Music producers’ control everything from the recording process to creation of the artist's music. After earning a bachelor’s degree, you can begin building relationships with other professionals. This article combines the basics required for the career in music making with an educational perspective. 


What is a Music Producer?


How much do Music Producers Make?

A music producer is the person who helps the artist achieve their vision for the song. They help the artist decide which lyrics, melodies, and instruments should be used, and how they should be arranged. The producer also helps the artist and musicians achieve a good performance and sonic direction, and helps them craft the song into something that sounds professional and polished rather than a rough demo.


A music producer is the person who brings together all the elements needed to create a song. They help the artist find the right words and melodies, and find the best vocalists and songwriters to collaborate with. 


What does a Music Producer do?


A music producer has many roles in the music industry. They are the person who oversees the production of a song or album, the person who coordinates the people and the resources to help realize an artist’s vision, and the person who keeps the project on schedule and on budget.


responsible for finance/accounting

management of all resources

shapes the sound

improves the performance

clarifies interpretation

focuses ideas

provides guidance to musicians

can write songs for artist

creates arrangements instrumental and vocal

creates budgets

develops logistics

hires personnel

provides parts for musicians


As you can see, a music producer has a laundry list of responsibilities. His/her responsibilities aren't just creative. There are various administrative details, as well as, creative details that a music producer must make sure gets accomplished. The music producer is the person responsible for overseeing and translating a musical product into a recorded medium (stereo master). A talented record producer can often be the crucial link for an artist or band looking for a hit. The producer is hired to help develop the "sound" of the music -- the cadence, the key, the tempo, the vibe, the emotion.


"A music producer is responsible for all stages of audio development. This means working with the artist, studio musicians, engineers and related staff. Part of their job can also be to make sure emotions stay balanced during the production. An instinct of knowing how hard to push musicians and when to back off and let everything breathe is usually common among record producers."


Music Producer's Creative Responsibilities:


a.  Finding and selecting songs

b.  Deciding the musical arrangement of those songs3.  Getting the right takes and the right sounds in the session


Music Producer's Administrative Responsibilities:


a.  Finding Talent

b.  Creating a budget and staying within the budget

c.  Booking Studios and Engineers

d.  Hiring composers, musicians, and other talent

e.  Getting Musicians and other talent paid (keeping time sheets submitting union reports)


There are also different types of producers. This enables some of the responsibility to be placed with other professionals involved with the production.  An executive producer tends to take on some of the administrative and/or business-related responsibilities.


·        Secures Finances

·        Hires Musicians and Production Personnel

·        Oversees (w/ attorney) any production related contractual agreements


The EP is involved in the production process right from the beginning. Often, he/she is the one putting up the capital and taking the financial risk for the product along with the record label if there is one. The EP is hoping to make a solid return on his/her investment. Success depends heavily on having a marketable artist and an effective production process. The EP is not necessarily directly involved in the creative process; they are usually the financiers.


Now, there are producers with multiple skill sets.  In other words, there are producers who can where several hats at once.  This type of producer seems to be very prevalent in popular music today. Producer such as Timbaland, Pharrell, Kanye West, Will. I. Am, Dr. Dre, and many more are capable of writing lyrics, writing music, beat making, finding the talent, developing the talent, and much more. The skill set of a music producer is often dependent upon the musical genre. Many hip-hop producers are often associated with being the songwriters/arrangers because they create the music tracks.


Rock producers are less frequently the songwriters for their clients. They embellish musical ideas by creating arrangements, changing instrumentation, altering lyrics, overdubbing, etc. Nonetheless, all types of music production require attention to detail.


All types of music production require some level of aptitude in regards to music theory and the sound recording/production process. You simply can't get around it!


How to Become a Music Producer?


When you think about the business of music, you can't deny that more concern is placed on achieving mass sales than the art itself. 


There's a lot of "junk" music in the marketplace because the market demands hundreds of songs a day. 


Description of the Average Consumer:


a.  Short Attention Span - Buyer wants what he wants and he wants it now. There are only a few seconds to convince the buyer before he moves on to something else.

b.  Frugal - Strong competition for the consumer dollar

c.  Mobile

d.  Visual


So then, what makes a product marketable?


a.  Artist Persona/Personality Drives the Market

b.  Image/Looks

c.  Ability of an artist to "entertain" both onstage and off

d.  Etc.


Believe it or not great music producers realize that they have to understand these basic record industry market characteristics in order to stay employed. Becoming a music producer and getting there is no easy road. Obviously, staying is more difficult. So, what are the steps for becoming a music producer? There are a few things to keep in mind that can help you become a music producer.


1. Complete an internship


Mixing, engineering and production are a few of the most common terms associated with music. But what does it really mean to be a music producer, and how does one go about becoming one? Enter internships. Aspiring music producers can take advantage of internship opportunities with music producers and engineers, allowing them to gain invaluable experience while also earning college credit.


