Being a music producer is a challenging, interesting job, and the salary of a producer can vary hugely depending on a variety of factors. In this blog post, we’ll look at the average music producer salary, as well as the earnings of today’s top producers.
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What does a music producer do?
From Alan Parsons to deadmau5, the list of famous music producers includes both digital music masters and pioneers of classic rock. As the technology used to record and produce music continues to evolve, the role of a music producer is changing.
When you say ‘music producer’ to a friend, the image that pops into their mind may not match yours. To some people, music producers are engineers, tweaking levels, applying effects, and searching for the perfect delay or reverb sound for a track.
To others, music producers are project managers who take a hands-off approach to audio engineering and instead focus on helping artists achieve their goals. Rap and heavy metal pioneer Rick Rubin, for example, claims to barely touch the controls in the recording studios he works in.
Finally, many modern music producers don’t even work with artists – instead, they produce their own music using digital software like Ableton Live or Fruity Loops. As electronic dance music (EDM) grows in popularity, this definition is becoming what most people associate with the term ‘music producer.’
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How much does a music producer earn?
The salary of a music producer varies dramatically based on the artists they work with and the type of music they produce. Some producers, such as Brian Eno, are also artists and earn an income from both their production and music royalties.
Others work on a royalty basis, earning a certain percentage of the profits from the records they produce. If a producer helps to create a hit single, the earnings from a single song can often reach the millions of dollars.
Most producers, however, work on a salary basis and are either employed by their recording studios or by a record label. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salaried music producer earns about $55,000 per year.
Since music production is a field that attracts a small crowd of very high earners, it’s often tough to put an ‘average’ figure on a music producer’s salary. Producing music isn’t like accountancy or medicine, and the gap between the average salary and that of the industry’s top performers can be huge.
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How can you become a music producer?
The music industry has changed a huge amount in the last 20 years, and what was once the perfect path to a career in music production is now a dead end. Likewise, new opportunities have emerged for creative producers to enter the industry through unconventional means.
Thanks to the massive availability of digital music production software, anyone can become a music producer. With the right combination of creativity and knowledge, you can build your own music production career from scratch.
This is particularly true in the electronic dance music community. The popularity of websites like SoundCloud, where anyone can share their music, makes it easier than ever before for underground producers to quickly ‘make it big.’
Because of this, modern music is in many ways a meritocracy. If you have the skills, the sound, and the creativity, you can emerge as a successful producer. Because of this, ambitious producers should focus on learning digital music production skills.
Our course, Essential Music Guide: Learn Ableton Live!, shows you how to produce your own music using Ableton Live – one of the industry’s most popular production applications.
As popular as electronic dance music might be, there are still many opportunities for producers focused on rock, rap, jazz, and other genres. Recording software makes it easier than ever to record, master, and produce albums using live instruments.
Our course, Home Recording: Acoustic Guitar and Vocal Production, shows you how to record and produce your own music at home using live instruments. From audio recording to mastering, you’ll learn every aspect of the production process.
How do music producers become famous?
Many music producers become famous the same way artists do: by devoting their free time to becoming the best at their craft. Networking is also a valuable part of building a music production career; many producers build a large network of great artists that they can work with.
While your focus as a music producer should be familiarizing yourself with modern music production software and learning the fundamentals of making music, it’s very important to network and meet other people within the music community. There’s always a chance you could bump into an up-and-coming artist to partner with.
Our course, How to Build an Awesome Professional Network, will show you how to connect with people in the music industry and build your personal network. If you are serious about production, the importance of knowing people within the music industry – from artists to other producers – truly can’t be overstated.
Ready to start your music production career?
Producing music can be more than just a hobby. With the right combination of hard work and knowledge, you can turn your music production skills into a lucrative and rewarding career.
Think you’ve got what it takes? Set your professional goals, develop a knowledge of music production that’s encyclopedic, and build the professional future you want in the exciting world of music production.