Co-producers – What’s that, and how can I become one?
As a music producer, there’s another way to take part in productions besides creating audio: by becoming a co-producer!
Being a co-producer can be useful in many ways: you get your share of the project royalties while learning about professional creative productions from a client’s perspective. As you start understanding the customer point of view by listening to other composers’ work in a more focused way, you’ll become a better music producer yourself.
We emailed two of our most prominent co-producers–WheelieR and NVSound–to learn from their perspective what it means to co-produce on Audiodraft Agency Studios.
The other side of a production
According to WheelieR, the main thing about co-production is to translate a written brief full of adjectives like “fun, uplifting and sunny” to a more technical and musical explanation. How can “sunny” be translated into a piece of music? Of course, everyone might have their own interpretation, but the main role of a co-producer is to translate the client’s definition – that’s the only one that matters in the end. As a co-producer it is rewarding to get to the other side of the contest, WheelieR says.
NVSound adds that these two sides also support each other. When co-producing you have to evaluate existing sounds to see if they fit the purpose of a certain project. By constructively criticising his colleagues’ works NVSound feels that he can help them achieve a better result. Both fields are different, yet they complement each other.
The main difference between composing and co-producing is simple: composing means translating the written brief to your own musical interpretation. The co-producer has to listen to all of the submitted tracks and give scores and personal feedback to each one of them. As a co-producer you have to interpret all the tracks according to the words and wishes of the client.
NVSound explains the difference between the two roles: “Whenever you are composing a track you are immersed into your sound reality. By the time you finish your job you have heard the track so many times your opinion has become biased. On the contrary, when you co-produce, you hear music for the first time. Your ears are clean and open for acceptance or rejection.”
Feedback – helping others while becoming a better composer yourself
Feedback is very useful for composers. Though, as WheelieR points out, a co-producer is just another listener providing maybe a bit more sophisticated comments. That way composers can get constant feedback on their tracks. WheelieR himself remembers a time before co-production was available on Audiodraft, when there were some private productions where the client didn’t give any feedback at all. That obviously hindered composers from improving their tracks – and the contest holder from having the tracks getting closer to their needs. Thus, a co-producer provides help for both composers and contest holders.
As prominent co-producers and composers, both WheelieR and NVSound have similar thoughts regarding the role of a co-producer. NVSound explains that “sometimes the music I hear is great but it does not fit the project’s brief. That really bums me out because I have to reject the track and tell the composer to start all over, even though I’m their biggest fan!”. WheelieR has quite similar thoughts. “The most fun and gratifying part is to see composers’ reactions to your feedback. It’s really cool to see that your feedback helped someone compose awesome tracks (better than yours ;-)).”
In addition to helping other music producers, both WheelieR and NVSound think that co-producing can make you a better composer. WheelieR says: “Sometimes interpreting a brief seems to be easy, but when you see the final track that the client chose, you think ‘wow I wasn’t expecting that at all…’. It happens to me sometimes that the contest holder chooses a track that I thought didn’t fit the brief so well. And it’s probably because I didn’t clearly understand the brief.”
NVSound also has similar experiences. “Co-producing is a way of thinking outside the box. I think of it as a hygienic habit for my ears. I can see myself composing music when I hear my colleagues’ works. This way I can really engage in my own productions because I can already imagine someone else co-producing my works. This is why it is so crucial. Co-producing helps me become a better music producer. By helping others I help myself.”
Growing your royalties and your portfolio
According to NVSound, co-producing is a way of hearing yourself from the outside. He calls it “the ego eliminator”: you become a better composer by having more critical ears. “Not only are you helping others achieve their sonic goals, but you make an idea of what your work may sound like to others.”
WheelieR, too, thinks co-production is rewarding in many ways. “It can help you professionally, as you can say in your portfolio that you have worked on international campaigns, TV series episodes and other great projects!” Also, the co-producer earns a part of the royalties of any given production. Anyone should find interest in that, WheelieR thinks. At least that was the original reason for WheelieR to participate in as many co-producing opportunities as possible.
Also, WheelieR stresses that being a co-producer doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in other productions as a composer. It’s just something extra. You have to be a composer first, having proven your abilities, to be qualified as a co-producer. To wrap it up, he nicely sums up the meaning of being a co-producer: “You are useful for the composers, the clients, Audiodraft and yourself. So it’s win-win and fun!” NVSound can’t but agree. “To me, co-producers are not only teachers, they are also lucky to learn from each other. I would encourage any composer to co-produce.”
Find NVSound and WheelieR online:
Check your status level and apply to become one when your Audiodraft Status reaches Junior Level.