Sunday, March 05, 2000

Music Producer as a Talent Scout

As a Music Producer in the commercial arena, you may be in charge of staffing your production facility –without the benefits of a Human Resources department. In my experience, Human Resource professionals are useful staffing administration positions, but in order to fill creative positions, I had to assume the attitude of an A&R exec or talent scout, and go find what I was searching for. More often than not the best hires did not start out as a perfect match for a given position, but developed into a star performer.

You can find the people you need by simply placing ads and sifting through the responses that the ad generates. But I also went to a lot of clubs (someone has to do it); talked to a lot of university teachers; handed my card out to tons of buskers; and generally introduced myself to every musician, engineer and composer I met everywhere I went.

Here are some of the skills you need in order to scout & develop talent:

–First, you need good ears. Is this a lost art or what?
–Charm. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of this, but guess what: music is a people job. Learn to turn it on. How else will you develop and maintain relationships with artist management and talent agencies? Half your job is cultivating relationships with, and understand the individual strengths of a pool of freelance talent that includes musicians, singers, sound designers, engineers, composers, songwriters, DJs, audio producers and software programmers.
–As much as artists don't want to be to be pigeon holed, you'll need to do so to some extent in order to identify those most suited for working on any given project
–You also need to know how to solve human resource problems: You will necessarily be required to audition, hire and fire, –as much as the latter pains you.
–You must also possess a thorough understanding of the process and be a capable artist yourself, because invariably the day will come when you will need to teach someone what to do in order to accomplish an assignment.

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