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What Does a Music Producer Do?

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Working With Musicians to Create Hits

A music producer oversees all aspects of the recording process. With a day filled with working with musicians to bring a song to life, music producers report a high level of job satisfaction. Long hours may be required, but options for self-employment give flexibility to working moms.

Job Description

A music producer serves the same function in the making of a recording as a director does in the film industry. She selects the studio and engineers, and she may hire instrumentalists or other collaborators so a song sounds the way she envisions it. She maintains the recording budget and may serve as a composer or arranger to adapt the lyrics and melody of a song. The music producer may be in charge of booking rehearsals, making demos and editing performances. Today's music producers say they fulfill many different roles since the music business is constantly changing in response to new technologies and listeners' tastes.

Education Requirements

No formal education requirements exist to become a music producer. Unless you have good connections with people in the music business, however, it's to your advantage to enroll in a program at an accredited school. The most common entry point for individuals beginning in the business is a bachelor's degree in music production. Many times, these programs offer internships, enabling you to get hands-on experience that can be difficult to acquire on your own. Music producers should be excellent musicians with considerable performing experience. They should have top-notch communications and interpersonal skills.

About the Industry

Music producers may work in studios for record labels, producing songs for artists who are under contract. Others produce sound recordings for movies, television, music videos, commercials or video games. Many are employed full-time and live near major recording hubs such as Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. Advances in technology mean that some music producers can be self-employed, running their own studios.

Years of Experience

Music producers who work with today's top artists make seven figures and more, but entry-level positions average less than $40,000 annually. A producer's pay depends largely on the musical genre and the commercial success of the artists she works with. Some industry-wide salary averages, based on experience, include:

  • Entry-level: $41,280
  • Mid-career: $40,320
  • Experienced: $60,480
  • Late-career: $83,040

Job Growth Trend

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track job opportunities for music producers. Instead, it tracks music directors and composers, for which it predicts a 10 percent increase in job opportunities by the end of the decade. This growth is about average when compared to growth in all occupations.


Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.

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