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Music producers oversee the broad creative process of making a musical recording. They may work with artists in any genre, under many circumstances and at various levels. Music producers do not have to meet any set of educational or experiential requirements, and the tasks they attend to can vary widely. The goal of a music producer is to guide artists in creating the most successful possible recording at every stage of production.
Producers almost always have some sort of musical background, and many are songwriters and musicians in their own right. In some cases, producers write songs and find artists to perform them. More commonly, they help artists hone their sound and fine-tune already-written material. They may participate in a broad conceptual way, help with specific parts of songs. Producers strive to help artists reach their full potential by making suggestions, helping with arrangements and even assisting with the songwriting process. The outside perspective offered by the producer represents the first step toward taking a song or an idea and turning it into a fullblown musical production.
The producer’s responsibility is to help the artist develop a coherent finished project. This means spending time on the recording process. Even when songs are perfectly written and arranged in their final form, the creative process continues in the studio. In some cases, the producer finds a professional recording engineer and acts as a liaison, translating the desires of the artist into a technical language that the engineer can apply. In many cases, producers have engineering backgrounds.
Getting from the raw talent, ideas or songs of an artist to a finished musical product can be a long journey, and the producer is responsible for charting the course. Oftentimes, the process starts with producers scouting for talent. If they find artists they think have promising futures, they can propose projects to them. How projects get done is up to the producer. Many producers are affiliated with record companies, and must propose ideas and get funding from their employers.
Music producers are not managers or promoters, but many times they fill these roles. This might involve buying advertising, helping develop appropriate packaging for the record, sending demos to radio stations and making the music available for purchase online. Producers may also book shows and oversee merchandising. Many producers invest in their artists and need to make back borrowed money.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."