How To Become A Music Producer (With Duties And Skills)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 24 January 2023
Published 5 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Music producers create new songs and release them to play on the radio, in clubs, movies and TV shows worldwide. If becoming a music producer excites you, knowing pathways and required skills and knowledge can help you pursue this career. There are many routes to become a music producer, which often requires time and dedication. In this article, we discuss what does a music producer do, how to become a music producer, understand their primary responsibilities and key skills to help you succeed in this industry.
What does a music producer do?
Music producers are music experts responsible for guiding the overall concept of an album from start to finish. People may often listen to those high-quality music pieces on various streaming platforms. Music production also involves business components as producers usually own and manage studios, market and promote music, and offer to master vocal tuning and remixing services. They can also create rhythms, write complete songs, remix and produce existing music.
How to become a music producer?
There are various paths to become a music producer. Some enter the profession as an assistant or at executive roles, as music-school graduates, or as sound engineers. With the expansion of the internet, social media and consumer-level recording equipment, it has become easier for professionals to enter the career themselves. You can consider any path that suits you and helps you succeed in your career.
Here are some basic steps you can follow to become a music producer:
1. Learn the fundamentals of music
To learn the basics of music and train your ear, start listening to different music styles from multiple eras. Listen to how other artists use their instruments and other sounds, understand recognising pitch, harmony, and rhythm. You can do this yourself with the help of available content on the internet or you can enrol in a music course to help you get started.
Though a music producer does not play any musical instrument professionally, learning the basics of playing those instruments such as drums, guitar, violin and reading sheet music is crucial. Starting with learning to play your favourite songs might be an effective way to understand musical concepts like chord progression. Knowing such fundamentals can also help you record your sounds yourself while developing ideas during the creative process, rather than waiting for a session musician.
2. Consider a degree in music
Though getting a degree is optional, some producers choose to pursue one. Through this route, you may also get a chance to meet successful producers from the industry and make connections if you do not have any direct link or reference in the industry. These programs teach the technology which is used to create, mix and master music. There are various universities offering specialisation programmes in music production. You may also enrol in an online course rather than a traditional college.
3. Participate in an internship
An internship can be an effective way to gain practical experience and learn more about the music industry and production. Try to find a music production company near your location that offers internships. Before applying for the internship, research the record label to understand what genre they work with and why you want to work for them. This can help you better prepare for the application process.
4. Arrange a digital audio workstation
It is easy to explore music production for anyone who has access to a functioning computer. A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a type of software that music producers often use for recording, editing and producing music and aspirants can download the software to learn how to use it. While the software may appear complex to use at first, you can consider exploring available online tutorials and resources to understand their features. There are several options when selecting a DAW. You can take a free trial to decide which one best matches your needs.
5. Set up space for production and recording
While a professional-grade studio space may be very expensive for beginners, they can start simple and build a professional studio as they grow. A dedicated space to create music can support you to be more creative and also increase the chances of collaboration with other artists. You can start with the essential equipment, like an audio mixer, a computer with DAW, microphones in a silent room and can further invest to build your studio when your income and popularity increases.
6. Learn using an audio mixer
Audio mixer is also the essential technical equipment a music producer uses during music production. An audio mixer or a soundboard is a device or software for controlling multiple audio channels. Using this, you can adjust the magnitude and effects of particular sound components to create your music. While these may seem complicated to use and understand at first, tutorials and guides are available online to help you learn on your own. You can also consider doing a course in music production where professionals may help you learn using an audio mixer.
7. Build a network in the industry
Networking is an important skill for music producers. Consider opportunities to network with music industry professionals at concerts, recording studios and on social media platforms. Many artists who are also just beginning their careers may be more willing to work with you for free or in exchange for production services. You can also promote or showcase your work in public events offline or online to get attention and attract people to collaborate with you.
8. Create music
You can create music at any stage of your journey to become a music producer after having enough knowledge of music and technology involved in the production. Creating music may comprise of various roles, including creating beats, making remixes and mash-ups of existing music pieces and melody, or producing your original piece. Consider using social media to promote and share your work to build your reputation, attract artists and draw opportunities for projects.
What does a music producer do?
A music producer supervises the entire music production process. They visualize music products and work on the raw music from scratch to make them ready to listen. They collaborate with many professionals involving sound engineers, lyricists, singers and musicians, and work as a team to produce a music album. They also provide guidance and instructions to the team to get the result according to expectations.
Their primary role is to ensure everyone in the team is working properly and completing the assigned tasks. They create a collaborative and cooperative environment that encourages every team member for working together to produce hit music. The producer is responsible for making a song that meets the trend and the market demand. It is important for them that the audiences like the music they produce and while visualising the music, they keep the target audience into consideration.
Primary skills of a music producer
Skills of successful music producers include:
Ability to read music: Knowledge of reading music can help you communicate better with musicians and produce high-quality music.
Passion for music: The music industry is very selective and to succeed in this industry, it is essential to have dedication and passion for music and creativity.
Proficiency with instruments: Learning an instrument can develop your understanding of musical concepts and help you create your own music samples.
Music composition: Composing and arranging music is a fundamental skill in music production. The better the music composition, the more the probability of the album being successful.
Pitch and rhythm: Identifying which sounds are in what key is a vital skill for producers and musicians to ensure that the melody and tune of the music is correct.
Social media marketing: Promoting your work is critical for being a professional music producer. It can help you reach wider audiences and get popularity and opportunities for collaboration.
Audio engineering: Audio engineering implies the use and knowledge of technical equipment used to record music and live performances. To get success as a music producer, you require an understanding of sound mechanics and operating mixing and recording equipment.
Project management: Music producers manage the project of album production and teams of multiple people to produce that album. This requires good project management skills, including other skills such as organisation, communication, patience and motivating team members to work together.
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