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The Word "Music Producer" has Lost all Meaning
Old 2 weeks ago
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
So wait... and I don't mean to be that guy but... You've been teaching "music production" since you were 18? And exactly how much real-world experience had you had by that point?

I don't know, just seems kind of ironic that you're moaning (this is the Moan Zone after all) about these young kids calling themselves music producers and all.

Though I suppose if you were fortunate enough to have your first mic (at 18) cost more than $200 it entitled you call yourself a music producer and therefore teach it to others?

I mean... Know what I mean?

R.
I can see why you might think that given my wording but actually I was advertising it as 'music technology' and called it lessons in 'music technology'. There weren't any schools using the word 'music production'
lessons back then but there were also very few people wanting to learn. Also, I wasn't 'lucky' I spent all my time learning piano, teaching piano and started my business from money spent teaching piano and crappy side jobs and when other people were out partying, I was saving for gear.

Anyway, again, so many assumptions. This is the moan zone, not the assumptions zone.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Brent already touched on this but music production is not a true profession. There are to my knowledge no established academic programs where a standard music production curriculum is utilized. There are no formal ethical guides to be a music producer, and most importantly...no formal licensing agencies in any state. This is how medicine, psychology, law etc etc protect their titles so not just any smuk can call themselves a psychologist. Case in point: Back in the 80s in South Dakota, the laws governing the practice of psychology somehow expired and various parties began bickering over the new laws and regs. Two years went by in which there were no laws governing the practice of psychology in that state. What happened was a fiasco. Some guy with a doctorate in music theory set up a practice in Sioux Falls. Another guy with a B.S. in sociology set up a clinical psychology practice. So...since music producer is not a professional title, anybody can call themselves a producer. The public has no assurance that use of that title means anything at all.
Yes this is basically the issue. The general public can't search online for a music producer anymore because anyone can call themselves one. So that makes it hard for artists to actually find a music producer.

It's technically a profession since those doing it, can do it for a living but without a governing body to keep people's skills in check, it becomes a problem for the general public. It's the same for the term musician though. It's just that it's easy to hear the skills of a musician. Just listening to a song, you can't tell what the producer did or didn't do espcially in this day and age of pre-made loops. So the skill level of those using the title varies dramatically.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwatson View Post
I can see why you might think that given my wording but actually I was advertising it as 'music technology' and called it lessons in 'music technology'. There weren't any schools using the word 'music production'
lessons back then
but there were also very few people wanting to learn. Also, I wasn't 'lucky' I spent all my time learning piano, teaching piano and started my business from money spent teaching piano and crappy side jobs and when other people were out partying, I was saving for gear.

Anyway, again, so many assumptions. This is the moan zone, not the assumptions zone.
[bold added]

You've been in the biz for 17 years, eh?

I participated in a 2 year certification curriculum at my local community college titled "Commercial Music Production" back in 1981. It focused on tech [there was a moderately equipped 16 track one inch studio and some satellite four track studios] as well as music [the class was offered by the Music Dept] and there was a mandatory component of study of the business side, as well. About 10 miles away there was another junior college that offered a similar curriculum, starting in 1978, as I recall. I also took classes there, as I wanted as much exposure to different approaches as possible [which was definitely a good choice].
Old 2 weeks ago
  #34
Lives for gear
 
Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwatson View Post
Also, I wasn't 'lucky' I spent all my time learning piano, teaching piano and started my business from money spent teaching piano and crappy side jobs and when other people were out partying, I was saving for gear.

Anyway, again, so many assumptions. This is the moan zone, not the assumptions zone.
Au contraire... I wasn't making any assumptions. I was just taking the piss out of the arbitrary figure ($200) you chose to use to differentiate the mic a professional "producer" such as yourself would use and that of a bedroom "producah" that you chose to target in your post.

And for what it's worth the majority of the Billie Eilish album was recorded on AT2020 ($100? And then moved up to a (gasp) TLM103) in their, uhm, bedroom. Most streamed album of 2019. Go figure.

Obviously that's an anomaly but just making a point... Some of these kids are just like you when you were 18.

R.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #35
Lives for gear
 
boombapdame's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Funny this is coming up now. I got a call from a "Hip Hop Producer" last week wanting me to do some mastering for him. I said sure and then asked who his artist was. He said "it's me", so I asked him what other artists he had produced for and he said "none" so I guess I will be doing some mastering for this "Hip Hop Producer" sometime soon. I guess in this day and age you can call yourself anything you want...FWIW
Who was he and the thing w/that in Hip Hop is actual on site collaboration is missing in the creation chain, and it is something I'd personally kill to have.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
The Pro-doo-sah is here. Where is the HNIC?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #37
It's not just the audio industry that is affected by this. It's really anywhere where the barrier to entry has been significantly reduced.

