Are you interested in a career in music production? If you have already taken the initiative and poked your head into the countless resources on the Internet regarding this career and feel dazed, daunted, and confused, you are not alone. That is how most of us feel as we explore new career paths.

That being said, congratulations are in order, for you have made the first step into a successful career, and the first step is as big as the last. Follow along, and we will guide you through your next ones. What is music production? What does a music producer do

What Is Music Production?

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Before we can even broach the question of "what does a music producer do?", there are more basic questions about the field at large that will form the foundations of an accurate and holistic understanding of this career. First and foremost, what is music production?

Music production is the exciting industry that is responsible for the music we all enjoy. It is a field that encompasses the various tasks and skills that are needed to record and produce tracks, singles, and records. Its myriad facets include marketing, recording, editing, song writing, audio engineering, and so much more.

1. How Do I Know if Music Production Is Right for Me?

This is, ultimately, a decision you will have to make for yourself, and you cannot make that decision without a clear understanding of what this potential career move has in store for you. Reading up on the industry will help you gain that understanding, but even more valuable is experience.

Stop by your local recording studios, ask around, and you will be surprised by how open employees can be in sharing their own experiences and pearls of wisdom. Better yet, apply to jobs at these studios and see the industry for yourself.

You may also want to consider visiting nearby music schools, where you can find advisors and counselors who would be happy to answer the questions of a prospective student.

In the meantime, there are a few other considerations you can make that will help you decide if this is the right field for you. Music production is an industry that requires a great deal of flexibility, especially when starting out.

It is a highly competitive field, which means career success may necessitate sacrifices in other aspects of your life, such as your social life.

As a new music producer, you may find your earnings to follow a "feast or famine" progression, meaning your income can be liable to fluctuations. This means you need to be on top of your game when it comes to managing your finances.

Also, keep in mind that music production is just as entrepreneurial as it is creative. Many people dive into the world of music production, spurred on by their creative passions, only to find that they do not actually enjoy the work due to how much time and effort they must spend on tasks outside of simply producing music.

Often, these are some of the most talented individuals, but just because one is talented does not mean it is a suitable career choice.

2. How Can I Get into Music Production?

Getting your foot into the door of music production will usually require a certain amount of training, formal or otherwise. Many music producers begin their professional journey by attending a trade or music school. They lay the foundations of their careers by receiving a formal education in recording, engineering, and production.

In addition, many often boost their chances of success by seeking apprenticeships with established producers who guide their first steps into the profession.

3. Should I Attend Audio Engineering School?

So, what does a music producer do when they have no experience? Often, the answer lies in audio engineering school, a route that any up-and-coming producer should consider.

Audio engineering school will arguably provide the most comprehensive educational experience to newcomers of the field. It is many opportunities bundled up in one, exposing students to a wide variety of professionals in music production.

Audio engineering school also has the advantage of providing concrete pathways into the industry. When you leave school, you will leave with an arsenal of professional connections, many of which will serve you for the rest of your career.

You will find that there is also a never-ending need for letters of recommendation and references. This is another reason why you should consider an audio engineering school.

Types of Music Producers

The reason why the question of "what does a music producer do?" is tricky is that it depends on who you ask. Music production is a fluid field that rarely ever boxes its professionals into rigid roles.

It is a career that offers people a huge amount of control and flexibility as to what they do in their day to day work. The advantage of this aspect of the field is that it means you can carve out your own niche as you progress through your career.

That being said, there are five basic types of music producers. What does a music producer do? Well, here are five different ways to answer that.

what does a music producer do

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The Engineer

Ask the average person, "So, what does a music producer do, really?" and he or she is likely to envision the engineer. This type of music producer spends much of their time working with soundboards and deals with topics like compression settings, reverb tails, and equalization. The engineer is knee deep in the technical side of music recording.

The Mentor-Producer

The mentor-producer cultivates strong relationships with the artists they work with, taking on more of a coaching role. Artists depend on mentor-producers for wisdom, motivation, and support.

A famous example of a mentor-producer is Rick Rubin. You will often find, as you do with Rubin, that mentor-producers focus less on the technical aspects of production and more on the artist him or herself.

The Musician-Producer

The musician-producer, simply put, is a musician who also produces. This type of music producer takes on a highly involved role in the recording of tracks. They often play instruments and have a heavy hand in the orchestration in their tracks.

The Artist-Producer

In some cases, an artist will take on the role of producer as well, giving them complete control over their album. As this is no small feat, most artist-producers already have a track record of successes and a long history of experiences in music production and recording.

When you think of the artist-producer, think of Prince, who was famous for wearing many hats, juggling the tasks of production, arrangement, composition, and performance all himself.

The Phenom

Some music producers are known for being in a league of their own. They have what people in the industry call "the magic touch," and they are well known for their near-perfect track records for success.

What causes this success? Sometimes it is a matter of strong networking skills. Other times, it results from a highly reliable intuition for what sort of songs will become crowd favorites. Often, it is a complex mixture of skills and talents that is difficult to replicate.

When you think of this magic touch, think of Dr. Dre, who is famous in the industry for his almost guaranteed success.

Role of a Music Producer

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What Does a Music Producer Do?

The more time you spend developing your career, the more you will find that the answer to the question, "What does a music producer do?" is one you can craft for yourself. This flexibility is one of the most daunting, yet appealing facets of the field.

When starting out, you may find yourself becoming frustrated with the liberal definitions of your role. You may wonder if you prefer the traditional structure that most normal jobs provide.

As your music production career grows, however, you will gain a clearer understanding of what you want your role to be and how you can make it come to be.

Are you more interested in the technical side of music production? Is it important that you have full creative control in the process? How much do you enjoy the interpersonal aspect of music production? Is it your dream to be a successful musician or to help other musicians find success?

These are questions that will help you figure out what role you want to develop for yourself.


If you only take away one thing from this article, let it be this: music production is a career that provides you with the rare freedom to create your own set of roles and duties.

With that freedom, however, comes immense responsibility - a level of responsibility that many people prefer not to have. It will be up to you to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

That being said, music production is a dynamic and exciting career that rewards passion and hard work with open hands. Now that you have the basics of music production down, your next step should be to see the career with your own eyes.

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