Record producer

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Record producer_table_infobox_0

Record producerRecord producer_table_caption_0
OccupationRecord producer_header_cell_0_0_0
NamesRecord producer_header_cell_0_1_0 Record producer, music producerRecord producer_cell_0_1_1
Occupation typeRecord producer_header_cell_0_2_0 ProfessionRecord producer_cell_0_2_1
Activity sectorsRecord producer_header_cell_0_3_0 Music industryRecord producer_cell_0_3_1
DescriptionRecord producer_header_cell_0_4_0
CompetenciesRecord producer_header_cell_0_5_0 Instrumental skills, keyboard knowledge, songwriting, arranging, vocal coachingRecord producer_cell_0_5_1
Fields of

employmentRecord producer_header_cell_0_6_0

Recording studiosRecord producer_cell_0_6_1
Related jobsRecord producer_header_cell_0_7_0 Music executive, recording engineer, executive producer, film producer, A&RRecord producer_cell_0_7_1

A record producer or music producer, unlike an audio engineer, who simply operates the technology employed in a music recording's creation and refinement, is the recording project's creative and technical leader, commanding studio time and coaching artists, and in popular genres typically creates the song's very sound and structure. Record producer_sentence_0

The record producer, or simply the producer, is likened to a film director. Record producer_sentence_1

The executive producer, on the other hand, enables the recording project through entrepreneurship. Record producer_sentence_2

Varying by project, the producer may also choose all of the artists, or openly perform vocals with them. Record producer_sentence_3

If employing only synthesized or sampled instrumentation, the producer may be the sole artist. Record producer_sentence_4

Conversely, some artists do their own production. Record producer_sentence_5

And some producers are their own engineers, operating the technology across the project: preproduction, recording, mixing, and mastering. Record producer_sentence_6

Record producers' precursors were "A&R men," who likewise could blend entrepreneurial, creative, and technical roles, but often exercised scant creative influence, as record production still focused, into the 1950s, on simply improving the record's sonic match to the artists' own live performance. Record producer_sentence_7

Advances in recording technology, especially the 1940s advent of tape recording—which Les Paul promptly innovated further to develop multitrack recording—and the 1950s rise of electronic instruments, turned record production into a specialty. Record producer_sentence_8

In popular music, then, producers like George Martin, Phil Spector and Brian Eno led its evolution into its present use of elaborate techniques and unrealistic sounds, creating songs impossible to originate live. Record producer_sentence_9

After the 1980s, production's move from analog to digital further expanded possibilities. Record producer_sentence_10

By now, DAWS, or digital audio workstations, like Logic Pro and Pro Tools, turn an ordinary computer into a production console, whereby a solitary novice can become a skilled producer in a thrifty home studio. Record producer_sentence_11

In the 2010s, efforts began to increase the prevalence of producers and engineers who are women, heavily outnumbered by men and prominently accoladed only in classical music. Record producer_sentence_12

Production overview Record producer_section_0

As a broad project, the creation of a music recording may be split across three specialists: the executive producer, who oversees business partnerships and financing, the vocal producer or vocal arranger, who aids vocal performance via expert critique and coaching of vocal technique, and the record producer or music producer, who, often called simply the producer, directs the overall creative process of recording the song in its final mix. Record producer_sentence_13

The record producer's roles include, but may exceed, gathering ideas, composing music, choosing session musicians, proposing changes to song arrangements, coaching the performers, controlling sessions, supervising the audio mixing, and, in some cases, supervising the audio mastering. Record producer_sentence_14

As to qualifying for a Grammy nomination, the Recording Academy defines a producer: Record producer_sentence_15

The producer often selects and collaborates with a mixing engineer, who focuses on the especially technological aspects of the recording process, namely, operating the electronic equipment and blending the raw, recorded tracks of the chosen performances, whether vocal or instrumental, into a mix, either stereo or surround sound. Record producer_sentence_16

Then a mastering engineer further adjusts this recording for distribution on the chosen media. Record producer_sentence_17