Photography has it MANY times worse. Video has been heading the same way.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
[bold added]

You've been in the biz for 17 years, eh?

I participated in a 2 year certification curriculum at my local community college titled "Commercial Music Production" back in 1981. It focused on tech [there was a moderately equipped 16 track one inch studio and some satellite four track studios] as well as music [the class was offered by the Music Dept] and there was a mandatory component of study of the business side, as well. About 10 miles away there was another junior college that offered a similar curriculum, starting in 1978, as I recall. I also took classes there, as I wanted as much exposure to different approaches as possible [which was definitely a good choice].
Meanwhile in my original home country of Australia there was nothing. Perhaps I should have been more specific. 'Locally' there was no such course. Not even from the SAE.

Having a course at a community college is not as bad as the for profit run schools here. In CA, after the Bog waiver, the fees are almost nothing whereas The Los Angeles Recording School is 18k-30k per year per person and they take 8000 students per year at the Hollywood campus alone so the popularity is crazy now by comparison and it's big business. That's not including all the other major for profit schools in LA. Multiply that by those in the country and you start to get the picture. As far as I know, they don't combine any business course or skills with the degree anymore either and according to the yelp reviews, they pretty much pass everyone who shows up. So I'm not a big fan of them.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #39
I think some people here are confused. The game has changed.

If you can make a beat, you are a music producer. Period.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwatson View Post
Meanwhile in my original home country of Australia there was nothing. Perhaps I should have been more specific. 'Locally' there was no such course. Not even from the SAE.

Having a course at a community college is not as bad as the for profit run schools here. In CA, after the Bog waiver, the fees are almost nothing whereas The Los Angeles Recording School is 18k-30k per year per person and they take 8000 students per year at the Hollywood campus alone so the popularity is crazy now by comparison and it's big business. That's not including all the other major for profit schools in LA. Multiply that by those in the country and you start to get the picture. As far as I know, they don't combine any business course or skills with the degree anymore either and according to the yelp reviews, they pretty much pass everyone who shows up. So I'm not a big fan of them.
I have no idea why I was being so parochial and literal-minded in that post! My bad.

Thanks for offering more insight into your situation.
Old 1 week ago
  #41
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
I think some people here are confused. The game has changed.

If you can make a beat, you are a music producer. Period.

If you can beet your meet you R a producer.
Old 1 week ago
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer View Post
If you can beet your meet you R a producer.
Hell yes!

No more need for a metronome. I always go for 200 “beats” per minute.
Old 1 week ago
  #43
Lives for gear
 
eternalsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomwatson View Post
Hi guys,
As a full time professional Music Producer for 17 years I have, like most other older Music Producers I have witness the decline of the job title 'Music Producer' to the point now that ever kid just goes out and buys a $200 microphone, pirates some software and then calls them a Music Producer. Which seems crazy to me. People don't buy an oven or a knife and cutting board and then start calling themselves Master Chef. Unfortunately the job title has been devalued a lot over the last decade, which means I now have to spend a lot of time explaining to people what I do for a living.
Due to the fact that I don't do this professionally I really can't put myself in your exact shoes, but I can relate to times that change and leave one holding a shorter straw than they had before.

These kids are most likely not calling themselves "music producers". The shortest way I can put this is that technology allowed for people (kids) to take music production into their own hands instead of having to pay a fortune to guys like you to do it for them. Now, they won't do as good as you but this is of no relevance - the status quo for "common" music production that these kids are doing, is fine for online demos for their friends and for them to think people are out scouting for them.

The "big league" artists will still need your services; however, yes, you have lost the ever aspiring nobody that is looking for some studio time so maybe one day they can become part of that big league.

*edit*
Does the "big league" even exist anymore?
Old 5 days ago
  #44
I don’t understand why it matters what someone calls themselves...

If you produce music - be that as someone shaping bands and solo artists, or as a writer who builds a track for an artist to sing on - you’re a “producer”.

If you get paid a bit for that, you’re a “semi pro producer”.

If you make the majority of your income from it, you’re a “professional producer”.

Why does it matter? Some of the rank amateurs are much better producers than some of the pros, and the pros who are good don’t feel threatened by the rank amateurs...so surely the OP has nothing to worry about? The vast majority of bedroom producers never make it out of the bedroom, and those who do are usually pretty good at what they do.
Old 5 days ago
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I don’t understand why it matters what someone calls themselves...

If you produce music - be that as someone shaping bands and solo artists, or as a writer who builds a track for an artist to sing on - you’re a “producer”.

