In the EDM world, the relationship begins when an artist/DJ goes to a ghost production platform, finds a track or song they like and pays a one-time fee for the rights to it. From then on, the artist can use the song as their own and all streaming/performing income goes to them.
Ghost production rarely happens in the pop industry, but it’s actually an established part of the EDM scene. DJs often use ghost production to keep up with fans’ demand for new material. However, fans expect a DJ to produce their own music themselves. There is a great deal of stigma around ghost production and it doesn’t look like it’s going anytime soon. So, for a successful business relationship, no-one must reveal the identity of the actual producer.
During the ‘EDM boom’ of 2010-2015, ghost production came to the fore due to the leaking of a contract between ghost producer Maarten Vorwerk and Belgium DJ-duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. The ghost-produced ‘Tsunami’ got to number one in multiple dance charts and was the most played track at numerous clubs and festivals. Since then, fans started to dig deeper into the credits of tracks to see if artists were fully responsible for their own tunes, or had used ghost production.
It’s almost impossible to find out who exactly was responsible for a tune, since tight contracts with ghost producers don’t allow them to tell anyone of their being involved. And in the years following ‘Tsunami’, ghost production has slowly gained a degree of acceptance. Fans seem to be less interested in production credits as they are in consuming as much content as possible: it’s more important that artists have new releases every week or month.