A producer may work on only one or two songs or on an artist's entire album, helping develop the album's overall vision. Record producer_sentence_18

The record producers may also take on the role of executive producer, managing the budget, schedules, contracts, and negotiations. Record producer_sentence_19

Historical developments Record producer_section_1

A&R men Record producer_section_2

(Artist and Repertoire) Record producer_sentence_20

In the 1880s, the record industry began by simply having the artist perform at a phonograph. Record producer_sentence_21

In 1924, the trade journal Talking Machine World, covering the phonography and record industry, reported that Eddie King, Victor Records' manager of the "New York artist and repertoire department," had planned a set of recordings in Los Angeles. Record producer_sentence_22

Later, folklorist Archie Green called this perhaps the earliest printed use of A&R man. Record producer_sentence_23

Actually, it says neither "A&R man" nor even "A&R," an initialism perhaps coined by Billboard magazine in 1946, and entering wide use in the late 1940s. Record producer_sentence_24

In the 1920s and 1930s, A&R executives, like Ben Selvin at Columbia Records, Nathaniel Shilkret at Victor Records, and Bob Haring at Brunswick Records, supervising recording and often leading session orchestras, became the precursors of record producers. Record producer_sentence_25

During the 1940s, American record labels increasingly opened official A&R departments, whose roles included supervision of recording. Record producer_sentence_26

Meanwhile, recording studios owned independently, not by major record labels, opened, helping originate record producer as a specialty. Record producer_sentence_27

But despite a tradition of some A&R men writing music, record production remained, strictly, merely the manufacturing of record discs. Record producer_sentence_28

Record producers Record producer_section_3

After World War II, pioneering A&R managers who transitioned influentially to record production as now understood, while sometimes owning independent labels, include J. Record producer_sentence_29 Mayo Williams and John Hammond. Record producer_sentence_30

Upon moving from Columbia Records to Mercury Records, Hammond appointed Mitch Miller to lead Mercury's popular recordings in New York. Record producer_sentence_31

Miller then produced country-pop crossover hits by Patti Page and by Frankie Laine, moved from Mercury to Columbia, and became a leading A&R man of the 1950s. Record producer_sentence_32

During the decade, A&R executives increasingly directed songs' sonic signatures, although many still simply teamed singers with musicians, while yet others exercised virtually no creative influence. Record producer_sentence_33

The term record producer in its current meaning—the creative director of song production—appearing in a 1953 issue of Billboard magazine, became widespread in the 1960s. Record producer_sentence_34

Still, a formal distinction was elusive for some time more. Record producer_sentence_35

A&R managers might still be creative directors, like William "Mickey" Stevenson, hired by Berry Gordy, at the Motown record label. Record producer_sentence_36

Tape recording Record producer_section_4

In 1947, the American market gained audio recording onto magnetic tape. Record producer_sentence_37

At the record industry's 1880s dawn, rather, recording was done by phonograph, etching the sonic waveform vertically into a cylinder. Record producer_sentence_38

By the 1930s, a gramophone etched it laterally across a disc. Record producer_sentence_39

Constrained in tonal range, whether bass or treble, and in dynamic range, records made a grand, concert piano sound like a small, upright piano, and maximal duration was four and a half minutes. Record producer_sentence_40

Selections and performance were often altered accordingly. Record producer_sentence_41

And playing this disc—the wax master—destroyed it. Record producer_sentence_42

The finality often caused anxiety that restrained performance to prevent error. Record producer_sentence_43

In the 1940s, during World War II, the Germans refined audio recording onto magnetic tape—uncapping recording duration and allowing immediate playback, rerecording, and editing—a technology that premised emergence of record producers in their current roles. Record producer_sentence_44

Multitrack recording Record producer_section_5

Early in the recording industry, a record was attained by simply having all of the artists perform together live in one take. Record producer_sentence_45

In 1945, by recording a musical element while playing a previously recorded record, Les Paul developed a recording technique called "sound on sound." Record producer_sentence_46

