What Is a Music Producer? ( Salary, Skills, Job )

Here you will learn what a music producer is, what they do, how much they make, and what it takes to become a music producer.

What Is a Music Producer & What Do They Do?
What Is a Music Producer?

What Is a Music Producer?

The best way to think about music producers is to think of them as the director in a film. At the end of the day, they are the ones who are responsible to deliver the completed recording to the artist or label who hired them.

They are the creative force behind any recording project. Music producers are the ones who look over all the aspects of the recording project, contacting the musicians as well as managing the budget.

The music producer can be considered in charge of ensuring that all the pieces of the song come together. They work closely with the singers and musicians to create the overall tone in the recordings.

They engage with various technical professionals who are required to record the music and also coordinate and supervise the work of studio engineers, and mixers to deliver the final product.

In the music business, it can’t be enough to just get musicians together, play, and record. The creative, as well as the non-creative artists, can also leave an impact in many different ways.

Here is a list to help you understand the possible roles of a music producer:

Creating Music

  • Creating Composer
  • Arranger
  • Orchestrator
  • Jingle Writer
  • Songwriter

Music Performance

  • Performing Artist
  • Orchestra Member
  • Background Vocalist
  • Conductor
  • Record Vocals

Producing & Engineering

  • Producer ( Create Instrumental )
  • Engineer
  • Post-Production Engineer
  • Music Editor
  • Oversee Recording Process

Business Management

  • Booking Agent
  • Business Manager
  • Artist & Repertoire (A&R) Coordinator
  • Entertainment Attorney
  • Publicist

Some music producers work with artists, bands, or record labels to produce the recordings.

While there are some other music producers who work with the composers to create the sound for various multimedia projects.


What Does A Music Producer Do?

Music producers are the creative and technical leaders in recording projects. During the whole process of completing a recording and delivering it to the ones who hired them here’s what a music producer has to perform:

  • Hiring all musicians and vocalist
  • Make sure everyone gets paid
  • Finding the mixer
  • Managing the schedule

In relation to a recording, music producers take key decisions like which instruments will be featured, vocal interpretation, and much more. They play an important role in developing the sound of a music recording.

The music we hear is basically formed by collaborations. Music producers are the ones who can be thought of at the center, bringing all the collaborations together.

Music production is typically done in recording studios. Each track is generally recorded separately. After that, the producer works his or her magic to improve the sound quality, tie everything all together and thus produce the song that we hear.

In short, they do all the managing, supervising, and financial stuff and make sure to get the tasks done in order to complete the recordings.

Their job is to take the vision of the music artist for the song or the record and make that from a concept into a complete album.


What is a Music Producer’s Salary?

As per payscale.com, the average salary of a music producer is $51,080.  However, it is highlighted that their total pay can range from $29k – $145k.

Base Salary$27k – $99k
Bonus$18 – $20k
Profit-Sharing$600 – $20k
Commission$2k – $10k
Total Pay$29k – $145k

Source: payscale.com

The total pay combines:

  • The base annual salary or the hourly wage
  • Bonuses
  • Profit-Sharing
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Overtime Pay and other forms of cash earnings

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Music Producer?

The music producers use their listening skills, technology, and the talent of the performers to create music that can entertain a large audience.

Their work is to take all the elements, the bits and pieces, and everything and make something amazing out of it. Therefore a music producer needs to have good musical training and skill, a high level of technical as well as studio experience.

A music producer should have the ability to read music which can help them to communicate better with the musicians. They should also know about multiple instruments not only because it helps them to understand various musical concepts but also allows them to create their own music samples.

They should also have the skill of composing and arranging music and they should also have the knowledge of pitch, melody, and rhythm.

Apart from all these, it is also important to have the knowledge of marketing and promoting as it will help you as a music producer to promote your work as well as collaborate with others.

Related: How to Become a Better Music Producer


Where to Start to Become a Music Producer?

There are many different ways in which you can become a music producer. Some enter this profession as a musician, record-level executives while some enter as music school graduates or sound engineers.

You should improve your music listening skills, learn how to play instruments, and also understand the technology that is used to produce music.  

We highly recommend you watch this video about the 14 steps of becoming a music producer.

Related: How to Become a Music Producer

For example, as a music producer it is very important that you know how to use an audio mixer which is a device used to control multiple audio channels. 

It can be used to alter the volume and effects of individual sounds for creating a musical composition.

To enhance your knowledge you can enroll yourself in a music production-related degree. These programs not only allow you to understand and learn about the technology used to create, mix and master the music, but also they give you an opportunity to meet like-minded people in the industry.


How Much Do Music Producers Make?

A Music producer degree can be helpful but it is not a necessity. There is no standard level of education that is needed to become a music producer.

But a bachelor’s degree in music production is usually the most common credential.

There are many colleges that offer the music production degree program traditionally at the bachelor’s level. These four-year programs explain to the students a variety of courses related to music production. They expose the students to the recording arts technology and the music business as a whole.

These programs may even include internships that let the students get experience overseeing the entire music production process.


What’s the Difference Between a Producer & Beat Maker?

There are no set definitions for the different roles of a music producer or beatmaker.

But I believe a music producer is a music creator who is more hands-on and collaborative with music artists to create music. They may provide input and direction on a song. So they play a role in crafting the final tracks.

While I would group beatmakers as someone who submits or sells beats to music artists. But doesn’t work directly with people in a collaborative way. And usually has no say on the final track.

But the roles of both jobs are very similar.

Related: Free Music Producer Name Generators


Music Producer Summary

A music producer or record producer creates and oversees all aspects of recording artists’ musical performances for albums, singles, and other music projects. The role of a music producer varies from project to project, but generally includes all aspects of making music.

We hope we answered what is a music producer and what they do.

If we missed any info on what a music producer is, please share it in the comments.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

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