Mix Palace Production
The challenges indie artists face in the music industry today.
Well, I been asked to write this for over 10 years: Why is older music is still holding up today and why does Independently made music today (DIY scene) not seem to have the same artistic quality and lasting value even the top 10 current hits of today have.
Well it all starts with the system, which in the music business is NOT broken at this time , but has just became even smaller.
Starting with record labels in the 80's and 90's , the way we made records back then that got you to the top was threw several different methods, in which I am going to explain in this essay.
Back in the day, if you had talent, you would make a demo and pitch it to a label . if something sounded marketable, it would catch the attention of the A&R at the label. At that point the A&R person would contact you and set up a meeting or see you live to see the bands image and personality and to hear what other material you had.If you passed the first test, the A&R person would convince the label to provide a small budget and maybe even assign a label producer to demo up some more material to see if there really was potential with your group. After this work was done, the producer played the demo(s) for the A&R person. If the A & R person liked what he heard he would play the demo's for other employee's at the label at a board meeting, to see what the general consensus was about the music.
Once the label (chief turkey) decided there was potential in the band, the A&R person would convince the label to sign the band and usually assign a producer to the band to record an album. As this process proceeded, the label A&R person would monitor the project and make a few musical suggestions including, songs to be used on the album, what the single might be, etc. . IT WAS THE A&R'S COMPLETE UNEMOTIONAL VIEWPOINT THAT WOULD SOMETIMES BE THE CHERRY ON THE PIE, OR MAGIC TOUCH IN ALOT OF THE MASTERPIECE PROJECTS THAT CAME OUT OF THE 80'S THREW THE 90'S. It was a team effort.
Once the record was done, the label had the right to hire anyone to mix, remix, edit, extend the song to their liking. Sometimes this process would take on a life of its own. There were times when a record was mixed by 5 different hot mixer/producers and sometimes ideas from all 5 mixer/producers were used in the final product. This is a very important fact to understand. Because a lot of great records in the 80's and 90's were a collage of many talented mixer/producers. Once this was done, the record was serviced to all the DJ pools, and radio pools, for evaluation.
To be a member of a DJ pool, there was not only a small fee, but also a feedback sheet that had to be filled out in complete about how you felt about the records you received being a member in the DJ pool. This feedback sheet went back to the record companies and was included in some of the decision making at the label concerning the promotional budget. If the record got really bad reviews from the DJ's there was a chance the record could be shelved, or just put out
with little promotion. Sometimes arrangement ideas from a DJ(s) were re-incorporated into the final product (thus the label would have to make the changes and remix the final record).
At the top of the industry (and there are exceptions) most records are still made this way. But in the DIY scene, there is a very different system. Usually a band self produces themselves, and works in their home with little or NO input from anyone not directly attached to the project. This is why the quality of music, I just don't mean sonic quality, but production value is not up to major league standards.
I can't tell you how many young artists I have met , whereby when I explained the importance of my role in there project as an executive producer, they became very confused, not understanding the importance of an unemotional, professional viewpoint of their music and how much artistic value it can add to their overall project!
When I take on an artist, as an executive producer, I do just what i described above, I hire a producer and monitor their work making sure the songs, tempo's, arrangements and production is all up to professional standards.