Producers peeved - Frustrated over lack of attention from industry, urged to market their brand more
Many local music producers are today growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of recognition they receive for their contributions to the development of Jamaica’s music industry.
These creative minds expressed that while they understand that artistes will get the attention and respect in the street for their music, producers are also to be credited as they are responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing hit songs.
In a recent interview with The Sunday Gleaner, artiste and producer Esco explained that there has been a shift in the music industry, and that shift has caused the producers to now be ‘sitting in the backseat’, while the artistes take control of the industry.
“It is no secret that it’s not a producer’s market right now, the producer is not at the forefront at the moment. There was a time where the producer was one of the prime points of marketing. Now it’s changed,” he said citing a lack of marketing on the producer’s part as one of the reasons for the shift in attention.
“It has changed partially because some of the young producers are just not marketing themselves or their brand as much as producers used to do back in the day,” he explained.
“There has also been a shift in the market. It is now an artiste’s market. Before, a producer used to attract more of the bread (money) and then they used to pay out to the artistes, but that has all changed, so the producer takes a hit there because he’s no longer the primary money-making point.”
Esco went on to say that producers may not be getting the recognition they deserve, but explains that not being recognised enough for their contribution to the music is no fault of the industry.
“Are we (producers) getting enough recognition? Maybe not, but is it a fault of the music? I don’t think so. As a producer, you have to market yourself and your brand, so each time a rhythm drops and it becomes popular, the production house and the producer also gains popularity. If you want recognition, it’s there for you, but if you don’t put in the work, you won’t get it.”
Veteran music producer Gussie Clarke agreed to some extent. He explained that while there is enough recognition to pass around to all the players in the music industry, producers are often overlooked because of the fact that the business has become saturated with persons who call themselves producers, but aren’t putting in the work.
“First, you have to define who a producer is. You have some people who call themselves producers, they come to the studio and him take a rhythm from one man and go to the engineer and the engineer mix it and at the end of the day him say him a di producer. A producer is somebody who understands the business, someone who can take an idea from the concept of thought to reality, practicality, and ultimately success. Those producers are the ones who get the ratings and the recognition because they have put in the work,” Clarke explained.
He also said there are a lot of great producers in Jamaica who deserve to be recognised, but are constantly in the shadows because of the corruption brought into the music industry through payola.
“Music these days is not being played based on the quality of the content or the production, it is being played based on who you can pay off. When you go to a deejay, if you have your money, him play any little thing, and the man who is producing great music can’t get him music played,” he said. “When this happens, these people become frustrated and don’t know where to turn, and then the musical content from the ones who don’t know what they’re doing is what gets out there.”
“There’s no doubt that globalisations, and the advancement of technology has watered down the music on a whole for both artistes and producers. The fact is that anybody calling themselves a producer now has contributed to the general decay of the music,” he explained.
“I would advise these young producers coming up to learn about their craft. I wouldn’t say everybody has to be certified because some of the best persons in the business aren’t certified, but make sure you examine the business and learn about it before you jump into it. It is also very important to recognise how important marketing is. I believe producers can get as much attention as they desire because, as I said, it’s all about how you market your brand.”