A music producer helps musicians turn songs into musical productions and final recordings for sale. He typically has a bachelor’s degree and often works his way up for several years as an intern and assistant producer. He works with both talent and the production crew to ensure the most effective final product is recorded. Although some hard work is required, being a music producer can be an exciting and rewarding career.
Music producer pay varies greatly depending on the location, the level of success of the producer and number of clients. Some producers work in larger firms while others operate independently. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t isolate music producer pay, but it does show median pay for all sports and entertainment producers and directors was $68,440 in 2010. The Berklee College of Music indicated a low end of $25,000 for record producers in 2010, but top earners, like Columbia Records Co-President Rick Rubin, make millions of dollars.
Music producers play a critical role in the musical entertainment industry. They oversee the entire process of making music, and without them quality recordings would not get made. Producers are important to their firms, investors in their businesses, artists and the audiences that buy the music. In some instances, producers even keep the wheels of the music industry turning by managing relationships between the artist and music label to ensure a collaborative effort during the production process. Top producers help artists turn their talents into a creative musical product that satisfies the vision of the artist and the financial interests of the label.
Some music producers come from the ranks of musicians and songwriters. However, many get into producing because they want to live and work in music from behind the scenes. As a producer, you spend a lot of time at clubs and music performances evaluating talent, listening to current sounds and developing your musical vision. You get to help create music and sounds and provide entertainment to audiences by guiding the work of artists. Plus, you get the chance to hang out and work with the performers.
Even though you don’t get the same recognition as the talent that appears on stage and on album covers, producing does sometimes get you recognized. Top producers often become associated with their unique vision and musical styles. Some artists rely heavily on their producers to drive the direction and sound of their music. Producers routinely have to push artists to work through challenges and to complete projects in a timely manner. Music awards honor producers who are the most successful in their work each year.
by Neil Kokemuller, Demand Media