Music Producers: What They Do and How to Find One

by Robin Frederick

If you’re an artist or band making an Indie CD or EP, or a songwriter recording a master to pitch to film and TV, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about hiring that magical, mystical creature called “The Music Producer.”

So… how does that work? What does a music producer do? How do you know if you’ve found the right one? Where do you find one? Let’s begin with the most basic question and go from there.

What do you want from a producer?

Start by asking what it is you want a producer to do for you. There’s probably a range of things. Among them, maybe you want a producer to…

  • Help you define your style and find your genre
  • Make your song sound like a hit
  • Co-write a hit song with you
  • Advise you on the music business
  • Walk your song into a record label, publisher, or music supervisor when it’s done

Is this realistic? Is there any producer who can really do these things for you? Probably not, at least not now. A producer can add to your effort but cannot replace a solid foundation, laid down by you, before you ever start looking. Without that foundation, there’s no way to know what kind of producer you’re looking for.

 Lay your foundation

There are several things you should do before you start the hunt for a producer. Unfortunately, too often we hope that someone else will do them for us. But these are a crucial part of your job as a songwriter or artist.

➤ 1. Know your market and audience

Who will you be playing these songs for? Will you be pitching them to a music publisher for established artists? Pitching to film and TV? To a label as an artist? Are you building up your fan base on YouTube? Selling this CD or EP at live gigs?

Of course, you could be doing all of these, but one or two will be more important than the rest. Think about that audience and what appeals to them right now. Make a list of  artists or bands that are successful in those markets. Continue reading “Music Producers: What They Do and How to Find One”

Break Through to Songwriting Success

Seems I’ve heard from a lot of songwriters and composers lately who are feeling frustrated.  Their careers haven’t gotten off the ground or they’re stalled at a level that isn’t really satisfying. Over and over, I hear things like…

frustrated-songwriter

  • I’m not getting the kind of response from the music industry I deserve.
  • I spend hours on my music but I’m not making any money.
  • They keep telling me my music is dated.
  • I’m doing the best I can. I guess I just don’t have enough talent.

I know how awful it feels to be in that place. But there’s really a very straightforward process for getting beyond these problems. It takes focus, determination, and effort. But If you’re willing to do that then you can get where you want to go.

So let’s cut to the chase… Everything you need to know to be a successful songwriter is right in front of you. If you study successful songs and instrumentals and use them to help you discover new techniques and choices to use in your own songs, you’ll break through.

Once you know what’s working for today’s listeners and the music industry and you can create original, authentic material in one of these styles, you’ll find you have an open door into the offices of music publishers and Film/TV music supervisors. They need this music and you’d be surprised how many ways there are to get it to them. But you need to have the goods first, before you approach them. Continue reading “Break Through to Songwriting Success”

Raw Sound for a Slick TV Commercial

Dior J'Adore ad

Here’s a luxury perfume commercial (Dior) using a song with a raw Indie vibe. The song is “Heavy Cross” by  three-piece Rock band Gossip. Listen to the song and notice how the electric guitar is used to create contrast between sections and drive the beat. The drums back up the guitar in a tight arrangement that adds plenty of punch. No big synthesizer string sections, no horns, no orchestra banging in and out, It’s just raw, good-ol’ Rock energy.

Watch the commercial on YouTube.

The vocal
The band’s singer, Beth Ditto, delivers attitude and power and she has a solid sense of pitch. You could record an edgy Rock song like this with either a male or female vocal. The singer’s personality and energy level will need to match the track, but pitch may not be such a big issue. Think of the Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light” album. There’s a lot of that influence here, especially in the guitar tracks. David Byrne’s vocals are expressive and full of character and energy; vocal pitch is definitely secondary.

Instrumental pitches
You could pitch a track like this as an instrumental and it would be a great match for many Continue reading “Raw Sound for a Slick TV Commercial”

Basic Broadcast Quality for Film & TV

If you’re pitching your songs to the fast growing film and TV song market – or thinking about it, which you should be! – there is one challenge that seems to overwhelm a lot of songwriters: Broadcast Quality recordings. It may seem like big a deal but it really isn’t. Read on!

For the film & TV song market, your song (or instrumental track) will be used “as is.” Production schedules don’t allow for time to remix or request changes from you. While they will edit the track to fit a scene, that involves only cutting or repeating sections of the song. So, in terms of recording quality, your track needs to be competitive with other tracks that are being used in this market

Also, to really be successful as a film & TV songwriter, you want to create a constant stream of new material. Does that mean you have to hire a pro studio and session musicians, then spend more $$$ and hours mixing every song you want to pitch? It does if every song has to sound like that fully-produced Electro-Dance-Pop track on the radio! Luckily, you don’t have to do that! Continue reading “Basic Broadcast Quality for Film & TV”