Becoming a ghost producer is a big step for any artists. In some ways, people believe it is a step away from authenticity and that it is a form of ‘selling out’. In reality, it is an artist enabling themselves to make a living as a musician and earn an income doing what they love.
So why would someone become a ghost producer?
It’s no secret that there are multiple different aspects to becoming a successful entertainer. In the music industry, this involves high quality music, branding, marketing, fan engagement, brand continuity, national and international touring, streaming placement, digital playlist management, relevance, social media presence and so much more. While doing this, artists will engage in the services of business such as record labels, booking agents and management agencies. With the correct combination of these elements and enough time and dedication put towards your career growth as an artist, one can earn a living as a performer and artist.
For individuals who have mastered the skill of music production and want to have a career making music that doesn’t involve the other elements listed above, a career as a ghost producer is available to them. This involves producing music for other people to use in their own careers, for marketing materials, advertisements, gaming, movies, television, etc. In most cases, a ghost producer is unique as the artist doesn’t receive any writing credits.
Why would I not want to receive writing credits?
Writing credits are what most consider the tipping point where co-writing or co-production turns into ghost production. Some people may ask “why not just receive the writing credits and be a proper artist?”. We believe a statement like this seems simple but again only takes away from one’s capabilities as a music producer.
Writing credits are not simple
As we motioned earlier, a career as a ghost producer is appealing due to the fact it enables producers to make music and earn a living doing so. Writing credits, receiving royalties, writing contracts and negotiating ‘splits’ are complex and sometimes laborious tasks. Writing ‘splits’ refer to the percentage split of royalty pay-outs per person in a production. Those negotiations might results in a royalty agreement that looks something like this:
ROYALTY PERCENTAGE SPLITS
- Performer 1 (Producer): 25%
- Performer 2 (Vocalist): 15%
- Vocal Topline Writer: 10%
- Co-Writer 1: 15%
- Co-Writer 2: 10%
- Label: 15%
- Publisher: 10%
To effectively negotiate a split and writing credit, you would need to be involved in discussions with each stakeholder and find a way to a percentage you are comfortable with. In many cases, the record labels will be negotiating via A&R reps or lawyers. Performers will generally be represented by their management and other individuals may have varying methods of communication.
By becoming a ghost producer, you remove all of this complication. You are able to produce and sell music in a straightforward way. You choose the price and do not need to worry about any future negotiations or legal issues that may occur due to royalty pay-outs.