Kenny's Tip of the Day - Do we still need Record Producers?

Kenny's Tip of the Day - Do we still need Record Producers?

About ten to fifteen years ago, I noticed a pretty agressive shift in the music business. Many working recording engineers noticed this seismic shift in a very painful way. They were no longer needed in the same way that they were before. For live work, an engineer will almost always be needed but in the studio, not so much. Budgets were dropping, and when the Producer was no longer being paid as much as before, they had to find a way to cut corners.

Many of us started to cut corners by simply building our own studios. Why pay a big recording studio thousands of dollars a day when you could do all of the same things in your own studio? Plus, the budgets had changed to being “All In”, so any money saved by NOT going to a “real” studio, was put right back into the producer’s pocket. Makes perfect sense. Right?

And if you’re recording in your own studio, why pay an engineer to push buttons and get sounds when you (as the producer) are right there in the control room anyway? Just do it yourself. Many of us producers started out as engineers anyway. Trim the fat.

As with most things, this is the “evolution” of the recording business. Things change over time based on the achievable goals and achievable outcomes. In other words, if there’s no money in a particular venture, most people will stop doing that venture. At least as a specialized task.

So I’m starting to notice this new trend born out of this evolution. Much like with any art, people are NOT going to stop making it. Money or not. Art is NOT a job. People love it and are driven to create it. Having a monetary incentive just makes it easier or more lucrative. It doesn’t change the desire to create it.

So what’s starting to happen is that the artist themselves are starting to acquire this skill set. They are becoming the Producer. I’m sure some of them love it and it intwines itself within the art, but it also is based on simple necessity. “I need to record my art, so I will learn how to record and produce myself.”

What I’m also seeing is that this has evolved to a necessary skill for a member of the band. For example. Nick might not be a great Bass Player, but have you seen his recording setup? That guy knows how to make records. So having Nick in our band means that we can also have great sounding recordings. HE will be our Producer.

I saw this decades ago with social media. One member of the band was always great at running the website, setting up merch, and building a fan base. It was part of his (or her) skill set. Their contribution to the group. Joey may not be the greatest guitar player but he runs our operations. Something we probably need more.

All of this is just part of the evolution of being an Artist or being a member of a Band. It’s no longer enough to be good at your instrument. The great bands now and in the future will have to combine talents and be a much bigger part of controlling the product that the band puts out. In every aspect.

It’s an interesting time.

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I hope this message finds you well. Kenny Gioia