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Let's talk about record producers (Page 3 of 3)
(c) 2002 Myles Wakeham

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As its pretty easy for anyone to say "I want to produce your CD", you have to identify what that really means. Does this mean that someone who likes your music wants to assist you in the recording of it, or does it mean that someone wants to offer you a direct link between your art and a record label that makes sense for you to work with? Its helpful to have someone on the outside offer their suggestions for the recording of your music. In fact, I would suggest that its critical. But unless this person has the capability of ensuring that your CDs will be distributed to the marketplace, and the best way to ensure this is through their stake in the project and their existing relationships with record labels, then the value of the person's contribution may be more along the lines of a "creative consultant" to the project and less along the lines of "producer". You might want to be careful how you remunerate this person based on their work.

Additionally, if a person is taking credit for the production of the recording but either had no financial stake in the recording process, offered no assistance in arrangements or song structure, or offered no link with the record labels that can sell your art to the public, it may be wise not to nominate that person as "producer". In my experience, often recording studios who are paid to record something for someone are given default credit as producers, where in fact the artist has self-produced their own recording if they paid for their own recording time. Also many record labels are wary of entering into record deals that involve inheriting the "back catalog" or older recordings of the artist, if they feel that there may be other parties that have a vested interest and may encumber the artist. Self production is a valuable asset in these situations.

At the end of the day, its not about who does what but the quality of the end product. That's the most critical part of the music. I am a solid believer that a great song will shine through regardless of the quality of its recording. But there is a certain quality level that consumers have come to expect and this quality level is often best policed by someone outside of the artistic creation. The quality reflects in suitability for the art to be sold to the consumer marketplace (ie. Song length, hooks, etc.) but also in arrangement (ie. What instrumentation has been used and when) and also fidelity (the quality of the recording itself).

Additionally it would be a crime to have a great song be reduced in its value through poor production. I have found this happen over and over. This is something that a producer can be a critical factor on the recording of music.

You don't need to have a producer involved from the start with your project. But if you are serious about securing a recording contract, a producer with existing contacts and a history with a record label is a big bonus in ensuring that your music can reach the widest audience possible - ideally the world.

 

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