Role of Record Producer in Music Production

Record Music Production

According to a huge number of researches, it has been widely accepted that a record producer holds immense significance in the commercial music industry. He is responsible for creating and directing the musical sound. A role producer was once known for overseeing the musical act and also took part in the refinement of the music. In contrast, contemporary record producer plays a significant role in structuring the song or musical sound and coaching the musical art. The contemporary record producer should know about operating different instruments, vocal coaching, keyboard knowledge, arranging, and songwriting. (Burgess, 2018)

Also, different researches claim that record producer plays a significant role in the commercial music industry by gathering music samples and ideas, playing instruments, introducing new concepts related to music, improving and bringing innovation to instrumentation, co-write, and hire session musicians. These role producers nowadays also appear publicly by mentioning their names on the recordings. There were some interviews conducted with different record producers who claimed that sometimes their roles collide with music engineers as well, which means that along with their duties, they also have to focus on preproduction recordings, supervising the finished recording, mixing, and also mastering the whole process. They also claimed that for different projects, these producers also have to choose the list of recording artists. (Bloch, 1985)

If we take a look at the whole concept of the commercial music recording industry, it can be said that three most important individuals tend to play major roles in the industry, and these include the vocal producer, the executive producer as well as ”the record producer”. In the commercial music recording industry, the executive producer is responsible for overseeing the financing while the vocal producer is responsible for arranging the vocal aspects. On the other hand, the record producer, also known as the producer holds the responsibility of overseeing the step by step process of recording the music in its final mix. (Waits, 2016)

By the large number of data gathered the major roles of a role producer in commercial music production include assembling different ideas, organizing the music, selection musicians and artists, controlling sessions, recommending changes to the arrangement of songs or music, providing training to the music performers and also supervising the audio mastering. In other words, the record manager is the person who has the overall control over the recording project and all the recording sessions creatively and technically. In other words, his role is to be present over the location of the recording studio to assist the artists and engineers wherever needed. He is there to make important and creative decisions in the musical content, keeping the budgets and schedules, hiring singers or musicians, strictly adhering to deadlines, and staffing the artists’ needs. (P. Thompson, 2013)

Going back into history, it can be said that in the 1930s and 1940s, there was no proper concept of a record producer in commercial music production as at that time, artists or coworkers were responsible for overseeing the processes. The manager was responsible for directing songs or music without any creative influence. After the 1950s, a term was recognized as ”record production” which pointed simply towards the role of a record producer as a person who is responsible for the manufacturing of record disks. However, there is a huge difference in the definition and roles of a role producer in today’s music industry. Role producers emerged as a strong and most important part of the production industry; therefore, in the modern era, they are known as the creative directors of song or music production in commercial recordings as well. (Rockefeller, 2014)

The researches also claim that there is an essay named ”magic rattle, human harp” Ernst Bloch has drawn a complete cycle of history in which the concepts and usage of musical instruments were traced. In the essay, it can be observed that Bloch wants to highlight the fact that music at ancient times was heard and understood as a part of the abstracted realm of the spheres. Ernst also stated that during the nineteenth century, with the arrival of an opera singer, a concept of the archaic conception of music transformed. It means that with the help of Bloch’s statement, we can claim that music-making has a direct link with emerging technology. Not only confined to these but also, Bloch mentioned in the essay about the relations between musical instruments and the body of a performer and the central issues related to accepting the changes in the musical industry. (Burgess, 2018)

Meanwhile, there are some other researches which run counter to the idea of popular music studies and radical changes. It can be said that there are two types of groups standing here. One states that with the development of the recording department in the industry, there is a significant loss of authentic musical interaction. They further added that recordings have completely destroyed the dominance of live performances, which means that in the contemporary world, recordings make music artificial and dependent upon the latest technological tools. (Waits, 2016)

While on the other hand, there is a group that claims that the development of the recording area in the market will yield positive results in the industry as a whole as it rationalizes with technological advancement. They supported their argument with the fact that live performances result in acrimonious interactivity. However, some other popular artists in the different industries have supported the concept of developing the recording department with the latest technologies as they said that a real artist is the one who knows how to carry on the performance in whatever situation they are present. (Bloch, 1985)

As stated above in the late 1950s and 1960s, the role of a record manager expanded and got more recognition with the advent of the latest technology. The music industry examined that society as a whole is accepting different technological changes, and because of such developments, the economies of the countries started improving. As a result, the music industry also began to consider the fact that by incorporating the latest technologies, they can transform their abilities to the next higher level. Thus, as a result, popular music industries started switching from acoustic musical instruments to upright bass, keyboards, electronic instruments, piano, synthesizers and instrument amplifiers, etc. Along with incorporating the latest technological tools, the music industry also took the initiative and started spending on the development of role producers. (P. Thompson, 2013)

 As a result, the music industry gained capabilities of tape, spending coaching of record producer as well as multi-track recordings.  Richard Burgess, in his interview, has presented various topologies of producers. He further claimed that these typologies depend upon the background of the producer and what kind of function he/she is performing inside the recording studio. Richard added that the six typologies include facilitative-producer, artist-producer, consultative-producer, auteur-producer, entablature-producer, and collaborative producer. The definitions and distinctions of these contributors in a recording studio help to distinguish the record producer as a composer and identifiable author in a music recording. Therefore, the functions of a record producer vary and require complex cultural and musical knowledge to operate efficiently and effectively in commercial record production. (Bloch, 1985)

