The great producers of music can teach you some valuable lessons that are highly applicable to business and entrepreneurship. From Quincy Jones, Timbaland to Dr. Dre, the truly great producers are masters at having a vision, aiming for nothing but greatness, and bringing something extraordinary and unique to the world.
My background in the music industry, and working with creative teams, has taught me some valuable lessons. I have learned the most especially from my biggest idols in music. Their work ethic is impeccable and they are phenomenal at assembling the best team for the job to execute their ideas.
Master producers are visionaries, leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs. Their unique philosophy and mindset have created some of the best music ever made, and a legacy that will last for decades.
Dr. Dre in particular, is known for his knack for business and is sitting pretty with approximately $710 million in net worth according to Forbes. His mindset has served him well.
What can we learn from individuals such as him that we can apply to our own businesses, when creating new products, trying to shake up the industry, or working with teams?
1. Be an orchestrator and organizer.
The greatest music producers are known for bringing in an explosive room full of talent and the best collaborators for the job. Then, they create an environment that encourages these creative minds to do their thing. They let these individuals and their individuality shine and bless the project.
They’re like orchestrators and they don’t try to do everything themselves. Think of the conductor of a symphony. They don’t play each instrument. They focus on what’s best for the project, and they leave ego at the door. They are open to many ideas and they latch on to the really great ones. The final product is a unique mix, well blended together into a final product before they put their stamp and name on it.
If something is missing, if the project is lacking that extra spice, they look at how or who can add that in.
2. See the greatness in others.
Great music producers excel at seeing the strengths in different people, having high standards, and strive for perfection. They are effective at bringing out the best of the personality of each person on the team. For that to happen they have to create the right atmosphere for success. They also don’t try to force anyone to be something that they’re not.
For example, Dr. Dre never tried to change Eminem to fit more in with what was popular at the time. Instead, he brought the uniqueness out, and that’s what made him and his art so great. Together, they created something new.
3. Set out to create a hit.
Why would you start any project if you were not aiming for the crème de la crème?
The great music producers start a project with extremely high standards for what the project can truly be. The objective is always to make sure every endeavor becomes a true success. They’re interested in raising the bar, creating something that can cause reactions, that can provoke, entertain or make a huge impact on people. They learn from what’s not working, and they make sure that the final outcome sits perfectly.
When it feels right they release it to the world.
4. Dare to be different.
For something to be truly great, a classic, it has to be unique. This is what all successful and influential music producers know. Certainly, you can follow the patterns of a hit, but when you add your special uniqueness to the mix, it changes, evolves and becomes something new and special. Put your own spin on it and dare to be different.
You can start with what everyone else is using, but strive for a different and exciting way. Trust your vision, intuition and personal taste, and don’t be influenced by politics or current trends that are hot for a short fleeting time.
This is also true in business in general. You need to stand out and get attention to be able to dominate a marketplace. You have to dare to be different. Just look at Pharrell Williams and “Happy”.
5. Have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on.
True masters are pioneers. A pioneer delves in uncharted territory. Pioneers question what’s currently going on. In order to do that, they stay up-to-date with where the trends are going. They are very competitive. Consider the famous words of Gordon Gekko: “The most valuable commodity I know of is information”.
Smart producers know what’s hot at the time, what’s working and what’s not working. They know what the norm is, and then they put their unique spin on it.
6. Be consistent.
The great masters that have been able to stay relevant over time have always been consistent. They stay true to who they are, what they like and for what they have a passion. They don’t just jump on the latest fad, or suddenly change their style, and so their brand remains intact. This is part of their branding, and their reputation. A Timbaland production is recognizable the same way a Disney movie is distinctive.
Great producers keep working diligently, even when they have success. They stay consistent with their work ethic. If they decide to launch something new, something outside of for what they’re known, they are sure to make it feel natural and organic … to their brand. Dr. Dre is a clear example with his successful headset line. This is very close to what we know him for: exceptional sound quality, and so the transition felt natural. There is a degree of trust with his product.
These traits are key to extraordinary success in any field. You can see the same qualities in movie directors, clothing designers, fashion icons and the list goes on and on. Perhaps you have to check your ego when taking this approach, but learn these skills and you’ll be able to take your game further. It’s the successful route for any entrepreneur, CEO, business owner, leader, visionary or creator.
If you want longevity, instead of chasing a quick buck, this is the way to go. Work like a great music producer!
Now let’s move forward…
– Casper Stang