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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Producer's First Meeting

Music Brain image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Almost everyone knows the main phases of an album project (preproduction, tracking, overdubs, mixing, mastering), but the fact of the matter is that there's one more phase that actually begins the process - the meeting.

That's where the producer meets with the artist for the first time and they both decide if they like each other, can work together, and most importantly, be creative together. Of course, there may be other meetings before this decision is finally made, but the first one is critical for both the producer and the artist.

The problem is that any times the artist or band doesn't know exactly what to do or expect (especially one without much experience), so that leaves it up to the producer to guide things. Here are some questions to ask to determine if you’re a good fit with the artist.
  • What are some of your favorite records? Why?
  • What are your biggest influences? Why?
  • What recordings do you like the sound of?
  • What kind of sound are you looking for?
  • What is it that you like about the projects I’ve done?
  • What do you expect from me?
  • How much control over the project will I have?
  • Will I have control over the budget?
  • Is there a studio you want to work in?
  • Is there an engineer or musicians that you want to work with?
  • How many songs do you have written?
  • Do you feel that the songs are ready to record?
  • When do you expect to begin recording?
  • How long do you have to complete the project?
  • Who's paying for the project? 
These aren't the only questions, but they're some of the most important, as they can help you gauge the musical taste of the artist, how much guidance they're looking for, and the amount of time that the project may require. If this first meeting goes well, you can determine the details later. 

For additional production tips, check out The Music Producer's Handbook. You can read excerpts at


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