Is a Music Producer Relevant in the Digital Age?
Have you ever wondered what a music producer does for an artist? How do you know if you should hire one? And how well crafted does your song need to be before hiring one? Are Music Producers relevant in the Digital Age? Can AI create your song?
The role of producer in music is key to an artist’s success. Whether it’s writing tracks and lyrics, mixing songs, or managing artists – producers are the backbone behind many great musicians. Some of the most memorable moments in music have been led by a visionary producer. Artists like Dua Lipa, The Beatles, The Beastie Boys, Kanye West and Michael Jackson have all benefited from the objective ear that an intelligent producer.
In the east, the Guru cultivates a relationship with their students. This involves years of development and coaching. During that time, songs can be developed and Ideas ar prepared for the production stage. This exercise in providing objectivity and learning is just one of the benefits that a good producer can provide. Much like the eastern Guru, the producer uses unorthodox methods to bring out the best from the Artist.
Rick Rubin is known for this kind of mystique. Much of Jay-Z''s success has been attributed to the experiences that he received through interacting with Rick. Those experiences helped Jay Z grow into a producer in his own right. What sets Rick apart from Jay-Z is Rick's broader scope of musical awareness. Though Jay-Z helped Beyonce rise, Rick Rubin has worked with so many kinds of musical artists from so many genres. Rick was able to bring life back to a Johnny Cash.
Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty with Alex Plays (Alexander Adhami)
All of these artists had to start somewhere. Most pop music starts with some kind of beat, rhyme or melody. If it comes from a musician, it might have an underlying guitar or piano part to keep the harmony in place. The lyrics may come first, or the melody; there is no set way to create the magic of music. This really depends on the musician's training and the style of music that is being created. A Rapper or Dj/Producer may draw from rhythmical inspiration, driving a story with words and melody. The entrancing poetry set to a highly crafted beat and melody can convey a message more profoundly than the worlds alone. Usually, the best artist cultivation comes through a community of like minded artists. Going to an open mic is one way to get started. Eventually, studio time is needed to try out new ideas. The Recoding studio is like a science laboratory. When the right scientist come together, explosive ideas can happen. Even an incredibly gifted Aritst like Eminem needed a great producer like Dr. Dre can help launch the artist to a higher dimension.
Melodic music requires a different process. Though both Rap and Sung Songs require a high level of performance, ear training and vocal technique require knowledge of the art & science of music. Joining a band can help. This did a lot for the Beatles. What made the music shine brighter was the addition of a producer that had developed technical skills. For someone like George Martin or Dr. Dre to come in and help, there needs to be some form of a song. The song should have had some time to be tested in front of an audience. A good sign is if children automatically dance to sway to a song. Music speaks to the heart.
The music producer in the age of technology merges technical know how with emotional intelligence. In the early days of multi-track recording, the producer managed the production workflow, song arranging, musical direction and even could be involved in the branding of the music itself. George Martin was a gifted musician and arranger. Most of the production magic that is memorable had a lot to do with his objectivity and ability to see things that the artists could not. Some even considered him the 5th Beatle, though Billy Preston had also earned that distinction for his soulful keyboard contributions on later studio releases before the Beatles broke up. Regardless, George Martin in many ways taught the artists aspects of music that would not have been available without him. Having the insight to request another performance, to approve of a recording or to rearrange musical ideas that are too "close" to the hearts of the artist/creator, is why a music producer is essential.
Now that there are so many options for recording ideas, artists are self producing their own compositions. This approach is possible for some artists if their musical and technical skills are advanced. When the production workflow stops an artist from recording their best performance, this is where a good producer can inspire the better results. There is no amount of AI that can respond to the need of an artist. A producer requires emotion intelligence and a high level of creativity.
Most successful production require teams of people. If you are not convinced, take a look at how many people made Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia possible. The interaction between creative minds somehow elevates the final product. This is why some musicians credit everyone involved during the creation process. Music Producers in the Digital Age do have a lot more tools to draw better performances from an artist. Technology itself can never make the feeling happed. There are unspoken human cues that make music the most powerful form of communication.
A good producer also has access to the right marketing tools, SEO and unique ideas for promoting the music via social media. Anything is possible with the right budget.
In addition to assisting artists with their content, producers have an important role in helping artists refine their sound and increase their popularity through strategic planning. This can include advertising and marketing plans or even business plans for live performances. Having a pulse of what the public come from an eclectic sense of the music business. Though digital technology has played a role in making the production process easier, the insight and vision always come from the talent that is behind great music. Artists thrive when the right people are aligned with them.
Alex Plays (Alexander Adhami) is the Creative Director of iFixYourMix