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The duties of a music producer vary depending on the music climate and genre in which he or she works. Much like editors, some take a more casual approach to their work and others exert more creative influence. Music producers can also work in television, film, and for computer software and video game companies. For those who do well in the field, the benefits of being a music producer include money, prestige and artistic influence.
According to the Schools in the USA website, while the estimated salary for an entry-level music producer is just $14,590, the average salary of a music producer is an estimated $67,330 annually. This salary is said to decrease for music producers later in their careers, possibly due to record labels favoring younger producers. While these salaries might reflect producers within the business, it is nearly impossible to figure the yearly sums of those who work as freelance producers being paid a lump sum for an album. Many big-name producers work on their own recognition, charging a fixed rate for an entire project. Producers are also sometimes given the option of taking points, on top of their fixed rate, allowing them to make a percentage of sales after the album has been released. In the indie rock scene this is generally considered taboo as it takes money away from the artists who have actually written the music, though it is not as uncommon with larger record labels, especially when the artists aren’t the author of their own music.
Music production can be a rewarding career and one in which your production can help to shape the overall feel of an entire album or genre. The behind-the-scenes production work can be as valuable to an album as the music itself, and can largely make or break an album the same way a director can affect a movie. In many genres of music, the producer might actually play a part in the writing process, adding tracks and writing tunes to enhance the overall feel. In hip hop music, the producer's work is considered by many to be as important as the artist’s own work on the album. In any form of music, it is largely up to the producer to make every track sound its best. It is the producer’s job to set the levels and make sure every instrument sounds right and fits in to the final mix.
Many producers achieve a level of fame not unlike the artists they produce. Producer Steve Albini made a name for himself in the 1990s producing some estimated 1500-2000 artists, including the Pixies and Nirvana. Much like a musician, he became well-known for his own music production, creating a raw and loud genre all its own. Producer Pharrell Williams is well-known in and out of the industry for his work with The Neptunes, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and more. He has received numerous Grammy Awards and was once responsible for more than 20 percent of the music on Britain's Billboard 100 charts.
Stephen Andrew Baldwin became a freelance writer in Seattle, Wash. after graduating from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing. Focusing professionally on web copy, Baldwin has been writing professionally for more than two years, and has been published on a number of websites including eHow.com.