In the studio, and especially in hip-hop circles, it’s not uncommon to see multiple producers working behind the scenes to help give an artist the best sound yet.

This behind-the-scenes talent is known as the ghost producer—not quite invisible, but acting as a phantom, pulling strings to make an entire music production come together.

Today, you don’t have to be a big-name artist to either hire or become a ghost producer.

You don’t have to be a big-name artist to hire a ghost producer.

Online networking platforms and service marketplaces like LANDR Network make it easy for anyone to find talented ghost producers to work on a track.

And of course, if you want to become a ghost producer, one of the best ways to find gigs is through the internet.

Connect With Ghost Producers on LANDR Network

But first, let’s dive into what it takes to become a ghost producer, how to find a great ghost producer for your track and unpack everything you need to know about working with one.

What is a ghost producer?

Ghost producers are producers who create music— beats, recordings, instrumental parts, vocals and more—for other artists under the agreement that the artist will use the ghost producer’s music as their own.

There’s many capacities in which ghost producers work with artists to create music.

Ghost producer work can be as simple as helping an artist create a record to fully conceptualizing and producing an entire track for the artist.

Yes, if you wanted, you could hire a ghost producer to create an entire record for you and allow you to release it as if it were your own.

But, beyond this extreme example, there’s plenty of reasons to hire a ghost producer.

Why hire a ghost producer?

Ghost producers get hired for a myriad of reasons, but the number one reason they do is because they don’t require the artist to give them any external credits.

That’s why ghost producers can charge an additional premium for their work—they won’t be publicly credited or compensated for their work.

Most often, ghost producers are hired for their skills in and knowledge in the studio—whether that be beat making, vocal recording, mixing, mastering and more.

Here’s a few reasons why many artists work with ghost producers.

1. You don’t have time to write backing tracks

If you’re a songwriter or a rapper but you lack music production skills, it might make sense to hire a ghost producer who knows how to take your ideas and develop a strong backing track.

Producers like these are experts in taking your basic ideas and matching them to a fully-fledged production.

A good example could be a rapper who hires ghost producers and rap beat makers to write the backing track to their rhymes.

2. You want to sell more beats, faster

Suppose you make beats for a record label with a handful of signed singers and rappers and you need to supply them with beats on a regular basis.

If you’re strapped for time to come up with enough beats to satisfy the label’s demand you might want to hire ghost producers to make beats for you under your direction.

This particular reason for hiring ghost producers similarly follows an agency model, mirroring the way many visual artists hire understudy artists to create their larger artistic vision.

3. You’re suffering from writer’s block and need help developing ideas

Writer’s block sucks.

We’ve all seen the impact of artists working with a big producer

Everyone runs out of creative energy and sometimes inviting a new person with different experience and knowledge into a working relationship is enough to spur new ideas.

Experienced ghost producers come in knowing how to work with the biggest names in music and the tricks they use to capture audience attention.

We’ve all seen the impact of artists working with a big producer—sometimes it’s all that’s needed to completely revitalize their sound.

4. You’re a visionary without much experience in the studio

Maybe you have a big vision for your art, but executing your project is taking longer than you think.

If you don’t have the patience to learn everything you need to know, you don’t have to go it alone.

The truth is, you shouldn’t expect yourself to know everything about producing your vision.

Hiring a ghost producer can help you get to your goal faster while doing a better job.

Trust me, ghost producers love coming into a working relationship with an artist who already knows what their vision looks like. It will give your creative partnerships direction!

Hiring a ghost producer can help you get to your goal faster while doing a better job.

5. You’re working on a huge project and need more hands on deck

Big pop productions almost always have a huge team working behind the scenes.

Listen to any top 40 single, guaranteed at least 15-20 people worked on each song.

So if you have ambitious goals and big needs for your project, don’t shy away from hiring on some extra help.

6. You need an instrumentalist with music theory knowledge

You don’t need a music degree to make good music, in fact sometimes knowing too much about music theory can actually be a roadblock.

But, sometimes having an expert work with you is all you need to add new spice to your musical ideas.

It’s especially true if you want a certain instrument on your track that you aren’t able to play well.

Hiring a ghost producer with session musician chops is always a great way to up the level of talent playing on your production.

What about becoming a ghost producer?

Thinking about dabbling in the profession yourself?

The key part of being a ghost producer is being comfortable with not receiving any external credit for your work.

Chances are these gigs will make a lot more sense once you’re already an established producer that’s desired by up-and-coming artists.

So consider building up your skills as a music producer, whether that be with recording, playing, writing, mixing, mastering and beyond.

Ghost producers often will find their first jobs working for agencies that work for labels, movies, video games, sample market places and plugin manufacturers as their starting point.

So you’ll have to find ways to break into the industry by making connections both in-person and online.

The best opportunities will always come from working hard at being a good music producer—focus on building your knowledge and your network.