Should We Be Upset At Ghost Producers In The Industry?

June 2, 2015 -

Louis Garcia

Mat Zo recently brought to light a well known truth about the EDM industry. The topic of ghost producers might make a super star DJ nervously sweat, but nonetheless its a truth that might create a more suspicious audience. For those that do not know, ghost producers are paid by an artist's team to create the music which is then released without any written credit given. So you know that big hit you heard by that one headliner last festival season? Turns out he might not have produced that Beatport topping track.

In case you've yet to checkout Mat Zo's juicy twitter feed, here's his list of known ghost producers and their clients.


We have to give it to the man for shining some light on this subject. With the EDM industry blowing up across the globe we could have easily seen this behavior coming.

Take a producer like Tiësto for example. This dutch superstar piled up $60 million in 2014. This was possible through festival bookings, Vegas pool parties, and other top tier slots around the world. You think a guy like Tiësto has time to download the latest reverb plugin that the producer blogs are blowing up about? Or how about checking out a new tutorial on how Snails achieves his gritty sound? Definitely not. Mr. headliner is busy flying around the world on a constant touring schedule with a team backing him up and cashing out on it. The professionals who manage Tiësto are not going to rely on the miracle that he'll be able to crank out something new and innovative (as if it's that hard with his style). Instead they'd rather hire on a fresh-minded aspiring producer to write a track for him that way everyone wins.

Tiësto admits to it and so does Benny Benassi. They are merely tools of the industry to produce the most amount of money possible. The process of hiring ghost producers can be good in the case of Martin Garrix and Tchami, both of whom got their foot in the door this way.

Some artists come from a wealthy background and claim that the "assistance" of other producers may help them fully realize their vision. A vision different than artists like Porter Robinson, who has admitted to producing hits off of an amateur setup at his parent's house. Some people care about the background of music whereas some can care less.


My roomate is a huge Krewella fan and I expressed my attitude towards them one day, stating that I work my ass off on Ableton everyday (which he clearly hears) whereas they pay people to make their music. I asked how he felt about supporting that kind of behavior and he showed no remorse.

My first slap in the face came when I discovered that Kid Cudi did not write the artsy instrumentals on his debut Man On The Moon record. Now I accept these truths when I playback old Luther Vandross and Donna Summer albums. The truth of the matter is this has been happening for decades in the form of different genres.

The timeline goes as follows:

1. An underground community breaks through the mainstream with a unique sound.

2. Everyone jumps on that sound.

3. The people with money pay others to produce that sound and use it to push a marketable talent.

So where does EDM get nasty? Not much talent is needed to actually perform a DJ set. Whereas a singer like Mariah Carey had natural vocal talent that could be seen live on all of her TV appearances and tours, DJs do not have a similar skill level that they are expected to showcase. In Mariah Carey's days someone could have said "darn she didn't actually write that song, but she gave it a hell of a performance at that show". The best Tiesto can do is mash his track up with ZHU's Faded then double drop it with Animals, something my 12 year old cousin could accomplish.

Although the use of electronics in music has opened up the doors for many innovative artists, it has also lowered the bar for talent necessary to succeed. If you had money you could invest into something that would bring exponential returns, wouldn't you go for it? The entertainment industry is built off of business minded people, and when it comes to financials, pride is not an issue.

In the end the listener holds the ultimate power in where the money goes. If people want to throw their money at DVBBS for releasing a track they didn't write, then DVBBS is still gonna have their faces on a Hollywood Blvd billboard. It is only until people begin to care about their music, will fakes like this disappear. Since this is a nearly impossible task to accomplish, we just have to accept the ignorant ways of the industry and do our part in sharing the music that comes from an honest place.

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