By this, the final recording could be built piece by piece and tailored, effecting an editing process. Record producer_sentence_47

In one case, Paul produced a song via 500 recorded discs. Record producer_sentence_48

But, besides the tedium of this process, it serially degraded the sound quality of previously recorded elements, rerecorded as ambient sound. Record producer_sentence_49

Yet in 1948, Paul adopted tape recording, enabling truly multitrack recording by a new technique, "overdubbing." Record producer_sentence_50

To enable overdubbing, Paul revised the tape recorder itself by adding a second playback head, and terming it the preview head. Record producer_sentence_51

Joining the preexisting recording head, erase head, and playback head, the preview head allows the artist to hear the extant recording over headphones playing it in synchrony, "in sync," with the present performance being recorded alone on an isolated track. Record producer_sentence_52

This isolation of multiple tracks enables countless mixing possibilities. Record producer_sentence_53

Producers began recording initially only the "bed tracks"—the rhythm section, including the bassline, drums, and rhythm guitar—whereas vocals and instrument solos could be added later. Record producer_sentence_54

A horn section, for example, could record a week later, and a string section another week later. Record producer_sentence_55

A singer could perform her own backup vocals, or a guitarist could play 15 layers. Record producer_sentence_56

Electronic instruments Record producer_section_6

Across the 1960s, popular music increasingly switched from acoustic instruments, like piano, upright bass, acoustic guitar, and brass instruments, to electronic instruments, like electric guitars, keyboards, and synthesizers, employing instrument amplifiers and speakers. Record producer_sentence_57

These could mimic acoustic instruments or create utterly new sounds. Record producer_sentence_58

Soon, by combining the capabilities of tape, multitrack recording, and electronic instruments, producers like Phil Spector, George Martin, and Joe Meek rendered sounds unattainable live. Record producer_sentence_59

Similarly, in jazz fusion, Teo Macero, producing Miles Davis's 1970 album Bitches Brew, spliced sections of extensive improvisation sessions. Record producer_sentence_60

Performer-producer Record producer_section_7

In the 1960s, rock acts like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks produced some of their own songs, although many such songs are officially credited to specialist producers. Record producer_sentence_61

Yet especially influential was the Beach Boys, whose band leader Brian Wilson took over from his father Murry within a couple of years after the band's commercial breakthrough. Record producer_sentence_62

By 1964, Wilson had taken Spector's techniques to unseen sophistication. Record producer_sentence_63

Wilson alone produced all Beach Boy recordings between 1963 and 1967. Record producer_sentence_64

Using multiple studios and multiple attempts of instrumental and vocal tracks, Wilson selected the best combinations of performance and audio quality, and used tape editing to assemble a composite performance. Record producer_sentence_65

Digital production Record producer_section_8

The 1980s advent of digital processes and formats rapidly replaced analog processes and formats, namely, tape and vinyl. Record producer_sentence_66

Although recording onto quality tape, at least half an inch wide and traveling 15 inches per second, had limited "tape hiss" to silent sections, digital's higher signal-to-noise ratio, SNR, abolished it. Record producer_sentence_67

Digital also imparted to the music a perceived "pristine" sound quality, if also a loss of analog recordings' perceived "warm" quality and bass better rounded. Record producer_sentence_68

Yet whereas editing tape media requires physically locating the target audio on the ribbon, cutting there, and splicing pieces, editing digital media offers inarguable advantages in ease, efficiency, and possibilities. Record producer_sentence_69

In the 1990s, digital production reached affordable home computers via production software. Record producer_sentence_70

By now, recording and mixing are often centralized in DAWs, digital audio workstations—for example, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton, Cubase, Reason, and FL Studio—for which plugins, by third parties, effect virtual studio technology. Record producer_sentence_71

DAWs fairly standard in the industry are Logic Pro and Pro Tools. Record producer_sentence_72

Physical devices involved include the main mixer, MIDI controllers to communicate among equipment, the recording device itself, and perhaps effects gear that is outboard. Record producer_sentence_73