A large number of latest researches claim that record producing has changed dramatically with the advent of new technology over the years. As in the past record producers used computers with less competency and digital recordings but now in the contemporary world record producers use digital auto workstation such as FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cubase, Abelton and the most commonly used physical instruments in these DAWs include MIDI controllers, main mixer, recording device as well as outboard effects gear. (Rockefeller, 2014)

It has been largely observed that with the changing demands of technology, the skills and knowledge demands have also been increased. Competition in the record producing industry has risen up, and some of the record producers have the ability to show-cast analog recording. These kinds of new changes and developments in the recording industry have allowed the record producers to work with the artist in the studio and committing the quality recording with the usage of the latest technological tools. It means that with the latest developments, there are more challenges for a record producer as now he has to work both as a project manager as well as an executive manager who is in charge of overseeing the recording project. Record producers have different challenges, such as making sure that the artist is co-operating with the audio engineer so that they can achieve the required need. Also, he has to make sure that the crew is working within the composition framework to improve the soundscape. Other challenges for record producer might include the fact that sometimes he/she receives a rough and ready composition and has to produce a fresh and polished recording that looks appropriate for the commercial release. (Waits, 2016)

Wide researches have confirmed that the skills of record producers in contemporary music production industry include basic understanding of sound engineering and sound recording principles, strong leadership skills so that he/she can develop strong working relations, he/she should have to be creative in music understanding with broad musical vocabulary so that he can describe the different concepts that can be used within certain recordings. The contemporary music record industry involves tasks such as producing, engineering, songwriting, and arranging. It has also been observed that the tasks of a vocal manager or an executive manager often overlap. Likewise, the role of a music engineer is equally appreciated in today’s world as these engineers are responsible for the quality, sound colors, and refinement of minor details. (Bloch, 1985)

In a creative system of commercial production, it has been observed that these systems are multi-layered, diagonal, hierarchical as well as horizontal. The system has developed in the sense that in the late 1890s, there were no popular lyricists, composers, or publishers, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that there were no popular songs at that time but that no one was specifically hired for composition and on-demand. Over the years, the culture developed, economy boosted, concepts changed, and so did the music industry. The early music publishers emerged, and their only goal was to gather enough potential sheet-music customers who can buy their music and hear it so that they can become famous. Those publishers at that time printed cheap song editions with no fancy outlines or illustrations and called them professional copies. (Rockefeller, 2014)

At the beginning of the twentieth century, recording artists gained much recognition, but history claims that the recording artists of that time were totally unfamiliar to the recording studios as those artists were capable of performing specifically in large halls as opera singers. But history also states that in the 1920s before the microphone was invented, the artists or singers used to record on a disc or a rotating cylinder mechanically or sometimes acoustically. Artists of that time confirmed that those mechanical and acoustic methods of recording at that time were a complex challenge, but soon after the introduction of the microphone in the music recording industry, artists began to feel much compensated. However, the fact can’t be ignored that the sensitivity of the microphone bought some limitations for the artists as well because it allows several non-vocal effects to appear as louder and vivid as other vocal effects such as sighing or breathing. (Burgess, 2018)

However, with the developing world recording industry grew, and commercial music writing and music publishing also met new market demands. At that time, different musicians emerged, and one of the examples is the Brill Building, where different songwriters signed as incorporating the best of popular musicians into new levels of musical sophistication. In the Brill Building, different writers such as Smokey Robinson, Brian Holland, Nickolas Ashford, Lamont Dozier were employed so that they could deliver a constant supply of songs. (Burgess, 2018)

 Thus it can be said that in this modern era, music recording in commercial record production has transformed its own distinct history, symbol system, cultural traditions, and different styles of working. Artists and musicians of the modern age have bought a lot of innovation in this music world because of which contemporary music-making has become a whole separate creative culture. It can be said that this is part of a larger system of multi-layered commercial music record production.  Nowadays, in commercial record music production, the function of the studio performer depends upon what kind of musical style is about to be presented, it also depends upon cultural, economic, representative capital and economic constraints of the recording project. (Waits, 2016)

Thus, it can be concluded that a record producer as a part of commercial music record production has come too far and has established its own symbol system, culture, knowledge, and traditions to assist performers presenting in the studio. The role of record producer had extended on a large scale from the 1950s when a record producer was only able to find the right match of the song for the right artist, and there was no involvement of him/her in the recording process in the studio. Nonetheless, recording the music has now become the most ethereal of the main tasks of modern commercial record production. It is because of the reason that production is now totally dependent upon the musical style and musical context of different music genres. (P. Thompson, 2013)

izzah ahmed

This is Izzah, a content writer and editor who creates SEO-friendly content and has experience in academic writing. Backed by 10 years of experience in writing and editing, she is equipped with the skill to create content that is backed by thorough research and has impeccable structure.

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