Over the last few years, I've noticed a substantial increase of requests from my clients' publishers requiring that we revisit songs we've produced featuring fade-outs and rearrange these outros with defined musical "full stop" endings. These we feel are interesting requests as my clients and I choose to produce certain songs with fade-outs as some songs (genre, mood and lyric specific) need this musical production method to help aid a song's journey through to close - fade-outs have always been a great way of keeping things open ended.
For me, the choice to use a fade-out in production is a musical decision that we make in pre-production & arrangement stages. If we decide we are producing a song with a fade-out we often do not even write and record instrument parts that "full-stop" musically. When requests come through asking for us to redefine the outro of a song from fade-out to full stop it does present quite a few challenges in getting the newly written ending to sound intentional both emotionally and technically.
Why Use Fade-Out Outros?
Fade-outs are a great way of keeping a story and emotion in a song open-ended. Fade-outs are also great for teasing listeners into wanting a bit more from a song and soundscape. I'm a big fan of music by Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Bob Marley, The Beach Boys and The Beatles - these bands produced fade-outs (and sometimes fade-ins) a lot in their music. Pick a song you like and know well that features a well thought out and placed fade-out - If that song didn't have a fade-out would the entire journey of that song still grab you attention? I reckon if half of Pink Floyd's music didn't feature a fade-out it wouldn't be so exciting to listen to.
Why Not Record Defined Ending As A Backup?
This is a process that I've had to start doing as I'm getting a bit tired of having to recut outros from stratch to meet publisher demands. This I feel is a shame as I believe the fade-out will soon be, if it isn't already, a thing of the past in "pop music" along with extended guitar solos and well-written concept albums... just to name a few.
Take The Poll - Is The Fade-Out Dead?
I'm not saying for one moment that I prefer fade-outs to full stop endings, what I'm trying to get across in this article is that I feel fade-outs are still an important production tool in today's music. It's just a shame popular culture want rid of it.