Typically, a music label usurps its power in coordination with the amount of impact their artist achieves. In return, the artist enjoys the benefits of promoted tours, endorsements, sponsorships and streaming. The link between music label and artist has been well-documented. However, throughout the musical process, there are countless behind-the-scenes entities that do not receive inclusion credit or proper retribution. The producers often suffer the consequences of music labels who utilize manipulative antics to influence what’s important to them: maximum profit.
Frequently, record labels concoct salacious schemes in order to justify their mistreatment of esteemed individuals. Their usage of vocabulary variations, loopholes and intentional exclusion create a dastardly environment for the hip-hop ecosystem. Unfortunately, not all parties involved in the production of a song reap similar benefits and/or advances.
In an ideal world, the one who produces a song should own 50% of the product’s copyright. Realistically, a song cannot function without BPM (beats per minute) and the main prerequisite to BPM is a beat. Reciprocally, a song without words and phrases would be considered merely an instrumental.
A proper connection between a producer and an artist is supposed to push the limitations of the genre. The dynamic combination that occurs between producer and artist symbolizes the ability to push culture forward through original sound and collaboration. Currently, there inlies a major discrepancy between producers who push sound forward and those who replicate.
The dynamics of song production include various types of instrumentation, creative placement and sound combinations. For a producer to maintain originality, it is important to understand, in totality, the roots and backgrounds of where their sounds derive from. The beginner producer should avoid sampling due to the lengthy clearance process and amount of handlers involved.
In a world saturated with “type beats” a producers’ most pivotal possession is their catalogue. The number one contributing factor to a distinguished catalogue relies upon innovation. Through observant consumption, a producer often crafts their initial catalogue in conjunction with specific sonic preferences.
The producer’s role within a streaming-dominant music industry deserves much more acclaim than it receives. Record labels and artists consistently rework the methods by which revenue becomes accrued. Throughout the process, labels and artists develop new strategies to capitalize off of the shifting habits of music consumers. In the meantime, producers slip through the cracks of the aforementioned foundation. The issues encountered by producers directly resemble our country’s economic inequalities. The top 1% of producers (Metro, TM808) receive the major placement opportunities while the rest are left to wade through the wealth distribution gaps.
In order to avoid exploitation, a tag is an important component of the modern producer’s repertoire. Tag placement at the beginning of the beat creates brand recognition and protects the sanctity of the producer’s creative output. There are three fundamental traits that every producer should prioritize: Recognizable tags, quality sound characteristics and the ability to differentiate from their associates.
Unfortunately, countless producers follow that exact fundamental model and remain unrecognized and/or undercompensated. Most recently, Marvel Alexander and Snugsworth (producers of “Shabba” by A$AP Ferg) disclosed that they only earned $1,000 between them for their contribution to the second single off of Ferg’s debut project. Due to the fact that RCA Records intentionally mislabeled “Trap Lord” as a mixtape they were able to foster a significantly lesser amount of reimbursement.
Ultimately, the entire situation comes down to mutual respect. To transform the industry standard, some producers seek synchronization amongst each other to formulate some sort of a collective union. Until that stronghold becomes established, these unethical practices will persist.