20 Feet From Stardom

Backing vocalists are without a doubt underrated artists. This wonderful documentary tells the story of backup singers, their trials and tribulations, the quest for recognition of some and the need for anonymity of others. Backup vocalist’s performances are protected under Dutch law in the Neighbouring Rights Act. After seeing this documentary one cannot help but wonder in which cases backing vocalists should or could (also) be considered authors. Vocalists such as Lisa Fischer are certainly able to add a personal stamp to a track. Whether or not a backing vocalist’s contribution is of the kind which would grant them author’s rights, will depend on the musical facts. It is a thought worth pondering…


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