What does a music producer do?

What does a music producer do?

What does a music producer do?

Music producers play a key role in bringing an artist’s vision to life with a track. They understand an artist's unique aspirations for a project and translate this vision into an end product.

Music producers play a key role in bringing an artist’s vision to life with a track. They understand an artist's unique aspirations for a project and translate this vision into an end product.

Most of your favorite songs have undergone some type of music production. Even if a track sounds unedited or bare, it’s likely that a producer has affected the final product.   

Whether it’s composing, editing, scheduling, or supervising—today’s music producers do it all. Ready to get started? Let’s go!   


The Evolution of the “Music Producer” Role

Throughout this blog post, it is important to keep in mind that the term ‘music producer’ has evolved since its inception. Traditionally, music producers have an organizational role—putting different elements together to create an album, EP, single or project. They have the connections, expertise, finances, and schedule to produce a finalized, on-time product.  

The role has grown to impact music production on a greater and more creative level. Producers have become more synonymous with composers than organizers.  

Now, why is this?  

One reason is the development of recording engineers’ skills. Engineers learned music theory and how to think more musically, eventually voicing their opinions for artistic direction. Additionally, some artists, such as Prince, began expanding their roles to include composing, engineering, performing, and producing.  

In some instances, engineers became fully-fledged artists. One iconic example of this is Kanye West—who went from Engineer to Beatmaker/Producer to Artist.  

producer turned arist kanye west

In this blog post, we discuss the traditional definition of a music producer—that is,: the organizational role. A music producer is a great resource for independent artists creating a project and/or recording in a studio. 


What is a music producer?   

A music producer helps an artist create and finalize their musical project for release. Many times, the responsibilities of a music producer differs from project to project and person to person.   

Depending on the producer’s personality, experience, specialty, and budget, your interactions can vary dramatically. Regardless, we can reach the same conclusion: a good producer can make a world of difference for your project.     

What does a music producer do?   

As we have discussed, the role of a music producer has evolved to be more creative. Thus, some producers can do it all, while others still outsource to necessary parties. The main responsibilities, however, include: 

  1. Vision & Leadership:

    A music producer must inspire, support, and instill confidence in their artist. They lead an artist through the stages of recording a track, while maintaining a creative, positive environment. Producers set the direction of a track, define the sound and feel, and ensure the final product matches the artist’s vision. 

  2. Scheduling & Budgeting:

    Regardless of whether it’s for a large commercial or low-budget indie project, a music producer is skilled in ensuring an on-time and on- budget product. 

  3. Song Arrangement & Composing:

    Many times, a music producer may have input regarding the structuring of a song—such as adjusting a chorus or bridge. With a well-trained ear and deep musical knowledge, music producers have a good sense of how a song can be best brought to life. Sometimes they go as far as composing the music as well. 

  4. Studio Management:

    Fostering a studio environment that is productive and cohesive, whilst staying on schedule, is important for a musical project’s success. To ensure this, music producers oversee recording sessions and choose studio spaces suitable for all parties.


  5. Editing & Mixing:

    Producers sometimes function as engineers and can often mix songs themselves. If not themselves, producers are great at finding the best talent for each project.  

What are the benefits for indie artists of working with a producer?   

You may be asking: what’s the benefit of working with a music producer as an indie artist? The key benefit is that a great music producer brings your vision to life—turning your vision into sound. 

Compared to working solo, collaborating with other experts in the industry allows for more creative input. You and your producer are both bringing your best—in skills, experience, expertise, and style—benefiting the project overall.   

Some other benefits of working with a producer include:   

  • A second opinion for choosing songs for a project 

  • Locating a studio that fits your specific needs (and budget)   

  • Bringing in the right musicians and engineers for studio sessions   

  • Running successful and on-track sessions   

  • Helping you make the best project possible through advice, support, & inspiration   

  • Data management of hard drives and backups   

  • Making the most of your budget

You may be thinking you can do it all but keep in mind it can be tricky to produce and perform simultaneously. Musicians may be unaware of mistakes or recording quality, making it difficult to make on-the-spot decisions.   

A good producer brings expertise, a different perspective, and technical strengths. These traits can transform your project and take it to the next level in quality and potential.     

How to choose the right music producer?   

To choose a music producer for your project, we'd recommend following these three criteria: Genre, Personality, and Budget     

  1. Genre   

    Usually, music producers specialize in a specific genre or style. Determine which genre of project you’d like to produce and match your chosen producer accordingly. 

  2. Personality   

    A producer's personality greatly impacts their dynamic with an artist and how they act in the studio. Every producer has a different approach in assertiveness, control, style, and preferences. Knowing what you are looking for ahead of time can save you time and result in a best-fit collaboration. Remember that you are spending both your time and money working with this person. Make sure you feel comfortable with their style and personality of producing before starting. 

  3. Budget   

    Lastly, your budget has a large impact on who you work with. Though you do get what you pay for, experienced producers can be expensive. Thus, it's understandable that indie artists prefer to search for lower-cost options. Be careful though! Sometimes choosing the cheapest option means your project doesn’t get the attention, expertise, or result it deserves. If you aren’t ready to work with an experienced producer just yet, start with network referrals. You can always save towards working with the right person. 


How to find a music producer? 

Ask people in your network:

Your connections can be a great source to find a producer. Plus, they’ve probably had a positive experience with their referrals; giving you a bit more peace of mind. 

Ask recording studios:

Recording studios often work with producers and engineers who regularly use their studio spaces. 

Find producers you already like:

If possible, try to find the producers of your favorite tracks. You can always ask the artists who they worked with. We’d recommend starting with smaller artists, since it’s more likely the producers are affordable and willing to collaborate. 

Online music producer networks:

There are many platforms that can help artists find producers, such as SoundBetter. Filter by your criteria to find the best match for your artistic goals and vision. 

Little Summary   

Music producers play a key part in bringing your artistic vision to life from start to finish. Keep in mind the following:   

  • Music producers can have a variety of personalities, styles, genres, budgets and responsibilities. 

  • A good producer can make a world of difference in the quality and outcome of your musical project. 

  • Producers’ activities can include leadership, scheduling, budgeting, technical expertise, studio session managing, song arrangement & mixing.  

  • Choose a music producer based on genre, personality, and your budget. 

  • Use network referrals, recording studios, favorite tracks, and online networking sites to find a music producer. 

Curious to learn more about the music industry? Want to improve your knowledge on all things related to copyright, distribution, social media promotion, and more? Check out the rest of our Winamp for Creator blog posts here.  

Music producer making music on keyboard
Music producer making music on keyboard
Music producer making music on keyboard
Music producer making music on keyboard


5 minutes

5 July 2024

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