Does your life revolve around music? Are your days spent exploring new genres and artists? Do you find yourself thinking of ways in which certain songs could be even better? Are you excited by the prospect of working with people who are just as passionate about music? If your answered ‘yes’ to all the above questions, then becoming a music producer could be your dream career!
Music producers live and breathe music. They handle all aspects of producing the recorded version of an artist’s/band’s music. As a music producer, your core job would be to achieve the best possible version of your artist’s recorded music, harnessing the capabilities of studio equipment and audio engineering techniques in the process. Along with this, you would have various other related responsibilities: overseeing contracting, helping your artist choose the right songs, working with industry professionals to promote your artist, and so on. Calculating the “average” salary of music producers is somewhat difficult as the gap can be extremely wide. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics places the median annual salary for a music producer at approximately USD 55,340. Top earners, however, take home as much as USD 97,700 a year!
Music production is an exciting and creative business that can allow you to pursue your passion, make good money, and be recognized for your success. You also have the option of working for a studio or on your own. On the other hand, it can also be tough. Work hours tend to be long and unpredictable – at the peak of the recording process, you may end up spending days on end in the studio. It also takes time to learn the technical aspect of the business and establish a reputation, which means you may have to spend the first few years working very hard for very little in return. Once you do make a name for yourself, you still need to keep pace with musical trends and new technologies to ensure continued success.
Aspiring music producers can reach their goal via a couple of paths. Unlike many other professions, there is no defined educational roadmap to becoming a music producer. The knowledge of music is a core component of the job, so it is important to engage in various musical activities: learning how to play an instrument, singing, writing songs, exploring various musical styles, etc. Many music producers begin their careers by working with local musicians, helping with sound at live performances and recording demos. Some even start out as performers on stage! This kind of experience allows them to learn on the job and build a network along the way. Others may choose to attend a conservatory or complete skill-focused courses offered schools. A formal education can help you to develop your technical know-how and gain valuable practical experience which may otherwise be possible at an early stage, such as recording in a professional studio and learning industry-specific lessons from real-world music producers.
The US is home to a number of top-notch schools for music production. The Los Angeles Film School, for instance, is a popular choice. Its accredited degree program offers classes spanning a range of relevant areas such as digital recording, musical identification, audio workstations, and production and industry skills. The F.I.R.S.T. Institute prepares students for an entry-level role in the music production business through a 29-week training program focused on audio engineering and music production. Full Sail University offers students an up-to-date curriculum, owing to its board of music industry professionals. Those interested in online programs can also apply here.