What Does A Music Producer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Music Producers

Music Producers are responsible for overseeing the production of songs. They assist Musical Artists and manage a team of Sound Engineers to produce better music.

Salary
$53000
Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

Who creates the hit music that you hear on your favorite streaming service? Who is responsible for tweaking each track to deliver catchy songs? Who handles the technical side of recording a song? In most cases, it’s the Music Producer.

While they rarely become household names or receive the same attention as Singers and Musicians, Music Producers are an essential part of any recording session.

Working as a Music Producer is an interesting career choice that requires a wide range of skills, from managing people to understanding the technical aspects of recording music.

What they do

Music Producers are responsible for overseeing the production of songs. They assist Musical Artists and manage a team of Sound Engineers to produce better music.

Help Develop Ideas Into Songs

Music Producers frequently work with Artists to develop their initial ideas or demos into full-fledged songs. They provide feedback and help transform a raw song into a polished recording.

The amount of control that the Music Producer has over the final product depends on their experience and the Musicians they work with. In some cases, the Music Producer helps arrange the song and rewrite lyrics. In other situations, the Music Producer simply guides the Musicians and offers recommendations.

Supervise the Recording of Performances

Supervising the recording of performances is one of the main responsibilities of a Music Producer. They need to ensure that they capture a quality performance from everyone involved, which may involve multiple takes of the same guitar riffs or vocals.

The Music Producer provides input throughout the recording session to bring out the best in the artists. They also work directly with the Sound Engineers to avoid any recording errors, such as the presence of outside noise during a recorded performance.

Edit and Mix Tracks

The Music Producer begins editing and mixing tracks after recording the performances in a studio. They may add effects or alter the tone of vocals and instruments. They can also speed up or slow down elements in the song.

Editing and mixing tracks is often a collaborative process. Established Musicians may work with the Music Producer during editing and mixing to ensure that the song retains its original artistic vision.

Prepare a Master Recording for the Finished Tracks

The last step in producing a song or record involves preparing a master. The master is the finished stereo mix that is distributed to the public. It includes the final tweaks and changes for producing the best possible sound for all audiences.

When preparing a master, Music Producers need to consider that audiences will listen to the song in different environments while using various devices. They need to produce a sound that appeals to listeners in any situation, from a small set of headphones plugged into a smartphone to loudspeakers at an outdoor event.

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What is the job like

Javen Yap
Self-employed

I produce music for albums, jingles, soundtracks, and more. There are many different types of music producers, some only make pop songs, some are more expert in film scoring, some do jingles or TV soundtracks for commercials, and many do a bit of everything. 90% of my working time is actually spent in front of my desk doing all the post-production work.

As a music producer, my main responsibility is to understand what my clients need, providing suggestions and guidance to them, deciding what’s the right music approach for each individual project. My clients include singers, agencies, managers of artists, songwriters, companies, and more. Often time, they only have a vision in mind, some songs as reference or a rough demo they recorded with their phone when they come to me, but do not have very much knowledge on the technical aspects, so my job is to help them craft their ideas, by knowing what they want and I’m good at, discuss with them what would be the best way to deliver it.

After that I will send them a quotation of the price I would charge for this project, once we both agree on the price, I will proceed to do all the post-production work such as music arranging, recording, mixing, and mastering, and hire the right musician, and book the recording studio if that’s needed.

In today’s music production world, music technology is a very big part of it, the moment you start crafting an idea or writing a score, there is a handful of music scoring software such as Finale and Sibelius for writing scores. When you want to start recording something, as long as you have the music software and needed hardware or instrument, you could pretty much do everything by yourself without stepping into the studio. The music plugins such as some virtual instruments keep on getting better and better until a point where most people could not differentiate whether it’s a VST that is programmed by the computer or a real instrument that was played by a musician, many people are surprised to hear that 80 percent of the songs what we hear on the radio today are actually not live recorded instruments. Therefore going into the recording studio is no longer necessary if you want to lower your production cost and know what you are doing.

