Ghost production has always been a big point of contention in dance music for artists and fans alike. With dance music growing to a tremendous size in 2015, the microscope focused on ghost producers is larger than ever before, and nearly everyone, whether you’re a fan, artist, or blogger, has their own opinion on it.
Last week, Billboard Dance editor, Matt Medved, took over Reddit’s r/electronicmusic subreddit for a special AMA (Ask Me Anything), where he gave his thoughts on the role of ghost producers in our scene, in addition to answering questions regarding a plethora of other topics. When asked about an artists relationship with ghost producers, Medved acknowledged that it was a sensitive issue with various opinions.
“Ghost production can be a touchy issue, even within the industry.
DJing and producing music are two different skill sets, so there are many gray areas. Some artists are very open about working with producers and engineers and I respect that when it’s clear they bring some skill set to the table. It’s not realistic to expect every artist to be a creative genius, a meticulous engineer and a crowd-thrilling performer bundled into one. Also some artists who originally found success with their own productions enlist the help of additional producers once their touring schedules intensify. But those examples are distinct from simply buying a track and slapping your name on it without any creative input. The artists who do that are almost never open about it, and there are often non-disclosure agreements involved.
I think opinions vary. Many of the artists who came up as producers resent it, because they know how much time and effort goes into learning to make industry-standard music. I think others who came up as DJs or singer/songwriters often see it differently, pointing to the many chefs in pop music’s kitchens as a parallel.
In the context of underground dance music, Guy Gerber once told me, “I think too many people, some of them I know personally, are very comfortable buying young kids’ tracks and putting their name on it. I would say maybe 50 to 60 percent don’t make their own music. It’s almost common to do such things.” Take that for what it’s worth.
I do believe in mutually beneficial partnership, and there are some high-profile examples of ghost producers helping established stars and, in exchange, gaining the exposure needed to take the leap to stardom themselves. There are also producers out there who are perfectly happy making a living far away from the limelight. But I don’t want to see anyone exploited. And I tend not to cover artists who I know are totally ghost-produced when they don’t bring some other skill set to the table. I won’t name names, but my silence speaks volumes.”
Here are a few other interesting tidbits from Matt Medved’s AMA. You can find his full list of answers here.
1. His favorite genre at the moment
“Honestly, I’m really into this 118-122 bpm melodic and tribal house music that I half-jokingly call Shaman House. I’m not trying to create a new genre, I just like the term. Artists to check out there: Damian Lazarus, David August, Nico Stojan, Bedouin, Lake People, Blond:ish, Kim Brown.”
2. His favorite Saturday night pasttime (and why its 99-life Super Smash Bros.):
“Because I always win as Ness.”