use Songwriter and Composer.