Becoming a successful music producer is not an easy feat, but if you have the drive and a competitive spirit there’s no reason not to consider it as a career choice!
So what exactly is a music producer?
A music producer is really a little of everything. They edit music, oversee the budget, schedule studio time and the list goes on! It really depends on your personal approach. Their duties can range from being a band’s mentor or “coach” to mixing tracks for an artist.
Music producers must be able to decide what songs will most likely turn into a commercial hit and how to make it appeal to the most people possible. This may be done by adding certain instruments (tracks) and adjusting volumes and effects in the song to make it more catchy.
If this still sounds like something you would be interested in doing, then lets go over the process to becoming a music producer!
First off be sure to educate yourself on music, not just the genre you happen to love, every single type of sound should be familiar to you. Be sure to also stay aware of any current songs that are hits and try to understand what made them so popular.
If you read interviews with music producers (something you should consider doing if you haven’t already) you’ll notice that many of them recorded on their own at first. If you are able to afford recording equipment, record your own music or ask to record a local band’s (for free!) If you can’t afford the equipment, consider using free recording software such as Ferrite to at least start the process and familiarize yourself with editing music. Gaining experience is key with any job, especially that of a music producer.
If you know anyone either through a teacher or personal contacts that is a part of the music industry, beg them for an apprenticeship! Or at the very least ask to shadow them for a day.
As far as formal education requirements, there is no set degree you must obtain but a Bachelor’s degree in music production, fine arts or sound engineering is very common among music producers.
College will offer the chance for you to make contacts, discover a mentor or possibly begin an internship. You will also have access to the school’s studio which may contain equipment that you can experience using without the cost of purchasing it.
Some producers even have Master’s degrees in music or music production. It is entirely up to you and how advantageous it is for you personally to obtain a degree. Check on job recruiting sites such as LinkedIn to see what music producer jobs require of a candidate to give you a better idea of what degree level is necessary.
So are music producers going to become a thing of the past or is there a lot of job growth expected?
Lucky for you, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, music producers are expected to grow by 3% from 2018 to 2024. That isn’t an enormous leap, but it is still growth. The average salary of a music producer in the U.S. is $59,000 annually. The three cities where music producers make the most money is New York, Boston and Los Angeles. There is the potential to earn much more than the average, with some music producers earning millions.
Becoming a music producer is not impossible, the hours are erratic and the field is highly competitive but to do what you love and to help create music is something worth shooting for. Just remember- record, record, record!