Listening to musical artist is an excellent pastime for many people across the world. Most people listen primarily to the artists that they like or hear on the radio. Over time, people get an idea for the artists that they like and continue to listen to that same artist, keep up with that artist, and buy every album they release. In most cases, they begin enjoy the sound that this artist has developed over the years. Typically, with each consecutive album release, each album gets better, or more complex. This complexity can be viewed as the artist growing and mastering his or her craft. This is without a doubt a factor in the evolution of all artists during their careers. However, one big reason that the music becomes more complex and involved is the new people and technology that they are introduced to through the technology of music production and producers.
People do not give much though to the amount of producing technology that goes into making this new album what it is, which is mostly done by relatively anonymous producers. In some cases, the original artist has little to do with the overall sound of the album. The record company will generally hire experienced producers and engineers to master and re-master the song ideas. The artist may have originally written the song on an acoustic guitar to plan out what chords, timing, and vocal melody he or she wants the song to incorporate. Then, the artist will sit down with a producer and begin to record. The producer, depending on the artist’s contract with the record company, has the final say in what chords to actually use and what lyrics to sing whether the artist wants this or not. Typically, it’s for the better, because the producer has a better feel for what demographic the particular artist is appealing to. Max Martin is a famed record producer with over 17 #1 hits that he either co-wrote and/or produced. Including: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, “E.T.” 2011, Maroon 5, “One More Night,” 2012, and Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 2012(1). “He ranks behind only Paul McCartney, with 32, and John Lennon with 26”(1). This is an amazing feat in the field of music writing. That being said, it’s astounding to think that he is still relatively unknown to the average person. These top artists owe a huge debt to Martin for his expertise in writing and mastering their songs. His skill in appealing to the masses and, particularly, to the artist’s target demographic. In an interview, Martin said this, “I think the ‘target market’ and ‘audience’ tends to come with the artist. If I’m doing something with a young pop artist I may not choose to have a brass section in a song, for example. Sometimes you have to think about what the artist already is”(2). Although these producers work behind the scenes, popular music today would not be the same or, arguably, as good without their expertise and the technology they use to master the tracks.
- “Ask Billboard: Max Martin Notches Another No. 1.” Billboard. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6327746/ask-billboard-max-martin-notches-another-no-1>.
- “Max Martin Interview – Popjustice.” Popjustice RSS. N.p., 27 Apr. 2009. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <http://www.popjustice.com/interviewsandfeatures/max-martin-interview/49884/>.