Music production is one of the most exiting industries in the modern world. The force behind the music we all know and love, music production is a diverse process with many interesting facets. From recording to marketing and beyond, this is the lifeblood that makes the music industry come alive. Being skilled in such a field can also put you in a tough position. The topic of “how do you navigate the gray area of producing for friends?” is something we’re interested in exploring so we asked 5 producers to provide us with insight on how they handle that.
When it comes to producing for friends, you have to just be honest and treat it like business. Nothing wrong with letting them have beats to practice with/try to find vibes on because you just never know. But don’t let friends take advantage and just assume they get everything you do for free, have some type of agreement established. Just remember, once music enters the friendship— it could change it forever.
I try to never steer away from wanting to make good music with good people. Sometimes that’s friends, new people, whoever… but to answer more directly, it’s case by case. Some homies don’t get a fee, but they’ll throw me verses or support me the same way, other homies get discounted, other homies get full rate, just depends. I don’t think there’s any right answer when it comes to working with friends but just be transparent and blunt from the beginning so there’s no expectations.
So one of my friends helped me from beginning of my career. When we both decided to do music together we just split the back end of what we created. But, there’s different situations for different folks. I could be friends with someone and they blow up and don’t do good business with the people that helped them along the line. Being apart of Internet Money and watching Taz, I see that A LOT!
I view producing for friends how I view working with any artists, if i’m rocking with their sound and wanna build we can work. Luckily all my friends who are also artists I work with are pretty good about hitting me for split information when they release our stuff on streaming. But I think it should be established very early about how you wanna navigate things from a business perspective, because THAT’S when things get weird as far as working with friends.
Fortunately, my friends have a lot of respect and truly support my work outside of things we create together. there have been situations where a major artists has gotten on a beat that one of my friends recorded over so I just let them know they have to fall back because this is such a big opportunity. I also have that same mutual respect for my friends who maybe want to get a different producer to add to my beat, or swap out my beat for a different one altogether on a song we created. It’s just a part of all of us coming up at the same time in this scene.
It’s important to remember you don’t have to hoard every single thing you make because every beat isn’t gonna land with a big artist and be the next sicko mode or xo tour life, but also don’t forget to save a few for those rare chances that occur every so often. The most important thing to me is just to having fun creating music and not having an ego, it really does keep you from getting burned out.