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What Is A Music Producer?

A music producer manages the recording process. They work on behalf of the artist to get the best results possible from a studio session. They aim to make the instruments and vocals sound great, try to reflect the sound and spirit of the band and guide the artist on creative decisions based on their past experience. 

What do you need to be a music producer?

A combination of emotional intelligence balanced with technical skills. Music producers need to quickly build a relationship with artists so they can be both a leader and provide constructive criticism. Most artists will be precious about their songs and likely have a ‘sound in their heads’. The music producer has to bring out the artist’s vision while being prepared to offer alternative ideas in a way that maintains a creative atmosphere within the studio. Combined with this are the raw technical skills required to operate contemporary recording equipment. Audio technology is now so advanced it can create virtually any sound imaginable. 

How much money does a music producer make?

When people talk about producers today the names often mentioned are Dr Dre, David Guetta, Mark Ronson and Timbaland. These producers are at the height of their careers, responsible for songs that have been played countless billions of times. As a result, they’re extremely rich by any standards. However, they represent a very small proportion of the total number of producers. A typical producer is constantly trying to attract clients. Their reputation and who they’ve previously worked with are their greatest assets. If they score a hit they will be in demand. However, there is a lot of competition meaning they must constantly be on top of their game.

Does a music producer make beats?

Producers can make beats if the song requires it. A producer will have the knowledge of the latest drum machines, loops, sound libraries and programming. The producer is hired by the artist to turn their vision into a song. If a song requires beats, the producer will do them!

Are music producers in demand?

The world’s most successful producers are very high in demand. They can almost name their own price for work and will be booked for months in advance. They will also be in the enviable position they can pick and choose who to work with. However, they know their reputation is everything. While a record producer keeps producing hits they will be in high demand. However, if the hits start to dry up then they know there is a long line of eager, talented producers ready to take their mantle.

Who is the most successful music producer?

This can be answered in numerous ways depending on how you define success? In terms of records sold, influence or in modern day demand?

Records sold include the likes of George Martin, who produced  the majority of recordings by The Beatles. Quincy Jones for his work with Michael Jackson. Or perhaps you could include Jimmy Page, who produced his own albums with Led Zeppelin.

Influence is harder to answer, since it’s so subjective. George Martin would have to be top, simply because his work with The Beatles has become rock n roll legend. Phil Spector created the “Wall of Sound”, which producers still try to emulate today. Spector used a variety of unconventional techniques, including placing instruments and vocalists in bathrooms to achieve an echo effect. Or perhaps Giorgio Moroder, a German producer who in 1977 recorded Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, a track that defined a Hi-NRG sound that still influences tracks made today.

Max Martin, Mark Ronson & Calvin Harris are examples of the ‘hottest’ producers in the world right now. They score hit after hit with some of the world’s most popular artists. If there is a formula to writing hits, then currently, they have it!

Is it hard to be a music producer?

The simple answer is ‘Yes’. The skills required are a rare combination of emotional intelligence, creativity and technical skills. Often people possess one or two but rarely all three. To be successful means hard work, dedication and building a reputation that can often take years. No matter whether you’re at the top, like Mark Ronson, or just starting out, you’re in a very competitive market where you’re only as good as your recent hits. 

In addition, bare in mind a producer is working with artists. For all their wonderful qualities artists can also be idiosyncratic. They may prefer to work throughout the night, go through a dozen emotions in as many minutes and are unlikely to follow the usual workplace etiquette. Producers must work with a wide variety of different egos and situations, striving to get the best out of the artist.

Is music production a good career?

Being a Producer can be extremely rewarding, both financially and creatively. Having an input on a song or album that has an impact on an audience is extremely fulfilling. On the other hand, you have to be highly self-motivated, able to work long hours  often ‘alone’ – the majority of producers are self-employed – and in an environment where there are few rules. It doesn’t suit everyone but for the people who do it there is nothing they’d rather be doing!

How do producers get paid?

The majority will work on an hourly/session rate or a percentage of sales. The answer really depends on the level of the producer and the artist. A producer with a strong reputation working with a popular artist will likely work on a percentage of revenue. Somewhere between 3-5% is typical. The label will also be pay for studio time and recording costs, which could also run into tens of thousands of pounds for the best recording studios.

For most producers the fee will be for a studio session or a project, such as an entire album. A producer may charge £100 for a 3 hour session, enough time to record a song if the artist is rehearsed and ready to record. However, some tracks may require overdubs or parts recorded, such as strings or horn sections. The price for Mastering is likely separate too. 

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