There’s an interesting profile in Women’s Wear Daily (no Oscar De La Hoya) on current R&B hot boy Terius Nash aka The Dream, and his production partner Tricky Stewart. I implore you all to read it.
In the well-written profile, writer Jacob Bernstein makes the point that following the success of Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” J. Holiday’s “Bed,” and Mary J Blige’s new album (which they produced and wrote a huge chunk of), The Dream and Tricky Stewart are now part of that esteemed class of songwriters/producers that can command huge sums of money up front- at least $50k per track- from record labels. Couple that with the moderate success of The Dream’s own album, Love Hate, and the success of his single “Shawty is a 10,” you’ve basically got a shit load of money pouring in. And that defies the current economic logic of the current major label record business, which seems to hit new lows weekly.
My thing is, there’s only so long the hit streak can list, and additionally, the record business itself has to wonder if the investment in these producers and songwriters is really worth it.
“… being hot one minute doesn’t guarantee success the next. In 2005, producer [Scott] Storch seemed to be on fire, with massive hits for 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Lil’ Kim. In 2006, the labels paid him millions of dollars to produce records for more than 30 artists, among them Jessica Simpson, Nas, The Game and Paris Hilton. Not one of his songs even reached the top 10.”
Now I’m not trying to discredit The Dream or Tricky Stewart. I want dudes to make money, get it while you can, and I personally dig their shit. They could defy the Scott Storch curse. But I can rattle off 10 producers off the top of my head who are always on everyone’s albums- both R&B, pop, and hip-hop- and the songs absolutely suck. I mean, you might get one hit for one artist, but really, what are the odds of duplicating that success with everyone else? Not good.
Dream even goes on to say, “With my projects, it’s not really about me. It’s us saying we can deliver this type of product at a lower cost. We’re going to write 300 f—ing songs a year anyway. So don’t give me front end. I don’t need any money. But give me ownership, and I can make money from record one, when it sells the first copy.”
So who knows, maybe the 50k pay days slow down and you just get what you can from owning the whole project. But with everything basically recessing, and your ownership of that property (the songs) not really having any value because a) the market is saturated b) people are only paying 99 cents for a download c) internet piracy d) nobody gives a shit, then what do you do?
That pop shit doesn’t work on a grass roots level.