If you get paid a bit for that, you’re a “semi pro producer”.

If you make the majority of your income from it, you’re a “professional producer”.

Why does it matter? Some of the rank amateurs are much better producers than some of the pros, and the pros who are good don’t feel threatened by the rank amateurs...so surely the OP has nothing to worry about? The vast majority of bedroom producers never make it out of the bedroom, and those who do are usually pretty good at what they do.
Because it relates to someone else's "bottom line" I cannot call myself a doctor unless I am a member of the AMA or have a PHD degree, however I can call myself a "producer" even if I know NOTHING about production or producing. So if some one is looking for a producer it would seem that they would want someone who knows what they are doing.

You are a moderator and that means something here on GS. No one can have the title "moderator" here unless they are given that title by the owner of this forum. So I guess the statement "I don’t understand why it matters what someone calls themselves..." is really not true unless you want to make everyone a "moderator". FWIW
Old 5 days ago
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Because it relates to someone else's "bottom line" I cannot call myself a doctor unless I am a member of the AMA or have a PHD degree, however I can call myself a "producer" even if I know NOTHING about production or producing. So if some one is looking for a producer it would seem that they would want someone who knows what they are doing.

You are a moderator and that means something here on GS. No one can have the title "moderator" here unless they are given that title by the owner of this forum. So I guess the statement "I don’t understand why it matters what someone calls themselves..." is really not true unless you want to make everyone a "moderator". FWIW
Well - the thing is, even the good producers don't have the producing equivalent of a PhD! it's not really the same thing. You're a (music) producer if you produce records for a living. You can call yourself what you want, but unless you do that anyone doing even vague due diligence will find you out!

(just like the few quacks who call themselves "doctors" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_McKeith - this was a bit of a scandal in the UK where someone who had a PhD in linguistics called themselves "Doctor" whilst promoting health products/TV programmes!).

The "moderator" thing is again different - I AM a mod, I have responsibilities and can take actions others can't. It's not like someone can practice really hard and be a freelance mod...you either are or you aren't!

Production isn't like that.

I think my overall point is - why does anyone feel threatened? is the sort of person likely to want to go to a bedroom, never done anything "producer" likely to have come to you in the first place, or if they are someone you'd want as a client?

And if they do go to this person in their bedroom, pay a pittance and leave happy - is it a problem? If the work is really good - all power to that person, and pretty soon they should be charging more (if they want decent clients!). If it isn't - it's not the competition is it?!
Old 5 days ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Well - the thing is, even the good producers don't have the producing equivalent of a PhD! it's not really the same thing. You're a (music) producer if you produce records for a living. You can call yourself what you want, but unless you do that anyone doing even vague due diligence will find you out!

(just like the few quacks who call themselves "doctors" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_McKeith - this was a bit of a scandal in the UK where someone who had a PhD in linguistics called themselves "Doctor" whilst promoting health products/TV programmes!).

The "moderator" thing is again different - I AM a mod, I have responsibilities and can take actions others can't. It's not like someone can practice really hard and be a freelance mod...you either are or you aren't!

Production isn't like that.

I think my overall point is - why does anyone feel threatened? is the sort of person likely to want to go to a bedroom, never done anything "producer" likely to have come to you in the first place, or if they are someone you'd want as a client?

And if they do go to this person in their bedroom, pay a pittance and leave happy - is it a problem? If the work is really good - all power to that person, and pretty soon they should be charging more (if they want decent clients!). If it isn't - it's not the competition is it?!
I am a mastering engineer and have credits doing that. I am also a member of the AES and NARAS and I have interns that I mentor. Some local teenybopper puts out a sign saying "mastering done here" and charges next to nothing for his "services". I, on the other hand, have a mastering facility valued at over $150,000 he has a computer laptop and some computer speakers in his bedroom and his acoustics are his dirty laundry. Should I get upset that he is using the term Mastering Engineer when he knows nothing about what he is doing or how to do it? He may not take any clients away from me but if he does a sh!tty job then he probably will give mastering a bad name and the next time the client wants to get something mastered he/she will think "why should I give someone good money to do the mastering when I can do what they can do myself?" The same applies to "producing" Names are important and if you don't think that then give everyone in GS the title of Moderator and let them all "moderate" and see how long that lasts... Have a GREAT DAY!!!
Old 5 days ago
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I am a mastering engineer and have credits doing that. I am also a member of the AES and NARAS and I have interns that I mentor. Some local teenybopper puts out a sign saying "mastering done here" and charges next to nothing for his "services". I, on the other hand, have a mastering facility valued at over $150,000 he has a computer laptop and some computer speakers in his bedroom and his acoustics are his dirty laundry. Should I get upset that he is using the term Mastering Engineer when he knows nothing about what he is doing or how to do it? He may not take any clients away from me but if he does a sh!tty job then he probably will give mastering a bad name and the next time the client wants to get something mastered he/she will think "why should I give someone good money to do the mastering when I can do what they can do myself?" The same applies to "producing" Names are important and if you don't think that then give everyone in GS the title of Moderator and let them all "moderate" and see how long that lasts... Have a GREAT DAY!!!
I see your point about “giving mastering a bad name”, but that really only applies to bottom feeder clients - anyone else is going to at least have some semblance of what they need.

