Producer Versus Beat-Maker: Utilizing Creativity Over Technology

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There is a real concrete difference between being a beat-maker and a bona fide hip-hop producer. Many of my colleagues will agree that just because you have a drum machine, a few software programs, and a whole lot of ambition, you are not a music producer. Being music producer and more specifically a hip-hop producer entails a level of dedication that expands beyond making what you feel is a hot beat. A producer has to have the ability to take a concept and develop it into a completed song. Sometimes it begins with sample, bass line, hook, or merely a piano riff, but once an idea has been fully developed a song will be created as a result.

A few years ago, super hit maker Sean “Diddy” Combs was the topic of a many barbershop and studio arguments. People would say that Diddy was not a real producer because he didn’t physically tap a drum machine or play a keyboard. In my opinion, this was a dumb argument because by definition Diddy exemplified music production. What many don’t realize is that the greatest component of music production is producing a finished product, regardless of who played the instruments. Only in genres like dance and Hip Hop do producers physically create the beats and music. In Rock & Roll the band creates the music and the producer polishes their raw ideas and sounds into a commercially saleable end product. Hip Hop producers like Kanye West and Timbaland are hands on with creating beats, but both of them can create equally as great masterpieces without touching a thing.

Consider this, a coach of a football team takes a group of individual players, conditions them, and teaches them plays that help them win games. In the same aspect, the coach is a producer. As someone who is just breaking into the music business, I would suggest not to get too hung on the title. Concentrate on the finished results and the titles and money come later. Be flexible, if you have the chance to work with a brand name artist, then be happy you have an opportunity to shine-most don’t. Whether you get credit as a producer, engineer, programmer, co-producer, or production assistant, your name will verifiably credible within the music business. I hear fledgling producers and beat-makers complaining all the time about people stealing their music or cutting them out of the deal. First off if you get screwed over the first time, charge it to the game, it’s the nature of the beast. If you get screwed over a second time, you are a moron and should beg for your job back at Wendy’s. Secondly, if you are going to be in this business you need read and learn as much as you can about navigating the music industry. I suggest you begin your education by purchasing a copy of The Future of the Music Business by music business attorney Steve Gordon. As far as music business books are concerned this is the most comprehensive and relevant book available on how to succeed in today’s digital music market. For a Hip-Hop perspective I recommend you read my book, Gotta Get Signed How to Become a Hip Hop Producer. My book will fill in the gaps of Steve’s book concerning Hip Hop production and what are the key components of surviving in the rap game.

Avoid Being a  Technology  Junkie

It is quite easy to get lost in the world of music  technology . New  technologies  are emerging daily and if you constantly have to play catch up, you will never get any real work done. Instead spending every dime you can get your hands on at Sam Ash Music or the Guitar Center use what music making tools you already have access to. Remember, it’s not what you have; it is how well you use it. I have heard music created at million dollar recording studios that sounded like crap, and music recording in someone’s bedroom that was fantastic, so don’t get caught up in the wrong thing, stay focused on the craft, not the  technology . For every new tool you attempt to learn you lose ten times the creative juice. Super producer and rapper Kanye West creates beat using the Ensoniq ASR-10 circa 1994 and the Akai MPC60 (“MIDI Production Center 60”) circa 1988. This goes to show that is not about the  technology , but the creativity.

© 2011, Sahpreem A. King, Music Business Guru, http://www.gottagetsigned.com

Source by Sahpreem King

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