Music production is a key part of the songwriting process, and this month we want to highlight the talents of 3 top producer-songwriters that we’re proud to represent as part of our roster. Anara Publishing caught up with Brandon, Nivid and Ajimovoix to ask their opinions on royalties, production in the digital age, and the importance of music publishing.
How would you define the role of a music producer?
Brandon: I would personally compare the role of a music producer to that of a film director. If a music producer is working with an artist or group, they need to have a good grasp on the overall vision for a track/album, along with a relatively wide-ranging musical skillset necessary in order to execute that vision. They also need to be a good collaborator, while they themselves can bring a lot to the table, they also need to put the artist’s ideas and vision first and foremost. Ideally, the artist and producer’s roles should compliment one another, with the end result hopefully benefiting from both collaborators bringing together their best ideas and creating a work that is better than what each could have created on their own.
Nivid: A producer is a spirit guide when it comes to creating music for consumption. Unlike a songwriter who takes you from point A to B, a producer with their vision provides a roadmap of how to do it. A producer could be the songwriter, one of the musicians or a complete third person.
Ajimovoix: To me, what defines a music producer and their involvement varies from producer to producer. Essentially, they oversee all aspects of the creation of a song or album. The choice of song, choice of musicians, instruments, and vocalist(s) and how it all comes together. Even where the song is recorded can play a vital role in the finished product. Like a director is to a film, the music producer is to a song. They have to be able to make split-second decisions and convey their vision of the final song to all those involved. This vision needs to be communicated to everyone (audio engineers, musicians, singers) in a manner that gets the best possible performance.
How important is having music publisher representation as a producer?
Brandon: Working in a ‘music producer’ capacity can often mean that, while oftentimes intentional, your role on a project may appear as uncredited from a public-facing perspective. Working with a music publisher will help to ensure that appropriate credits and royalty/writer’s shares are still attributed to you as agreed between collaborators, and that works are registered with the necessary PROs. Having music publishing representation can also help you to grow your network of collaborators and can often lead to new working relationships being formed between artists/writers/producers all signed to the same publisher.
Nivid: Having publisher representation helps a producer tap into their resources by having a plethora of artists for collaboration and a legal framework for proper distribution of splits and acquiring royalties in place.
Ajimovoix: Publishing is essential to exploit, protect, collect and administrate songs. Exploitation in publishing means working to get musical compositions used by recording artists, record companies and film companies.
How are royalties split between producer and artist, and what is the norm for producer royalties?
Brandon: This is ultimately down to the split agreed between each of the collaborators on a work. If a solo artist and a single music producer work together on a track, with no other collaborators involved, and each feel their contribution was equal to that of the other, then they may agree on a 50/50 writer’s share split. Other variations may well occur when more collaborators are involved in the making of a song, or if some collaborators contribute more towards a work than others. In a scenario whereby there is only one solo artist and one music producer, anywhere between 25% – 50% seems common for a music producer’s share. In most, if not all cases, a producer should certainly be entitled to a royalty share in some form.
How has the role of being a producer evolved to satisfy the digital age?
Brandon: The role of a music producer may be much more technical and hands-on in the 2020s, when compared to that of a music producer in the 1960s, for example. This also varies depending on the genre of music being worked on. A modern music producer may also take on a role similar to that of a recording and/or mix engineer at certain points during the production process.
Nivid: With the democratization of the music making process everyone has access to tools which would probably cost crores back in the day. Which is good but it’s all got huge cons! You can find a lot of highly experienced producers ranting about this over on the various blogs and local communities all the time and they have a big point. The digital age brings along a mammoth amount of really homogenized generic sounding music, but I guess somebody is producing it and thereby satisfying the urge to make you feel safe.
Ajimovoix: The role of a producer has evolved so much and rapidly that even the digital age welcomes its presence, and this has really added to the value of most music producers.
How big of a role does a producer have in the overall songwriting process?
Brandon: Again, this varies depending on a number of factors including style of music, number of collaborators, producer’s skillset etc. However, quite often a producer can play quite a significant role in the creation/production of a song. An artist or group may have written a good song to begin with, but a good producer can often build upon that foundation and hopefully turn a ‘good’ song into a ‘great’ song. In some cases, such as that of EDM, a producer may write, produce, record, and mix an entire track themselves, with a vocalist only assisting in providing a topline for the track.
Nivid: Without a producer, you couldn’t hear a song out of those speakers in front of you!
If you’re interested in collaborating with Brandon, Nivid or Ajimovoix or licensing their tracks, please get in touch with the Anara Publishing team.