This is a continuation of my article on defining your unique position as a modern music producer. Here is some more food for thought:
Your client defines you
The reality is that most producers who are successful catch a break through a record or project they were part of which becomes the driver for their continued success. If we consider this point for a moment, we suddenly see how valuable it is to pair yourself to artists that ultimately will improve your position of notoriety within the industry or improve your financial status as a professional. Conversely we also now see how damaging it can be to attach yourself to a non productive artist.
If you feel that you are a producer of a high caliber, then the best way to reflect on your current business model is to review the clients you work with. Are they objectively good enough? Do they fit the market you are trying to break them into? Do they have the ability and willingness to adapt to survive? Have they demonstrated in kind by acknowledging the contribution you bring to their success? Has the possibility of a commercial opportunity significantly changed their tone when dealing with you professionally? These might seem like tough questions, but it is important to remember that a modern artist is out to get famous or signed, not to make their producer famous. The artist rightly comes first, and if the producer is doing their job correctly, the production notoriety will follow swiftly. So the question to ask yourself is this: are your current clients likely to provide the appropriate notoriety or financial gain for you if they were to become successful, or are you misusing your own time involving yourself in a mono directional music relationship?
It is often hard to keep objectivity with an artist over a long period of time, especially as you inevitably become more friendly with them. This is why the necessity to outline your position at the start of a venture is very important. If you agree and sign on something at the start, this provides traceable proof as well as bedding for a transparent production relationship and makes it easier to identify long-term roles in regards to the artist’s progression. My rule of thumb? Always aim for the best, and plan for the worst.
Pillar of confidence
Modern artists expect a lot from their producers. In a modern industry where producers are unfortunately more often than not viewed as a luxury, a producer needs to fill many roles. To be competitive, producers are not only expected to be songwriters, arrangers, mixing engineers and musicians, but also a liaison, a partner, a manager, a body guard, and voice of reason and hope in an often cold and calculated industry. If you are a business savvy producer, you are immediately and significantly more valuable than your next competitor. In a highly competitive industry where the pursuit of value for money is an increasingly relevant driver for artists, the person who can demonstrate the most competence in a range of jobs will prevail.
Prevailing means employment, security and ultimately a better quality of life as you pursue the art you love.
Denis Kilty is an Irish songwriter, music producer and mixing engineer based in Dublin. – www.deniskilty.com