Music Producers: Job Description and Info for Students Considering a Career in Music Producing
Music producers draw together instrumental and vocal elements in order to mix sound. They combine these factors with industry trends to construct a cohesive product for the music market. One way to specialize in this arena is to pursue a 4-year bachelor's degree with a major or concentration in music production.
Music Producer Job Description
Music producers oversee the development of songs. They ensure that musicians' and investors' visions for a song are fulfilled in terms of vocals, sound effects and instrumental arrangements. Technical skills are necessary to operate soundboards, playback tracks and utilize requisite computer software to edit sound. Management duties involve booking compatible background vocalists and/or session musicians, coordinating studio time and hiring sound engineers to mix and master final recordings.
A music producer also must interact well with others to ensure that everyone involved with a track or album shares a vision for success. They should also have the ability to articulate complex musical concepts in simple terms and tactfully resolve creative differences.
There is no formal education requirement for music producers, but O*Net Online reported as of 2011 that most people in this position have some college background if not a degree (www.onetonline.org). A background in audio production can give producers a marked advantage when dealing with sound engineers. Additionally, study of music theory can be useful when coordinating style, lyrics and instrumental as well as vocal arrangements.
There are several bachelor's degree programs available that are dedicated to prospective music producers, such as a Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering or Music Business. There's also the Bachelor of Science in Music Industry or Music Technology. Areas of study may include recording, mixing, digital mastering, production and sound techniques. Master's degrees are also available in similar fields for those who want to advance their studies or teach.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected job prospects for music composers and arrangers to grow at an average rate from 2008 through 2018 (www.bls.gov). Competition among prospective producers is nearly as keen as that of performers; this is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. In 2011, Payscale.com reported that salaries ranged from $19,653 to $200,000 per year for music producers. A music producer typically receives a percentage of a song or album's sales, which is stipulated under contract and can affect total earnings.
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