Of all the ideas proffered for the decline of the record business I’d have to say it’s people like me and some of the music we’ve produced that are most to blame. If early commercial recordings were about capturing performances, and everything after The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper was about a combination of performance and production illusion, somewhere along the way we settled for illusion alone. I understand the seduction of illusion and magic, the whole wizard of Oz thing, playing the role of the mastermind behind the curtain pulling music out of thin air. It’s god-like and very tempting to the soul. But the Oz-like producer immersed in Pro Tools led to the thinly-worn joke of the producer saying to the singer/artist: “Let me swab your cheek for DNA and I’ll have your record ready for you in two months.” Funny, but not funny. As it turns out, what people really like is recordings of performances and not evidence of how industrious and intricately clever producers are.