Your comment on moderation is nonsensical I’m afraid...it’s not remotely the same thing.
Old 5 days ago
  #49
That ship sailed 25 years ago if not farther back.
Old 4 days ago
  #50
Lives for gear
 
eternalsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I am a mastering engineer and have credits doing that. I am also a member of the AES and NARAS and I have interns that I mentor. Some local teenybopper puts out a sign saying "mastering done here" and charges next to nothing for his "services". I, on the other hand, have a mastering facility valued at over $150,000 he has a computer laptop and some computer speakers in his bedroom and his acoustics are his dirty laundry. Should I get upset that he is using the term Mastering Engineer when he knows nothing about what he is doing or how to do it? He may not take any clients away from me but if he does a sh!tty job then he probably will give mastering a bad name and the next time the client wants to get something mastered he/she will think "why should I give someone good money to do the mastering when I can do what they can do myself?" The same applies to "producing" Names are important and if you don't think that then give everyone in GS the title of Moderator and let them all "moderate" and see how long that lasts... Have a GREAT DAY!!!
Now-now, flatter not they self or thous kid - as if everyone isn't off to LANDR to have their work done anyway.

Old 4 days ago
  #51
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Watersound's Avatar
 

Interesting times we’re living in. I think language itself is going through a paradigm shift as words themselves are slowly going to lose their meaning on some level. We can now be whatever we claim or identify as just by merely saying so.

It’s just what happens throughout history. The old generation dies out and the new, completely different one takes over and erases much of the past. Embrace it because it’s not ever going to be like it was. A producer is now someone who can open an app that can drag and drop a pre made loop or beat on a phone or tablet. No need to have any skill or talent (as defined by the traditional sense) so someone who has zero experience can now claim and take up real estate that was previously unattainable. Of course they may not have much monetary success or maybe they will. Who knows, end of rant ;-)
Old 4 days ago
  #52
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I see your point about “giving mastering a bad name”, but that really only applies to bottom feeder clients - anyone else is going to at least have some semblance of what they need.

Your comment on moderation is nonsensical I’m afraid...it’s not remotely the same thing.
Well the term moderator means something here on GS but in the larger world saying you are a moderator on GS may or may not mean something to someone not associated with GS.

We are dealing with semantics here. Words only have the meaning that we and society give to them. I cannot call myself "POTUS" but I could call myself "president of the "psycho_monkey" fan club". I don't want to get into a long discussion of words and their meaning but certain words are used to denote professionals and if used by someone other than a professional it might give another person the wrong idea. Have a good day!

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 4 days ago at 02:37 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 4 days ago
  #53
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I see your point about “giving mastering a bad name”, but that really only applies to bottom feeder clients - anyone else is going to at least have some semblance of what they need.
I think misapplication (of terms) and misapprehension applies to a far greater range than just "bottom feeder clients".
Old 4 days ago
  #54
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I don’t understand why it matters what someone calls themselves...

If you produce music - be that as someone shaping bands and solo artists, or as a writer who builds a track for an artist to sing on - you’re a “producer”.

If you get paid a bit for that, you’re a “semi pro producer”.

If you make the majority of your income from it, you’re a “professional producer”.

