These are the 8 reasons why the death of the music industry (as we know it) wont kill off music producers. They shall live for ever.
1. Music producers spark creativity.
It happened when Jay-Z went into the studio and heard Kanye West’s indelible master mix of Bobby Blue Bland’s, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.” It happened when Timbaland took an unknown pop group on My Space, added his productive flare, synonymous with perfection, to their debut single, “Apologize”, and made it a three-times platinum hit in the U.S. The “it” refers to creativity. Producers, whether in the basement of their homes or a posh office building in Manhattan, spark creativity in the artist. Their ability to mix sounds and create beats is the formula for the “musical coffee” needed to wake a song up!
2. Producing is not just for songs.
A producer provides a creative box or formula for an artist to work with, yet, ironically, their craft envelopes a broad spectrum of creativity. They are constantly thinking and performing outside of the box. The skill of a producer allows them to explore, create, and master production throughout many diverse facets of entertainment. From the score of a major motion picture, to the crash sequence of sounds in a popular video game, neither would be complete without their touch.
3. Record sales are on the decline, but producers’ royalties do not reflect the current market.
The NPD Group, a leading consumer sales tracking company, reported music acquisition increased 6 percent in 2007. However, 48 percent of teens (who purchase most of the music) did not purchase a single CD in the same year (NPD Group Press Release Feb 2008). Digital music acquisition only accounted for 10 percent of music sales in 2007. With that said, there is plenty of music still being recorded, but the sell of it continues to decline. What does this mean to the producer? There will always be music to produce no matter how many people want to buy it.
4. Producers control the fad in music.
This should be so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated. But it does. We have the Minneapolis manipulated sounds of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to thank for the 1980’s. We all hailed Prince’s reign, asked Morris Day, “What Time is it?”, and stood in awe as little Penny from “Good Times,” (Ms. Jackson if ya Nasty!) took “Control.” Teddy Riley infected the early 90’s with the New Jack Swing and had everyone dancing to the “Rump Shaker” influenced beats. Though we’ve only named a few, lest we not forget Dr. Dre who gave us the West Coast invasion of the “G-Funk” (Gangster Funk) sound. Fast forward to the 21st Century and the music industry has witnessed the infectious influence of too many producers to name, from Kanye West, to N.E.R.D, to Will.I.AM, to Dark Child across not only Hip Hop, but all genres of music.
5. Its all relative…and so are producers.
Producers are the chameleons of the music industry. They are not only able to adapt their style to whatever is relevant to the times, but are also able to overcome and change a style that is not conducive to the making of beautiful music. For example, if the current style of music is in need of an extreme makeover, all it takes is one producer to inject his or her sound into the mix of any genre. If the sound is hot, it sets the standard. The same is true if the sound of the times is already hot. A producer can make beats that are in line with the standard his colleagues have already set. Any music lover can relate.
6. We are privy to all of the latest technology to enhance our craft.
Technology has a strong influence on a producer’s ability to create a new sound. The industry has evolved from analog equipment and instruments to all digital. Producers use sophisticated equipment to perfect a sophisticated sound for their artists. Because of the constant changes in technology, they are able to capitalize on the best possible sound production.
7. Artists come often, but a great producer comes few and far between.
The fact of the matter is many can write a hit song, some even have the talent to sing, rap, or play an instrument fairly well. But there is a reason why producers can charge a rate equivalent to the average American’s yearly salary just to produce one song. The reason is not all songs are great. The current state of music today is indicative of this fact. One doesn’t have to be a great singer or song writer to have a hit. But you must have great production. How many times have you cringed at the lyrics of a song or rap, but could not help but bob your head to the beat? Our ears have the beat creators to thank for that.
8. “With this beat, I thee wed.” Everyone needs production.
The relationship between an artist and a producer is a lot like a marriage. Without the producer, a song is just a few words on paper with a melody. A video game is just a cartoon. A movie with no score is just a play. For these reasons and many more, music needs production to be complete.