Music producers shape and hone the talent of performers to produce high quality recordings. They oversee all aspects of recording sessions, including providing instruments, scheduling artists and studio time and paying upfront costs. Once an artist lays down tracks, music producers work with audio engineers to mix the sound. Part artist, part entrepreneur and part visionary, the music producer is "the brains" behind the final product.
When you first start out as a music producer, your wages will likely be in the bottom 10 percent of those in your field. At the 10th percentile annual averages as of 2013 for music producers in 10 randomly selected cities, according to the national salary survey site Salary Expert, were Pierre, S.D., $30,629; Miami, $30,033; Houston, $32,371; Augusta, Maine, $36,717; Philadelphia, $38,516; Chicago, $37,468; Walla Walla, Wash., $36,422; Baltimore, $40,365; Washington, D.C., $44,372; and New York, $43,447.
Salary Expert reported a national average wage of $51,844 for music producers as of 2013. Geographic differences among 10 randomly selected cities include Pierre, S.D., $42,551; Miami, $45,890; Houston, $44,971; Augusta, Maine, $51,008; Philadelphia, $53,507; Chicago, $52,052; Walla Walla, Wash., $50,598; Baltimore, $56,077; Washington, D.C., $61,643; and New York, $60,357. Factors like the size of the record label, your years of experience and your reputation can affect how much money you'll earn.
Top salaries for music producers in 10 randomly chosen cities, according to Salary Expert, include Pierre, S.D., $74,398; Miami, $80,236; Houston, $78,628; Augusta, Maine, $89,185; Philadelphia, $93,554; Chicago, $91,010; Walla Walla, Wash., $88,467; Baltimore, $98,047; Washington, D.C., $107,779; and New York, $105,531. As a music producer your salary will grow over the course of your career; the average ending salary in this group was $53,650 more than the average of the starting salaries in these same cities.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs to grow for sound engineering technicians by 11 percent through 2020, compared to 14 percent for occupations surveyed in the U.S. as a whole. According to the BLS, competition is strong because there are many more people who want to work as music producers than there are available jobs. Entrepreneurs and those working for smaller companies will fare better than producers who want to work for established, large companies.