As a music producer, your job is to help make music that sounds as good as possible. You'll be working in a team with other music producers, and you'll be expected to pitch in and help however you can. But that doesn't mean you have to be a jack-of-all-trades. You should be comfortable working in a variety of music production software and hardware, and have a good idea of how to use them.


2. Learn to be creative


You have to be creative to be a music producer. As a music producer, your job is to help turn musical ideas into something that people can enjoy. You do that by figuring out the best way to turn those ideas into a final product, whether that’s a recording, a live performance, or something else entirely." "Body": " You can learn about music production in many ways.


3. Earn a degree


One of the best ways to become a successful music producer is to get an educational degree. It doesn't matter what major you choose, as long as you can demonstrate a passion and talent for music production. There are a variety of degree programs available, and many are fully online. You can even get a music production diploma online through a variety of schools.


To become a successful music producer, you need to learn as much as you can. There are no overnight successes in the music industry, which is why many producers spend years earning a formal education. Some attend music college, while others pursue a more traditional academic route. Either way, producers learn as much as they can about their field, which helps them become more successful.


4. Learn music theory


The way to become a music producer is to learn music theory. Understanding music theory is key to being a producer because it helps you know what sounds good, and it also allows you to communicate better with other people. The best way to learn music theory is to take a few classes and read up on the subject. For example, you could enroll in a class that teaches you the basics of music theory, or you could read a few books on the subject.


5. Learn a Musical Instrument


To become a music producer, you have to learn a musical instrument. It doesn't matter if you want to make hip-hop beats or sample collages; the best producers can play a variety of instruments. Being able to create emotion with sound is truly a magical thing. By playing an instrument, you’ll develop a deep knowledge of how music works and you’ll have better instincts when it comes to creating it. The skills you learn as a musician help you understand how to produce music, and the knowledge of music theory gives you the ability to compose and arrange songs. The most direct way to learn music production, however, is to become a musician. You can do this by learning an instrument, such as the guitar or piano, or by studying music theory and composition.


6. Learn how to mix a song


To become a music producer, you have to learn how to mix a song. This is also called the ‘mix' of the song. You can learn how to mix a song by getting a sound engineer to mix the song for you. You also need to learn how to use a mixing board with the different effects of different effects.


Mixing a song is where a lot of the magic happens, especially when you’re a rookie. Learn how to use mix faders, the equalizer, and all that good stuff. So, let’s jump in. The first thing you need to get your hands on is a mixer.


7. Get experience by volunteering at a Music Studio


If you’re interested in a career as a music producer, but don’t have the necessary experience or education, then consider volunteering at a music studio. Studios often need help with administrative tasks, such as marketing, bookkeeping, and management. You can also offer your services as a music producer, playing an important role in the studio’s recording process. No matter what you offer to contribute, being a part of a music studio is an enriching experience that will help you develop the skills and contacts you need to become a successful music producer.


8. Learn how to use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)


Music producers use their ears to create, shape, and refine music. They use their brains to decide what sounds best. They combine their artistic sensibility with their technical expertise to make music sound the way they want it to. A music producer needs to be able to use a DAW (digital audio workstation), which is software that allows a producer to record, arrange, and manipulate sounds.


9. Get music production equipment


If you want to become a music producer, you’ll need equipment to make music. The most basic music production equipment is a computer and a microphone, but you can get a lot more equipment if you want to become a professional music producer. You can get music production software, soundproof booths, and much more if you want to become a professional music producer. You can use this equipment to create beats, write songs, and produce music.


10. Create your first song


You’ve researched the industry, learned about the different parts a song can have, and are ready to put your knowledge to the test. You’ve read up on the different genres and styles of music that have been popular over the past few years. You’ve learned about the equipment and software that are needed to create a song. Now the time has come to make your first track!


How much do Music Producers Make?


Once you become a good music producer, you will obviously want to be paid for your services. Because everything in the record business is negotiable, there are many ways that music producers can be paid. Sometimes, a music producer will take a flat fee, other times he will ask for a percentage of sales. 


Most times he is paid by the record company (out of artists royalties) and other times there is no label so he may defer payment or ask for a smaller upfront fee.  There are many combinations of payment arrangements for a producer. Payment arrangements are almost always based upon the producer's negotiating position.  In general terms, however, here is what you might expect:


a.  usually an advance recoupable out of product sales.

b.  after all expenses are recouped, music producer is paid based on all sales 3% to 7% (points)

c.  if no advance, the music producer is paid as part of recording costs

d.  preferably should be paid by the record company even if hired by the artist


No matter how you ultimately get paid on your journey of becoming a producer, you should do it because you have a passion for it. If you don't absolutely love the process of recording music, then don't do it. There are easier ways of making money. A sincere desire to make music is a prerequisite for this job, everything that comes after is just gravy.


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