This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Music Producer Count.
1) What was the inspiration behind becoming a music producer?
I have always been drawn to the overall sound of music. Some people are attracted to an instrument, or a specific melody, or a person performing, but for me, I’ve always been fascinated by the overall sound. Why does an old jazz recording sound the way it does? Why do those old Motown records sound the way they do? As I started playing in bands, I become more and more interested in learning how to make our recordings sound the way I envisioned them in my head. Although my goal was to be a musician, before long, I had become a producer without even intending on heading down that career path.
2) What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
The biggest misconception about what I do is that it is easy, and that producers are rich. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a stereotype image of a music producer that seems to be burned in to the brains of music fans. The image is that of a super wealthy rock star, riding in a limo arriving at the Grammys. Most of us are working class people barely eeking out a living. Our work is not easy. We often work 15 hours days. We do what we do because we are compelled to create, but make no mistake we need to be compensated for our work.
3) When did you first become aware of copyright and why?
I first become aware of copyright at an early age, as I wondered what the C and P on the back of albums meant. It was only later on in life after I became a musician that I fully understood the importance of these protections of my work. As my career as a producer began to take off, Napster and other pirate sites were just beginning to emerge.
4) Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?
The importance of copyright protections became most apparent in 1999 during Napster. Within a very short period of time, the musicians and record companies who hired me to produce their music immediately became unable to pay even fraction of what they once were. As it became socially acceptable to steal music on Napster and other pirate platforms, the financial support required to create music evaporated. Creators like myself were the first hit. Today, I am often paid 1/3 what I used to make. I know very few people who could instantly adapt to making 1/3 of their current salary. For producers like myself who chose to work on independent music, the impacts are even more devastating.
5) What is your biggest copyright-related challenge?
The biggest copyright related challenge is getting people to realize the impact they are having on future creative works when they chose to access their music though pirate sites, or exploitative streaming services. Most people pirating music, or other media do not feel that they are having an impact on creators. Today, as more and more people migrate away from paid downloads, towards either pirating or using streaming services, the funding required to create is rapidly disappearing. Unfortunately, streaming services have not helped the issue as most people believe. Because of piracy, music and other creative media has been devalued to the point that streaming services either charge artificially low monthly rates, or give away our work for free. Either way, there is nowhere near the revenue needed to support even a tiny fraction of creators. Our greatest challenge as creators is making people aware of how important it is for them to support the creators who make the media they love and depend on.
Are you one of our Individual Creator Members? Participate in our Five Questions series! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you aren’t already a member of the Alliance, you can join today – at no cost – by completing our Individual Creator Members membership form!