Why does it matter? Some of the rank amateurs are much better producers than some of the pros, and the pros who are good don’t feel threatened by the rank amateurs...so surely the OP has nothing to worry about? The vast majority of bedroom producers never make it out of the bedroom, and those who do are usually pretty good at what they do.
Maybe we should be talking about what a real producer does. Here's how I do producing, although I don't claim to be a real producer, yet. I'm trying to get more experience producing and have "produced" 2 or three projects so far that are not my own. With the current project I'm "producing" I started with the songs. The artist had about 20 songs. The artist and I then each independently made our list of the 12 to 14 songs we thought were best. Our lists matched except for a couple of songs. This gave me confidence we are like minded. So, then we had a pre-production meeting and talked about the songs, recording techniques, my role as producer etc etc. After gaining the artist's trust a little, I started taking a more active role. I suggested that most of the songs were too long (most of them were 4 1/2 to 5 minutes long. At first he balked a little but the next morning I got a text that said he was up all night reworking the songs to make them shorter. So, again, more confirmation that trust is developing. So, then we started on the arrangements and we have started tracking instruments. I'm not shy in telling the artist what I feel doesn't work or what direction the production of the song should take. Of course I make all the decisions about gear and how the gear is used. When the time comes, I'll also have a heavy hand in the final cut. What songs to leave in. Which to leave out.
I learned from my last attempt that you need to be sure the artist understands what the producers role is, garner the trust of the artist, and not take a dictatorial approach. What about other people that do actual producing? What other roles might I be leaving out?
Old 4 days ago
  #55
Gear Nut
If, as producers - real producers (whatever that is), not fake producers (whatever that is) - this is what you worry about career-wise, job can't be too bad...
Old 4 days ago
  #56
Gear Maniac
 
tweekyboo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Well the term moderator means something here on GS but in the larger world saying you are a moderator on GS may or may not mean something to someone not associated with GS.

We are dealing with semantics here. Words only have the meaning that we and society give to them. I cannot call myself "POTUS" but I could call myself "president of the "psycho_monkey" fan club". I don't want to get into a long discussion of words and their meaning but certain words are used to denote professionals and if used by someone other than a professional it might give another person the wrong idea. Have a good day!
Words change, English changes. The term producer is nebulous at best as has already been discussed in this thread.

Whereas producer may have once denoted 'professional', it does not necessarily mean this anymore. Do you have a suggestion on how to 'reclaim' this term?
Old 3 days ago
  #57
People are focused on words instead of money. That is why the term “producer” has no value.
Old 3 days ago
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweekyboo View Post
Words change, English changes. The term producer is nebulous at best as has already been discussed in this thread.

Whereas producer may have once denoted 'professional', it does not necessarily mean this anymore. Do you have a suggestion on how to 'reclaim' this term?
Maybe eventually some organization may have to give credentials to "real producers"

NARAS, for example, has just tighten up their entry requirements.

This is what you now have to have in order to join NARAS

Two strong recommendations from music industry peers
Proof of a primary career focus in music, including but not limited to:
Active marketing and promotions
Awards and honors
Established online presence. If pertinent to craft, current and historical touring dates/performances, fan base interaction, music videos, charts or streaming statistics, current releases available, etc.
Press such as interviews, highlights, reviews by relevant outlets
Professional support system (i.e. manager, booking agent, publicist, etc.)
Twelve commercially distributed, verifiable credits in a single creative profession. At least one of those credits should be within the previous five years.
All tracks must be commercially available in the United States, either through recognized online music retailers/streaming services (defined as paid, full catalog, audio-only, on-demand streaming and/or limited download subscription services) or physical distribution retail stores.


I wonder how many of these so called "producers" could get into NARAS?????

So things are changing...

FWIW

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 3 days ago at 02:41 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 3 days ago
  #59
This stuff is ****ing hilarious. Y'all ought to get out in the real world some time.

How many of us use the term 'recording engineer' or (more colloquially) just 'engineer' in these forums?

I suspect that most of us realize that for the rest of the world, an engineer is something quite different, with distinct criteria and well-defined educational requirements. (Hint: you won't find 'recording engineer' in this list: https://typesofengineeringdegrees.org/ )

'Producer' has never, that I know of, been a job category defined by the sort of educational/professional criteria applied to 'engineer.'

Yet we find ourself in the middle of a knock-down, dragged-out hyper-kerfuffle over the ever-ill-defined term 'producer.'

Laughing out loud here.
Old 3 days ago
  #60
Lives for gear
 
eternalsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
This stuff is ****ing hilarious. Y'all ought to get out in the real world some time.

How many of us use the term 'recording engineer' or (more colloquially) just 'engineer' in these forums?

I suspect that most of us realize that for the rest of the world, an engineer is something quite different, with distinct criteria and well-defined educational requirements. (Hint: you won't find 'recording engineer' in this list: https://typesofengineeringdegrees.org/ )

'Producer' has never, that I know of, been a job category defined by the sort of educational/professional criteria applied to 'engineer.'

Yet we find ourself in the middle of a knock-down, dragged-out hyper-kerfuffle over the ever-ill-defined term 'producer.'

Laughing out loud here.


I always thought "Recording Engineer" was self gloating myself. Maybe a "Recording Tech"??

I'd love to throw a little diffy-q at a random ..."Recording Engineer".

Then to throw fuel into the fire and fight for the title.

Life can be humerus ..that is for sure.
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