A youngster who is trying to venture into the music industry recently asked me whether he really needs to get a producer. I asked him what he thinks. And he told me that if it were up to him, he would have preferred to do without a producer. I asked him why. He replied that in his opinion, “producers are leeches, who seek to benefit from musicians, without adding much value.”
While I tend to agree with the young man on the part about some producers being leeches who seek to benefit from musicians without adding much value, I nonetheless advised the upcoming musician to get one! In supporting my advice, I told the young man what I believe is the truth: that beneath the surface, the music industry is controlled by certain powerful cartels, and it is very hard (actually it is pretty much impossible) to break through without the support of those cartels. These cartels determine, mostly arbitrarily, who becomes a star and who becomes a flop. Once the cartels decide to make you a star, they will promote your music aggressively, and people will come to like it due to constant exposure to that music (even if it isn’t necessarily good music). This is how songs that are mediocre end up ‘hitting’ while songs that are superb ‘flop’.
So you need to find ways of getting the support of these cartels, to get anywhere music-wise. And pretty much the only way to get the support of those cartels who control the industry, is by linking up with the right producer. In this context, you should view the producers as your fixer, and appreciate his usefulness in that regard.
While at it, a good producer may also suggest ways to make your music better (and more appealing to the market) based on his experience. You, as a single artist, can’t assume that you know what will appeal to the market. But a producer who has dealt with numerous artists over the years, and who has had the opportunity to observe market trends, can give you meaningful advice on how to improve your music, so as to make it appealing to the mass market. For these reasons, I think it is advisable to get a good producer, if at all you wish to succeed in the music industry.