I have a relationship with my producer, Gary Gray, where I essentially give him carte blanche to make any changes he deems appropriate to the tracks he produces for me, for licensing, with the goal of creating tracks that have the highest chance of being synced. Sometimes that involves subtle changes to the arrangement. Sometimes that involves getting a different vocalist to sing a track that fits the song better. Sometimes that might entail changing the instrumentation. Other times, as in the case of our latest collaboration, it entails completely re-imagining the track, changing the tempo, arrangement, instrumentation and vocalist, to make it a better fit for the needs of our clients.
Let me explain…
A few months ago I sent Gary a few new songs I wanted him to produce. Right around the same time, a publisher Gary and I work with, sent us a playlist of reference tracks that were similar to the types of tracks they are in need of. Based on this playlist, Gary took my latest track, called “Things I Left Behind” and created a completely different version more aligned to the needs of my publisher and their clients.
Here’s the original demo version of my track that I sent Gary.
Here’s the version Gary created based on the reference tracks we were sent.
I have to be honest, the first time I heard the new version, I was a little taken aback. It was so different, and so much slower, that it almost felt like a completely different song to me. But after repeated listening, the new version has really grown on me. The production is great, the vocals are powerful and emotive, and most importantly, our publishing company loved it and requested more songs from me in a similar vein.
There is a time in place to let go of a portion of creative control over your songs. I don’t always know what the right move is production wise when it comes to the tracks I write, especially when it comes to something like making money in sync licensing, where production plays such a critical role. I do know though that since I’ve started working with Gary, the amount of syncs I’ve gotten has gone up about 200%.
A producer is like an extra member of “the band” and the decisions a producer makes can be the difference between getting your songs licensed or not. Choose your producer wisely. If you're self producing, make sure to learn from producers who are actually working in sync licensing and actively licensing tracks.
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