Music producer as a phrase indicate that person who manages all the things that are involved in the process of the production of a band or of a song from recording to master. Also known in music industry as record producers, executive music producers or simply put, executive producers, the “music producers” can be the writers, the composers, the recording engineers, the arrangers or just the supervisors of all these activities. One fact is sure that they are responsible for the final result.
A little history behind the job of music producer
The job of music producer is related hand-in-hand to the development of recording studios. The first recording studio was opened by the pianist Frederick William “Fred Gaisberg” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in early 1897. Gaisberg employees was of German-Jewish emigrant Emil Berliner. At that time, the division of labor in the recording studio was low because the tasks of the sound engineer, music producer and artist and repertoire manager were often combined in one person.
When Harry O. Sooy was appointed head of the recording team at RCA Victor on January 1, 1909 , the music producer’s function was officially created. The importance and the tasks of the music producer constantly increased with the rapid technical development. When John Hammond recorded three jazz recordings with Fletcher Henderson’s band for December 9, 1932 , the career of a music producer had virtually begun.
His first tasks were simply to contact the artist to match the number of shots and record the music as natural as possible on tape. With the introduction of the tape recorder in 1948, faulty recordings could be completely or partially deleted and re-produced, multitrack technique finally allowed the possibility of overdubbing . This broadened the field of activity of a music producer.
Tasks of a music producer
With the first recording studios and the improvement of sound technology, the requirement to use design and creative elements in sound recordings began. The range of tasks of a music producer in today’s music industry varies greatly and depends in particular on the division of labor between record label, recording studio and producer. The music producer mediates between artistic performance, sound engineering and the commercial potential of recorded works. On the one hand, the range of tasks of a music producer can be divided into technical, artistic and even economic criteria. On the other hand, the phases can be distinguished before, during and after a music recording. So the music producer is not just focused on the monitoring, mixing and mastering process.
In the run-up to a recording, the music producer seeks and trains artists and decides on their repertoire together with the Artists and Repertoire Manager. In addition, he makes the final decisions about the arrangement and use of session musicians, acts as the intermediary between the record label and the performers, is responsible for the commercial responsibility together with the record label and makes the final decision on the recording budget.
By copyright, the music producer must obtain the rights of the music works planned for sound recording so that they can later be distributed by sound recordings .This happens in the form of the so-called artist exclusive contracts. The producer is often responsible for the preparation of the arrangement. He determines the individual instrumental and vocal parts and leads the recording.
While recording, the music producer creates the recording plan, books and organizes the recording session in the recording studio, decides on new takes, determines the takes to be used for mixing and mastering, and pays the sound engineers and studio musicians. He takes care of or supervises the placement of microphones / microphone stands, microphone amplifiers, music stands or the isolation of instruments. He works with the artists to optimize the recording. He cooperates with the studio crew before, during and after sound recording.
After recording, the music producer allows the artist to transfer the right to record and use music. In doing so, he can be granted the right to exploit the titles mentioned in the production contract within the framework of title exclusivity for years after their first publication. The producer can, but does not have to, provisionally assume the costs of production and marketing. He is looking – if not yet done – for record companies, which can press the finished recording on phonograms and then market them. Performers and record companies rely on the producer as an objective listener in the performance of his tasks, especially in determining the appropriate sound.
With the big growth of technology from the last years especially and also the real simplification of the whole process of production, many music producers have found themselves performing an entrepreneurial role also because they became the studio owners in the same time with being the composers, the sound engineers, the recording engineers, the musicians, the arrangers or even the project managers of the music production part of a band / artist or a single / album. In this way the generalization of the “term” “music producer” become obvious. In common sense, the music producer remain the person who can do everything for the production of a band, an artist, a music album or just a song or at least can manage or supervise the actions required for the action.
Famous Music Producers
Although music producers like composers and studio musicians tend to work in the background and are largely unknown to the music audience, few producers have moved out of this anonymity.
Because successful and excellent music producers enjoy a status similar to the performers themselves. In the US, emphasized Nile Rodgers, will.i.am , Bill Putnam, Sam Phillips, Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, David Foster, Jimmy Iovine, Phil Ramone (pop), Rudy Van Gelder (jazz) or Chet Atkins(Country).
In the UK George Martin, Alan Parson , Trevor Horn, Mike Batt, Norrie Paramor, Joe Meek, Mickie Most or Stock Aitken Waterman.
Ralph Siegel , Hans Bertram , Nils Nobach , Heinz Gietz , Conny Plank , Dieter Dierks , Frank Farian or Dieter Bohlen were or are important German music producers.
Particularly in the jazz found and to today personalities such as Alfred Lion and Manfred Eicher, who from their own conviction record musicians and market them on their own record labels. In England, Hugh Padgham is especially notable for his work with Genesis, Phil Collins and Mike and the Mechanics.
And so on.
The readers of music production glossary also asked:
What do you do as a music producer?
A producer do a lot of things and tere isn’t a specific task related to this job. There are many roles that a music producer have to deal with. We can only mention that a music producer have to gather the ideas for the project. Also can be the composer of the music.
A music producer can manage and decide the song arragement. He can be also the coach of the artist or the musician involved in the project.
A music producer can be also the manager of the recording session and the supervisor of the entire process. And also can have an entrepreneurial role being tha manager of the budget, the one who decide the schedules and deal with various contracts needed or negotiations.
How to become a music producer?
If you want to become a music producer or you are asking what you have to do in order to become a music producer there are a lot of courses to start with. Most known are from Berklee and SAE but a lot of universities are offering great starts in this field.
Important is your will first of all, to love and respect music in your personal way, to learn basic tech part of things and to develop and maintain relationships in order to create you personal lane. Anything else is based on continuous learning and gather experience because is not a job for a specific period of time is a lifetime job.
Do you need a degree to be a music producer?
Of course there is no recipe regarding this. In fact you don’t really need a degree or a standard level of education to become a music producer.
It is recommended to learn the basics of music production, at least. There are so many colleges and schools that offers music production programs that are so useful in your path to become a great music producer. Many of them are giving at the completion a proof of your study. The diploma can be useful in some cases to build your brand.
Also, there are a lot of music production online courses that can offer a lot of valuable knowledgeable.
How Much Can You Earn as a Music Producer?
This is a tough question because there is no limit and also there is no reference about the music producer salaries.
In United States for example the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the average a music producer can earn per year is $55,000 but you can beat this number a lot and of course you can find that the $55,000 is an impossible milestone. It is all about you, your skills, your work and most of all, your talent.
How a music producer gets paid?
There are various ways a music producer gets paid. Many of them get a percentage of an artist’s royalties on a single produced or an album.
How do you become a successful producer?
Definitely, there is no previous path to follow or recipe on becoming a successful music producer. The work, your work, the hard work is the only constant in a very big bucket of variables. The work also mean that you have to spend a lot of time in the studio and you have to make a lot of “music” in order to become great, better, the best.
Learning or at least trying to learn everything in the field can also give you more chances to become a successful music producer. The knowledge can give you the tools to achieve your goals. Also you will have to learn from other music producers.
Building connections also is a way you have to consider if you want to become a successful music producer.