There are a number of controversial topics within the dance music community, but the most prominent one has to be the concept of ghost producing. If you’re still not familiar with the term, it’s essentially when an artist produces a track for another artist without taking any major credit for it. There have been numerous high-profile stories that touch upon the subject, with the most recent one coming earlier this year when Mat Zo fired shots at some of the industry’s most notable figures over Twitter. The incident reached a plateau when he retweeted a list of artists that have been accused of using ghost producers. The list featured artists such as David Guetta, Nervo, Danny Avila and Carnage, who responded via a series of angry tweets.
The DJ Mag Top 100 is another one of electronic music’s controversial issues, especially after Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike were announced as 2015’s winners. Each year, the publication provides a bio for each entry that often features quotes from the artists. Since ghost producing has been such a hot topic as of late, it’s only fitting that DJ Mag asked members of the Top 100 what they think about the phenomenon. Check out some of the more notable responses to the question “What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?” below.
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (#1)
There seems to be a lot of confusion around the topic. Sometimes artists get help in mixing, songwriting or additional production; it’s not exclusive to electronic music or any other genre for that matter. Ultimately, if that extra pair of hands makes the final sound of the record better, then it’s in everybody’s best interest to go down that avenue. But what’s important is clarity around how that collaboration works, and everybody involved properly credited and paid for their efforts.
My view is if you’re not producing your own tracks, then just be honest. The fans don’t deserve to be lied to.
Armin van Buuren (#4)
I think it’s wrong if someone puts a name on a track they had nothing to do with, that they weren’t even in the studio for. I’ve never used a ghost producer.
David Guetta (#6)
There’s a big difference between having ‘ghost producers’ or working as a team. It’s totally cool to work as a team and everyone should be credited. And paid. Bit like being in a band.
If you get a ghost producer and you’re open about it, that’s fine. But when you try and hide it and act like you do know what you’re doing, that’s kind of stupid.
Steve Aoki (#10)
I don’t really have a problem with it so much…
Dash Berlin (#15)
I work together with other producers all the time and I am very open about it. What others do is their decision.
You can’t be in the NBA if you don’t know how to play basketball.
As long as they really rock the dancefloor and still are involved in the creative process of the track, it’s fine by us. If they suck behind the decks and bought their tunes on www.ghostproducingforcheap.com, they failed in life.
I think it’s acceptable to get help. Ultimately, it is up to the artists to decide at what point they are no longer being honest with their listeners.
We started off as ghostwriters and used this as a platform to launch our own careers when the time was right for us to become artists. We are all for collaborating but there has to come a point in time when the ghost producer gets their glory (if they want this).
It’s up to them, I wouldn’t use one but I suppose we’ll never know about the rest.
Above & Beyond (#29)
It’s fair enough if they credit them publicly.
Steve Angello (#31)
I think it’s lazy, but music is not the only profession that has lazy people.
Some singers use help from songwriters, some DJs use help from producers. Music is more than just a song, and it’s the bigger picture that matters.
Andrew Rayel (#40)
I’m honestly not a fan of it. It’s not something to be proud of — being a big artist and using someone else’s art isn’t something I have respect for.
Aly & Fila (#42)
They know themselves and they should be ashamed.
Markus Schulz (#56)
I think the fans can conclude fairly easily whether a track is from the genuine article simply by hearing what comes out of the speakers.
Carl Cox (#63)
I believe, as a DJ, you should stand up for what you make and not hide behind anyone. It’s been going on for years and it will continue to do so.
Laidback Luke (#64)
I’m absolutely fine with that. The mailman might be able to deliver the most wonderful packages on time, but that doesn’t mean he’s responsible for the products in there.
I think they should not be on this list.
Let’s just say this, if there was no such thing as “ghost producers” then a lot of the Top100 wouldn’t exist. So I guess it’s important to some people. Not me.
We’ll leave it at this – giving credit where credit is due is incredibly important with any form of art.
Flux Pavilion (#86)
A DJ is different to a producer, so the fact that a person who is good at one thing asks another person who is good at another thing to do something doesn’t surprise me.
Robin Schulz (#89)
Not my cup of tea, but it’s OK for me. Nobody gives a fuck if a pop star or band is produced by someone else!
Thank you to Maxim Janssen for the tip.