Pros

  • High job satisfaction when the project is done
  • The creative process is fun
  • Flexible time schedule
  • You could work from home
  • Making music that resonates with others It’s a very meaningful thing to do
  • You do what you love

Cons

  • There is a limitation in earning because you are exchanging your time for money
  • The more money you want to earn, the busier you will need to get
  • You will need to work in front of your desk for an excessive amount of time
  • You do not have a stable source of income if you are a freelancer
  • There are some uncertainties in this career path
  • It’s not easy to increase your hourly rates
  • Not suitable for those who only want to get famous quickly
  • Sometimes you may need to compromise with what your client wants instead of what you think is better for the song, as time goes by more or less it may bring down your passion .

Javen Yap
Javen is a freelance Music Producer from Malaysia. He is also the founder of GoodNoiseMusic.com.


Pros

You Get to Help Shape the Future of Music

Music Producers are often the ones responsible for crafting the latest trends in music, allowing them to introduce new styles and techniques.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Music Producers rarely work steady hours, giving them the flexibility to set schedules and take time off between projects.

You May Get to Meet Famous Musicians

Successful Music Producers may eventually find themselves working with some of the top Musicians of the era or Artists they have always looked up to.

A College Education Is Not Always Required

Music Production is a field that does not always require a college education, as aspiring Music Producers can start producing music from their homes with little to no experience.

Cons

Finding Full-Time Employment Is Not Easy

Aspiring Music Producers may struggle to find steady work or full-time employment in this field. There is a lot of competition and limited demand.

Musicians May Not Always Agree with Your Ideas

Some Musicians are difficult to work with, which can lead to frustrating work experiences. Musicians may also dismiss your ideas, which can be discouraging.

Where they work

Record Companies
Musicians
Entertainment Companies
Music Studios


Many Music Producers work for record companies to produce new music featuring Artists under contract with the companies. Some Music Producers work independently and are brought in by Artists to produce new songs. Music Producers may also work for entertainment companies. Music studios may also employ Music Producers to assist Musicians who rent studio time.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn an Instrument in High School

Music Producers should understand how to read sheet music and play instruments. High school students can take band or orchestra classes to develop these skills.

Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with the Tools of the Trade

Music Producers use digital audio workstations (DAW) to record, edit, and mix tracks. Aspiring Music Producers can download free or low-cost DAWs to start learning how to use the most common tools of the trade.

Along with a DAW, a Music Producer should know how to use an audio mixer. Mixers are used to control the audio channels when recording music.

Amateur Music Producers can start experimenting with editing and mixing with a DAW and recording instruments or vocals with a mixer.

Step 3: Consider Earning a College Degree

Some employers may prefer to hire candidates with Associate’s Degrees or Bachelor’s Degrees. A college education demonstrates a higher level of technical knowledge, as college programs tend to provide access to the same technologies used in a professional studio. The most common majors include Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) and Sound Engineering.

Sound Engineering Degrees include coursework in sound recording and production, music composition, critical listening, sound reinforcement, and music theory. Music Production & Engineering (MP&E) Degrees include coursework in sound engineering and the production processes, such as collaborating with Musicians.

Step 4: Develop an Online Portfolio

Many amateur Music Producers release music on popular online platforms, such as SoundCloud, to develop their music production skills and connect with industry professionals. Networking with other Musicians and Producers may lead to job opportunities.

Step 5: Look for Internships

Completing an internship at a record company or music studio can help Music Producers get a foot in the door while gaining hands-on experience.

Step 6: Apply for Music Production Positions

Many Music Producers start with entry-level jobs at record companies and music studios. Common job titles include Associate Music Producer and Music Production Assistant.

Step 7: Continue Searching for Networking Opportunities

After gaining employment, Music Producers should continue branching out and meeting new Musicians and industry professionals. With more experience, Music Producers have a greater chance of working with established Musicians.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Music Producers are often dedicated, motivated individuals because advancing in this career requires a high level of commitment. Music Producers are often natural leaders and good at managing others, due to the need to manage schedules, budgets, engineers, and musicians.

Successful Music Producers are also highly creative and artistic because creativity allows them to craft new sounds. Music Producers should also possess exceptional communication skills because they often need to critique Musicians while encouraging them to perform better.

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