Yet literal recording is sometimes still analog, onto tape, whereupon the raw recording is converted to a digital signal for processing and editing, as some producers still find audio advantages to recording onto tape. Record producer_sentence_74

Conventionally, tape is more forgiving of overmodulation, whereby dynamic peaks exceed the maximal recordable signal level: tape's limitation, a physical property, is magnetic capacity, which tapers offs, smoothing the overmodulated waveform even at a signal nearly 15 decibels too "hot," whereas a digital recording is ruined by harsh distortion of "clipping" at any overshoot. Record producer_sentence_75

In digital recording, however, a recent advancement, 32-bit float, enables DAWs to undo clipping. Record producer_sentence_76

Still, some criticize digital instruments and workflows for excess automation, allegedly impairing creative or sonic control. Record producer_sentence_77

In any case, as production technology has drastically changed, so have the knowledge demands, although DAWs enables novices, even teenagers at home, to learn production independently. Record producer_sentence_78

Some have attained professional competence before ever working with an artist. Record producer_sentence_79

Women in producing Record producer_section_9

Among record producers female, Sylvia Moy was the first at Motown, Gail Davies the first on Nashville's Music Row, and Ethel Gabriel, with RCA, the first at a major record label. Record producer_sentence_80

Lillian McMurry, owning Trumpet Records, produced influential blues records. Record producer_sentence_81

Meanwhile, Wilma Cozart Fine produced hundreds of records for Mercury Records' classical division. Record producer_sentence_82

For classical production, three women have won Grammy awards, and Judith Sherman's 2015 win was her fifth. Record producer_sentence_83

Yet in nonclassical, no woman has won Producer of the Year, awarded since 1975. Record producer_sentence_84

After Lauren Christy's 2004 nomination, Linda Perry's 2019 nomination was the next for a woman. Record producer_sentence_85

On why no woman had ever won it, Perry commented, "I just don't think there are that many women interested." Record producer_sentence_86

Across the decades, many female artists have produced their own music. Record producer_sentence_87

For instance, artists Kate Bush, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Lorde have produced or coproduced. Record producer_sentence_88

Still, among specialists, despite some prominent women, including Missy Elliott in hip hop and Sylvia Massy in rock, the vast majority have been men. Record producer_sentence_89

Early in the 2010s, asked for insights that she herself had gleaned as a woman who has specialized successfully in the industry, Wendy Page remarked, "The difficulties are usually very short-lived. Record producer_sentence_90

Once people realize that you can do your job, sexism tends to lower its ugly head." Record producer_sentence_91

Still, when tasked to explain her profession's sex disparity, Page partly reasoned that record labels, dominated by men, have been, she said, "mistrustful of giving a woman the reins of an immense, creative project like making a record." Record producer_sentence_92

Ultimately, the reasons are multiple and not fully clear, although prominently proposed factors include types of sexism and scarcity of female role models in the profession. Record producer_sentence_93

In January 2018, a research team led by Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, based in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, issued a report, estimating that in the prior several years, about 2% of popular songs' producers were female. Record producer_sentence_94

Also that month, Billboard magazine queried, "Where all the female music producers?" Record producer_sentence_95

Upon the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative's second annual report, released in February 2019, its department at USC reported, "2018 saw an outcry from artists, executives and other music industry professionals over the lack of women in music" and "the plight of women in music," where women were allegedly being "stereotyped, sexualized, and shut out." Record producer_sentence_96

Also in February 2019, the Recording Academy's Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion announced an initiative whereby over 200 artists and producers—ranging from Cardi B and Taylor Swift to Maroon 5 and Quincy Jones—agreed to consider at least two women for each producer or engineer position. Record producer_sentence_97

The academy's website,, announced, "This initiative is the first step in a broader effort to improve those numbers and increase diversity and inclusion for all in the music industry." Record producer_sentence_98

See also Record producer_section_10

Record producer_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: producer.