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Why a producer needs a team

The importance of the record producer working with a professional team.


"Surround yourself with good people". That was the secret for success given by one of the biggest selling British recording artists in history, and it's true for producers too.

You can try to be a 'one man band' producer, especially since there is an incredible array of equipment available which in theory makes it possible. But when you consider that virtually every record that hits the charts is the joint effort of at least five people then you have to consider the old saying, 'Five heads are better than one'!

Who are these five people, you ask? Well this doesn't apply to every case but a typical example may be a dance track created by an artist, programmer, producer and engineer under the ultimate guidance of the record company's A&R manager. And of course these will all be 'good people' otherwise a) they wouldn't get a hit otherwise, and b) top professionals only work with other top professionals.

So how can you compete when you are working from your bedroom studio? Is it a lost cause? Well no, but I can't promise you it won't be very very difficult to get your foot in the door.

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The first step is to accept that you can't go it alone and you need to find other people to work with, to pool your talents and abilities. The one advantage you have over the top professionals is your creativity. Creativity, that is, in the sense that as a newcomer to the industry you will find your own methods, techniques and, most importantly, sounds.

The Top 40 buying public basically demands 'more of the same', but almost always spiced with something new that they haven't heard before.

You might have this magic ingredient in abundance where the top pros have used up all of theirs. All you have to do is work out where you want to specialise; as a musician, programmer, engineer or producer and then find other like-minded people as talented as yourself to work with, and go out and make that hit!

If you can't find someone to fulfil a particular role, then you will have to pay for the necessary expertise. There's no shame or stigma in paying a professional musician, engineer or whatever - it just hurts! But you will reap the rewards of knowing that the people you hire are doing their job professionally and allowing you to give your full attention to your own role and perform it to the best of your ability.

In fact, the most difficult form of production is trying to take a mediocre band or musician and make them sound good, and I'm afraid this is the route upon which many aspiring producers start off. It may just be the road to nowhere, but on the other hand, some people might find it the tough training ground that they need. Something to consider perhaps?

By David Mellor Thursday December 7, 2006

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