Are Superstar Producers the Future of Pop Music?
Once EDM became a mainstream phenomenon, it was not surprising when we first started to hear dance influences in pop music. But what's particularly interesting now is how EDM is greatly impacting the role of the producer in pop.
In pop, the producer has traditionally been named in the credits but otherwise remains an unknown, behind-the-scenes figure. This makes sense as these producers are not necessarily infusing a signature sound that is all their own, rather they are there for their technical prowess. The vocals are what make a piece of music pop, so naturally the singer is face of the song. But now, even when pop stars approach EDM producers for their abilities and not necessarily their signature sound, the producers are being placed in the forefront with the singer.
Diplo has taken on this technical, pop producer role dozens of time as he's worked on several non-EDM tracks. Five years ago, many didn't know who Diplo was let alone that he produced M.I.A.'s hit song "Paper Planes". Now, even when Diplo is taking on the technical, pop producer role, it's very clearly stamped with his name and has become beneficial to marketing. MØ's recent song "Kamikaze", for instance, found its way into some headlines purely because of Diplo's involvement. After Diplo worked on Madonna's album, he ended up in her music video and joined Madonna on her tour and for live TV performances.
Skrillex taking on producing duties for Bieber's upcoming album is another example of how his involvement has increased hype even when he took on more of a technical, pop producer role. Fans would not necessarily know Bieber's recent single "Sorry" featured Skrillex production just by listening to it, and yet it was promoted like a collaboration.
Guetta is another producer that is a pop star in his own right and has pop singers coming to him instead of the other way around. It's nothing new for EDM producers to work for pop stars - Noisia has been producing for European pop artists for years - but EDM is now paving the way for production to carry the same celebrity weight as singing and performing.
What's your take on the changing role of the pop producer as a result of EDM? Will producers eventually make up most of the list of top earners in music instead of pop singers? How do you feel about it all?