A ghost producer is somebody other than both the artists and the band/ artist in an audio track, video, or mixed album. A ghost producer gets creative credit for the music featured on a track, but unlike an independent artist, he or she doesn’t usually put his or her name on the end product. It is up to the label, manager, or artist to decide if the production is going to be heard as the band’s music or an independent composition. As a matter of federal law, it is up to the responsible party to take credit for the musical composition regardless of who contributed it.
Sometimes, the ghost producer provides the infrastructure necessary for a band or artist to record and mix their own tracks. Other times, he or she will provide the sounds used in videos or music videos. When a band or artist hires a ghost producer, he or she is basically giving the project, and all the responsibilities and rights over it, to another person or entity. Although hiring a ghost producer may seem like a time-consuming and expensive task, it can save a struggling band from potentially burning their proverbial turkey.
In this day and age, most major labels and professional DJ’s prefer to have original tracks being mixed and re-mixed rather than hiring a ghost producer. If a DJ mixes a track that has been recorded by a ghost producer, then it is likely that the original artist or band will be heard through legal channels. It may cause a bad publicity situation for both parties. On the flip side, if a label feels that they need more original material and is willing to spend the money to have tracks mixed and re-recorded, then they should certainly entertain the idea.
So what happens when a band or an artist hires a ghost producer? Usually, the original artist or band, along with their manager, submit their original tracks to the ghost producer. Then, it is up to the ghost producer to listen to the track, use his or her ears, and come up with a rough draft of the song or tracks, which he or she will present to the label or artist.
The labels or artists then vote on the tracks. If a majority of them like what they hear, then the tracks are considered for approval. If they do not, then the ghost production company has two options. They can either choose to rewrite portions of the songs in order to accommodate their wishes or they can take the tracks off the air in order to allow the client to record replacements that sound more complete. Although there is usually a fee involved, some ghost production companies offer a “no win no fee” service, in which case they would not have to pay the fees if they do not end up using the songs.
A common scenario among producers is when a band wants to use a track that only the live band knows and feels comfortable with playing. In this case, the producer edits the track so that only the live performance remains. Sometimes, the band wants to add a couple of songs or change the style of the music (i.e. it may be more pop, reggaeton, jazz, etc. ).In this case, the producer edits the track and sends it back to the ghost production company so that they can recreate the track exactly as it appears.