The modern producer is some what different to the producer found in the early 90’s. Often swapping expensive analogue recording gear for a laptop and interface. This is great but it does pose a problem. Now anyone and everyone can be a producer, thus saturating a market that was originally very difficult to be a part of. In many respects this is great as now everyone can try their hand at music production. Some of the most creative electronic producers may not have been able to make the investment into a large analogue studio but do have a laptop and can download some free software to see if it is for them. If this wasn’t now so easy and accessible these producers may never have entered the industry.
As a music producer in today’s modern age you will be expected to take on a lot of roles yourself. For instance self promotion and building your own network of fans via social media is something that is a must nowadays. You may also be required to design your own artwork so a good grasp of photoshop or other editing software is required. Branding is incredibly important. A catchy name and logo will do wonders for your brand. A helpful tip I always advise producers to do is not to think of yourself as a producer. Think of yourself as a brand and a business that people are going to buy into. For instance when approaching a record label approach them in a similar way you would approach a business meeting at a top city job. You walk in with a well prepared presentation showcasing exactly what you have to offer. Approach a label in a similar way. An email with a branded header, well laid out detailed information about yourself and your plans for your track. Show them you are a worthy member of their team and an asset.
Starting a record label 15+ years ago wasn’t easy. Foundations had to laid and a lot of prep work needed to be done including lining up vinyl and cd distribution. Nowadays it’s possible to set your label up over night. This is a great thing but you will find its not so lucrative as it used to be. Instead of having let’s say 50 successful labels per genre you now have 100,000 unsuccessful labels due to the fact that labels are so easy to set up. In theory all you need is a facebook page and a status saying I’m starting a label and it’s off you go into the world of a label owner.
Being signed to a label now has really been devalued. Its always great to get a track signed and released you can’t knock that. But what does it actually mean? It means that a label will simply get your track into download stores. Which you could do yourself for £5 using pay per track distribution. More often than not you are then expected to do the majority of the promotion. Don’t look at signing to a label as your going to become an instant star. Look at it as association and the respect you will gain from fans for releasing on this label. Choose a label wisely. Don’t so much chase the money chase the exposure you will gain from releasing on this label. For instance if you were to sign with a label that has 100 facebook likes and 20 Twitter followers your track may only be heard by 100 people and sell a few copies. If you are releasing on a label with a larger amount of followers chances are you’ll reach a wider audience and maybe not sell more units ( which should never be the goal ) but gain more fans and respect for your art. If you are releasing on a label that has a low reach and a low amount of exposure gain, why not release this track on your own independent label. You will have full control over the release and learn a lot along the way. You may not make many sales but who cares. You produced a track and released a quality product into the market off your own back. Things don’t happen over night. Keep releasing music. Build a fan base. Build a team of artists and musicians who will all move forward together. Socialise via social networks. Work together to make something special and memorable.
Pros to being a producer in 2015:
- Anyone with a laptop or computer can now become a music producer.
- Instant recall of sessions in your daw.
- Quick easy to use plugins.
- Start your own record label quick and easy.
- Easy distribution outlets set up in a matter of hours.
- Learn a wide range of skills not only music related.
- Online tutorials.
- Helpful engineers who will give you advice on your production.
- Vocal samples and Acapella’s easily downloadable from websites.
- Exposure to as many people you can reach through social media and forums.
Cons to being a producer in 2015:
- You are not only a music producer, you are also expected to be your very own promoter, distributor, artist, media guru, web designer, photographer and many more.
- Over saturated market meaning your up against a million over artists.
- Most artists are using similar vst instruments meaning being unique and having your own sound is very hard to achieve.
- When you do find your sound it’s copied by another artist within a week.
- Your music is now only worth 79p or less.
- With streaming sites becoming the norm and internet connections being with most people 24/7 why buy or download a track when you can stream it anywhere any time.
- Physical products are less and less the norm, made way for digital downloads, meaning it’s increasingly more difficult to make your music valuable and rare.
- Digital downloads have turned an otherwise rare run of 1000 vinyl copies into unlimited copies through download. ( could also be a pro depends on how you look at it )
- It’s harder now more than ever to get your music heard, with Djs receiving hundreds of tracks a week requested to be played on radio shows.
- Having a live act is expected of a music producer, be it djing or live band.
- You can’t rely on your music being your only selling point, now you must have an online fan base and following in order to get signed to a major.