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How to Reel in a Big Name Producer

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame. Fan,

Say there is a producer the band admires--around the Mike Mogis level--or perhaps someone in a band we think we would be a good producer because it turns out she arranges all the songs in her own band despite not being the leader, or has an amazing ear for harmonies, or what have you. But we don't know them. What's the best way to ask them to produce our next record? Obviously we'd send them music, live videos, whatever they need to assess the situation. But is it fine to reach out to someone you admire, or completely arrogant/ignorant to assume they'd give a stranger the time of day, especially if they're in the middle of a successful career themselves? And if they've never produced before, when should money come up?

Sam