The Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) has urged music producers to continue churning out songs in order to build their catalogs, even if their contributions to the music they play a pivotal role in creating, go unrecognized.
“Record Producers are Kingmakers! They make stars out of Artists. They oftentimes work in the background without recognition, while doing the work of developing talent and creating amazing sounding records. They take on the financial risk of investing in the creation of music without any guarantee of making a single dollar in return,” the organisation noted recently on Instagram.
“Producers, keep making hits, and where there are no hits, keep building your catalog…because that is where the value will lie. In time, while you are sleeping your music will be earning. We salute record producers,” JAMMS added.
The matter of producers being severely under-recognized in music, while artists get the full glory for hit songs and albums, has long been a matter of discussion across many genres, including Dancehall.
In May 2021, when American rapper and record producer T-Pain argued that producers deserve more recognition than some artists, his Jamaican counterparts Ainsley “NotNice’ Morris and Toast producer Izy had strongly agreed.
T-Pain, who is known for popularizing Auto-Tune, had taken to Twitter to declare that as far as he was concerned, producers deserved more credit than they had been receiving, and that music lovers ought to give all the accolades to producers for making the beats to the songs they find endearing.
According to him, it was the beats that fans were loving and not the songs.
In response, NotNice, who has produced numerous songs for Vybz Kartel, including Last Man Standing, Mama, Cake Soap, Rompin Shop with Spice, and his Pon Di Gaza album, Jah Vinci’s break-out hit Watch Yuh Friends, Quada’s Celebration, and Popcaan’s Gangster City, had reposted T-Pain’s statements and endorsed the rapper’s sentiments.
“Some a dem artist ya gwaan like dem a the shit, Big up all the producers weh turn shit inna manure!” the Kyng Mydas producer had said.
Pine and Ginger producer and songwriter Tesselated, also concurred with Izy, and pointed out as well that the audio engineers who work behind the scenes to make artists dreams a reality, were not only ignored, but in most cases made obscure while songwriters were virtually “nonexistent.”
A January 2017 article titled Music producers and songwriters deserve more recognition, which was published in the Nova Southeastern University’s student newspaper The Current, noted that major pop artists such as Justin Bieber “continue to release music that fans lose their minds over” and that while most pop listeners continue to give them “undying praise and treat them like music gods,” even though “most of them only do a mere fraction of the work that it takes to produce an album”.
“Music producers are severely under-recognized in all music communities, but especially in pop and top 40’s hits. For example, Justin Bieber’s 2015 album “Purpose” was met with critical acclaim,” the author noted, citing the album, which included the Dancehall-infused mega-hit Sorry.
“Some reviewers even called it the best album of his career. But does Bieber deserve all that praise? Why don’t we ask the 26 producers who collaborated to perfect the music? Or the 26 contributing writers who helped him write the lyrics? While music critics and journalists may know that Bieber wasn’t the only talent on the record, none of that information is widely discussed among his audience and most listeners still think Bieber put forth most of the effort,” the publication noted.
In a May 2016 Gleaner interview, artiste and music producer Esco had explained that the music industry had experienced a shift, due partially to lack of marketing on the part of the producers, which resulted in them being relegated to the background, whilst artists took control.
“It has changed partially because some of the young producers are just not marketing themselves or their brand as much as producers used to do back in the day,” he had told the publication.
Veteran music producer Gussie Clarke had also pointed out that music producers are often overlooked due to the fact that the industry had become saturated with self-proclaimed producers who were not “putting in the work”.
“First, you have to define who a producer is. You have some people who call themselves producers, they come to the studio and him take a rhythm from one man and go to the engineer and the engineer mix it and at the end of the day him say him a di producer,” Clarke had said.
“A producer is somebody who understands the business, someone who can take an idea from the concept of thought to reality, practicality, and ultimately success. Those producers are the ones who get the ratings and the recognition because they have put in the work,” he had explained.
Clarke, who has produced songs such as Telephone Love by J.C. Lodge, Just A Little Bit Longer by Maxi Priest and Twice My Age by Shabba Ranks and Krystal, also said there were many great producers in Jamaica who deserve to be recognised, but were on the back burner due to payola.
“Music these days is not being played based on the quality of the content or the production, it is being played based on who you can pay off. When you go to a deejay, if you have your money, him play any little thing, and the man who is producing great music can’t get him music played. When this happens, these people become frustrated and don’t know where to turn, and then the musical content from the ones who don’t know what they’re doing is what gets out there,” he had said.