As a music producer and audio educator at an audio production school, I am often asked what it takes to become a music producer. The short answer to this is to say that it takes a lot of talent, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. In order to break down the many philosophies that professional music producers will talk about, I have consolidated all the best information into the five things you should know to become a music producer:
1. BE A MUSICIAN FIRST
This is an ideal shared by chart topping successful music producers throughout music history. It makes complete sense if you think about it: you want to facilitate creating a music product (the core of being a music producer is producing consistent product) with an artist or band, so knowing how to communicate in musical terms is a fast track to achieving this. Nile Rodgers, one of the most successful and diverse music producers of all time, states that being a musician is the first and foremost thing that will help lead to become a successful music producer.
2. KNOW YOUR MARKET
Choose the market you want to be a part of (tip: most likely your local music “scene” will be your first step). Learn everything you can about the market you are working to become a part of. Become part of the “scene” by attending every performance you can. Introduce yourself to the live venues in your market and find out what acts they are having the most success with. Study the artists and bands that play locally. Which ones are “weekend warriors” and which artists are serious and approach music as a career? Know and understand your market so you can offer prospective clients market trend advice and help with booking the best venues. Being a known member of the local music community is critical if you hope to become a successful music producer.
3. BE A GREAT MEDIATOR AND FACILITATOR
To become a successful music producer you must be a go-between. They are the middle person between the final product, a great record, the artist(s), the song and the record label. Someone with a music production career must know how to help everyone involved in the project what they want and on time. Great people skills, organization, attention to detail, and encouraging your team are all prerequisite for being a successful producer. It may not seem like it with all of the hype and YouTube misinformation, but a music production career really falls in the service industry. The first step to figuring out how to be a music producer involves understanding how to make your team feel comfortable and safe enough to try different things. The best and most successful music production careers are in service to the song, artist, and the audience.
4. LEARN ABOUT RECORDING STUDIOS IN YOUR AREA
Get in contact with the most professional studios in your market. Simply call the studio and set up a time when you can meet with the manager. Get your foot in the door and ask to attend a session as either an intern or observer. Keep quiet, listen to, and observe everything that happens in the session. What does the producer say and act like during the session? How is the engineer working and capturing sounds? In addition to interning, an accredited audio production school such as F.I.R.S.T. Institute can help advance your technical understanding of the audio industry. This is also a huge step in getting your foot in the door as a professional in the audio industry. Education is an investment in ones self.
5. OFFER SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND BE CREATIVE
With the digital technology available to anyone with a computer or iPad, virtually anyone can remake a song or program a beat. None of this means you are cut out to become a music producer. To become a successful music producer you must offer something different. There must be an easily identifiable reason that someone should hire you to help him or her make his or her record. Can you deliver a specific sound, do artists just feel comfortable with you, are you providing several skills for the price of one? Be creative and push the boundaries of the genre(s) you are producing.
Hopefully these five things point you in the right direction to be successful as a music producer. As you can see, being a musician, understanding markets, staying organized, being service oriented, and maintaining your creativity are all hallmarks of successful music producers. Remember to be persistent and learn from those who do (study the greats, like Quincy Jones and George Martin), all while being a great networker. This knowledge will help guide you through the maze of the audio industry and keep you on your path to success.
READY TO LAUNCH YOUR CAREER AS A MUSIC PRODUCER?
A quality education from a top audio production school like F.I.R.S.T. Institute in Orlando, Fl can teach you the skills you need to succeed in the audio industry and show you how to be a music producer. There you’ll learn what you need to get your new music production career off the ground, you’ll even learn your way around recording studios and gain more information on music industry jobs. You won’t get our quality, hands on learning experience with passionate audio industry professionals anywhere else! Check out the Recording Arts and Show Production program at the F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s audio production school today. You’re only months away from your dream music production career!