Ghost Producing in 2024

Understanding the Role and Impact in the Music Industry

Ghost producers remain as important as ever in today’s ecosystem, particularly in the realm of electronic music. Ghost production is nothing new when viewed through the lens of pop and hip hop music where literally every single song goes through multiple producers who contribute before it is released by a main artist. This is common knowledge, but perhaps less known when it comes to electronic music (EDM) and DJs in general. 

We’ll be demystifying ghost producing in this post and answer some of the common questions and misconceptions. This topic is highly relevant in 2024 with emerging trends like coproduction and ghost production in EDM as electronic music has fused with pop and hip hop. 

Defining Ghost Producing

What is Ghost Producing?

A Ghost Producer is a music producer that composes and produces tracks for other artists, allowing artists to focus on performing and touring. A Ghost Producer can either co-produce, produce the track entirely, or assist other artists with sound engineering.

Modern ghost production has its origins from the time music began being created digitally where a new skillset to creating commercial music was required. Every pop and hip hop artist required a producer to assist with the track creation, mixing and mastering processes. 

Fun fact, Ghost Producing can be traced back to the days of Motzart and other classical icons who would write pieces for wealthy individuals to perform for their social circles. Sound familiar? 

Unlike the 1700’s, today’s music industry is very structured with performers, labels and ghost producers all playing a critical role. 

What are Ghost Producers?

Ghost producers are talented music producers who prefer, or find it financially advantageous, to remain uncredited. They possess the technical skills and creativity to produce commercial music, but do not publicly take credit.

This perfectly describes myself. I’ve been a music producer for 12+ years, but as someone who is more introverted, I don’t have a taste for the stage or live performance. I’m much more comfortable working in the studio where I have unlimited creative freedom. The thousands of producers who feel the same as I do describe themselves as Ghost Producers. 

The Role of Ghost Producers in EDM

EDM Ghost Producer

Queue Maarten Vorwerk, the world’s most famous EDM Ghost Producer. He’s responsible for much of the big room house era that kicked EDM music into the spotlight. He is one of the first to apply the ghost production system commonly found in other genres of music into EDM. From this point forward, touring DJs turned towards edm ghost producers to accelerate their releases. 

Why Do DJs Use Ghost Producers?

DJs use ghost producers because they maintain rigorous touring schedules while simultaneously having the demand of regular chart-topping releases. I think everyone can relate to being tired after a long travel day. Imagine doing that 4 days per week and then needing to find time to produce dozens of track ideas to find a new release. For most, this is an impossible task so it makes sense that most DJs use ghost producers. This includes virtually every DJ on the DJ Mag Top 100. 

Aside from the lack of time there are other factors for why DJs use ghost producers including production ability, the volume of ideas it takes to create a hit and technical mixing and mastering. Mixing and mastering is rarely done by the original artist of any track, especially professionals. Typically, a touring DJ could start a track idea and have their team of ghost producers finish the track. 

Ethical Considerations

Is Ghost Producing Bad?

There has been a lot of debate around the questions of whether or not ghost producing is bad. In my opinion, ghost producing is a good thing and the process has become standard. Just look at Spotify credits on just about any song you listen to. You’ll see more than 1 artist because it truly takes a team to consistently produce amazing music. 

Those who feel ghost producing is bad are coming at it from a “fairness” perspective. While I understand where this comes from, ghost producing is done in a way that is fair to all parties. As I mentioned earlier, the studio is where I feel comfortable. I’ve ghost produced hundreds of tracks and heard them at EDC, Tomorrowland and many more and I can honestly say that I don’t feel any piece of the process was “unfair.” 

Do You Have to Credit Ghost Producers?

You do not have to credit ghost producers. This can go either way with some artists electing to credit producers, however, most of the time the ghost producer goes uncredited. This is something that is usually negotiated up front and will vary by artist.

I’ve been asked before – Is ghost production legal? The answer is, of course! This is a fairly simple service transaction. The DJ or performing artist will hire the ghost producer at a set rate to produce a song or multiple song ideas. It is rather straightforward and certainly legal. 

Understanding the Differences

Producer vs. Ghost Producer

There are differences between a producer and a ghost producer. A producer generally refers to an engineer who assists with arrangement, mixing and mastering and typically works with pop, rock, country and hip hop artists. A ghost producer on the other hand, plays a more pivotal role in the songwriting and production of the track including the writing of melodic ideas, basslines and the many other aspects of writing a song. 

An EDM Ghost Producer typically is involved in more than just mixing and mastering. They’ll play a big role in shaping the song musically and help bring the technical music production expertise to the project to ensure it’s commercial viability. 

Conclusion:

In summary, ghost production is as important in 2024 as it has ever been. Ghost producing is now more common place in EDM as it is in Pop and other genres. There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to become a ghost producer including the financial benefits and the ability to spend their time creatively in the studio. Major DJs use ghost producers for a variety of reasons including lack of time, experience and technical mixing and mastering capabilities. 

This trend is only going to continue as ghost production is viewed more as a collaboration than anything else. 

If you think you could use some help with your production, feel free to reach out to us. Our team of record label signed producers can help take your track to the next level. 

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