Review: 'Watch The Sound With Mark Ronson' a Revealing Dive Into the Business of the Music Producer

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday August 2, 2021

'Watch The Sound With Mark Ronson'
'Watch The Sound With Mark Ronson'  (Source:AppleTV+)

The music industry has changed dramatically since the new millennium, and the advent of the digital age has driven the the industry to innovations and technologies not just in how we consume our favorite musical artist's latest track, but in how the music makers create their magic. The industry has had to adapt. Among those individuals who has made incredible strides in music is award-winning producer and artist Mark Ronson. The multi-talented musician, DJ, and artist has been on the forefront of the industry, and carried legends like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars to the top of the charts.

Now the audience has an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge from Ronson himself about how making music has evolved over the course of the last several decades, and has also been influenced by newer technologies and adaptive trends in the AppleTV+ Original Documentary Series "Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson." In each of the six episodes of Season 1, Ronson navigates the various bits and pieces of the art of engineering and producing music along with some of today's biggest hit makers and rising new talent.

The first episode explores, for example, the popularity of "Auto-Tune," and how it revolutionized — and in some cases was considered a detriment to — the art of music when some engineers and producers pushed the plug-in to not just "fix" a vocalist's lack of pitch, but change the way they sound completely. Ronson reveals how some musicians like T-Pain took Auto-Tune to new heights, and how Cher instantly made club revelers "Believe" in life after love! Both are instances of when the technology was used to the benefit of the artists, although there are instances when the devil in the details didn't yield great results.

Ronson also studies the use of "Sampling" in Episode 2 — how it was used to elevate the art form for Hip-Hop artists and brought Rap to the forefront, although there have been cases where sampling wasn't always used in service of paying homage to music's past, and was inappropriately acquired and bastardized in the case of Vanilla Ice and his chart hit "Ice Ice Baby," which famously ripped off a baseline riff from David Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure." The documentary reveals how such thievery was regarded in the industry, and how it lead to artists taking more ownership over their work.

"Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson" will not necessarily make you feel like an industry insider or light the way to breaking into the business, but the purpose of this journey is to provide an insight into how technologies have the the ways in which creatives make music, and how many of these innovations are actually based on time-honored explorations that have been in service of the music industry for decades. It's a revealing dive into how producers and engineers think and work, and especially what they draw from in order to create music for today and tomorrow, while honoring its legacy.

"Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson" streams exclusively on AppleTV+.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".