Producers

Today I want to start a short series looking at some of the supporting roles in the industry.

Producers work in the studio. They are responsible for producing a project on time and within budget. They have the final decision on which songs are recorded and how they are recorded (what studios and instruments, etc.)

They are responsible for technical (recording and mixing, where they will most likely be assisted by an engineer in larger studios), financial and man management issues. Part of the producer’s job is to control the sessions. He can overrule band member’s decisions (although if the artist is a big name this is less likely to happen). If band members aren’t performing to standard or are unreliable the producer can replace them with session musicians. Producers can work in a number of different ways.

Scenario 1
The producer is employed by the record company or recording studio and paid fixed wages. He will have a budget for each project. His work will be monitored.

Scenario 2
The producer is freelance (self employed) and hired by the record company for a particular project. He is given a budget but is under the guidance of the record company. If they are not happy with what he produces he will not be employed again. Record company executives are likely to drop in and monitor what he is doing.

Scenario 3
The producer is self-employed and finances his own projects. He may own his own studio and/or record company. Once finished he uses his industry contacts or “shops around” to get the record released.

Scenario 4
These days the producer is sometimes also the artist e.g. Jay Z, DJ Fresh

Producers (certainly in scenarios 1 and 2) are generally paid on a points system. The number of points given depends on the individual agreement but the producer’s bargaining power and therefore his value is determined by his reputation. Each point equates to a percentage of the artist’s royalties and is deducted from those artist royalties. In other words, the more the producer gets, the less the artist gets.

OK. That’s enough for today. Next time, managers, promoters and tour managers

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