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September 1, 2008

What exactly do music producers do?

It's a good question. You hear about super producers like Timbaland all the time. But do you know what they actually do?

Lemme tell ya ... 

Producers are kind of like editors. A band will have a song written, take it to the producer, and the producer will help them record it. The producer might add a new beat or make suggestions for what part should go where in the song.

The producer often adds orchestration (maybe a string arrangement here, a touch of cowbell there) and helps put everything together.

Bands bounce ideas off the producer, and the result is what you hear on the radio/iTunes.

"Apologize" by One Republic is a great example. They wrote the song, and then Timbaland remixed it.

Here is their original version: 

and here is Timbaland's take: 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:16 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music


Eh, you super simplified things way too much. A lot of it varies based on the genre, some producers just set up microphones and hit 'record,' some collaborate with the artist on the arrangement. Some hip hop and pop producers, like Timbaland most of the time, will write, arrange and program or record every note of music on the song except the vocals. This is really just a rare example of him 'remixing' a song instead of creating it from scratch.

From what I have read, the understanding I have is the producer is a facilitator to help the recording artist to realized the performance they have in mind, but that doesn't mean that he is only that, he is also a sounding board for ideas in developement and someone to offer suggestions during moments of problem solving, which may include recommending to bring in outside help and who.

"The producer often adds orchestration (maybe a string arrangement here, a touch of cowbell there)..."
The above, these days, usually wouln't occur without most artists authorization/consent.

Today, most artist wouldn't let someone Phil Spector produce like he did in the early Sixties, which was to have the backing track fully prepared and the artist just come in and lay down their vocal.
Well maybe someone like Britney Spears would.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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