Do you have all that it
takes to be a record producer?
If the answer is “yes,” than
this has been the shortest article
you have ever read. Done!
But if you are like most
musicians or engineers, and
the answer is “no” (or even
“maybe”), here are two surefire,
instant ways to become one:
 Have cards printed that
give your name and list “Music
Producer” as your occupation.
 And/or follow this series
of columns, and study the A
to Zs of what a producer really
needs to do in today’s world.
Perhaps there is no better
place to start than determining
what industry you are in as
a music producer. The music
industry, you say? Well, that
industry is forever changing so
dramatically, that I may argue
what was once an industry is
now dust—or, at best, a highly
abbreviated version of what
once was. The new, developing
ecosystem is no longer the
traditional model. It is a transitional
model that will continue
to take shape with new
tech advancements and less
business as usual. Yes, it is
“business as unusual,” and, as
creators, we should embrace
that fact. We are not rigidly
aligned to an old standard.
We are very much alive today
to express where music can go
next. After all, music rules and
Why do producers lead?
Having been blessed with a
long-term, successful run as
a producer, I have a clear picture
that I am in the “solutions”
business. The solutions
I tend to concern myself with
are mostly musical in nature,
but because music is found in
more places around the world,
I am finding solutions that put
the music within the gigantic
media world. As a result, business
has never been better for
music—ever! Oh, you may not
see “the charts” selling anywhere
near what they used to,
but the vast world of media
embraces several outlets, networks,
and uses—all of which
can be monetized greatly and
with transparency in ways the
old music-industry paradigm
was strictly opposed to.
And do you think anybody
needs a record contract to hit
all these sweet spots the media
offers? No! It’s hard to find a
well-informed musician anymore
that has a record deal
at the top of their “need” list.
Of course, at a certain level,
labels can be helpful partners,
and, in a few, very select cases,
they will still be the key component
to the top .005 percent
of fame and fortune.
But is the star system—
and its “all-or-nothing” brutality—
your ticket as a creator
of music and a budding producer?
If so, go get ’em. But
you too will want to read the
next few columns, as we dissect
the essential ingredients
of music production in today’s
world. Fasten your seat belts,
folks—this is a wild ride that
entails a lot more than music.
Producers are people with
extreme abilities in music and
in business. Leading the music
is only part of our role. Leading
in business is critical to the
music’s success in today’s multiple
monetary streams. If your
music is extraordinary, those
streams can flow, but you’ve
got to know how to find them.
Scott Mathews is a record producer,
composer, vocalist, and multi–instrumentalist whose music has
sold in excess of 20 million units,
and has generated more than 30
RIAA Gold and Platinum Awards
in the pop, alternative rock, R&B,
country, blues, and dance genres.
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