Music Producer: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Explore the career requirements for music producers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Music Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Music Producer?

Music or record producers coach musicians, schedule recording sessions, oversee budgets and provide instruments. Music producers make a lot of the creative decisions, such as auditioning performers, selecting music and more. These professionals oversee the post-production process, which includes editing the music. They will also make sure that the project stays within budget and is completed on time. Music producers must approve any changes throughout the process and are responsible for the final product, as well as working to promote the product. See the chart below for an overview of what you might want to know about becoming a music producer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree preferred; master's degree may be required
Training Required Music producers typically have several years of experience
Education Field of Study Fine arts, music production, sound engineering
Key Skills Leadership and coaching, musical direction, funding, negotiation
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (all music directors and composers)*
Average Salary (2015) $59,040 (all music directors and composers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are a Music Producer's Duties?

Music producers oversee all aspects of a recording session, from planning the sessions to the finished product. As a music producer, you'll be responsible for providing instruments, scheduling studio time and handling funding, costs and negotiations. You'll also work with and coach musicians. The end result of this process is the creation and publication of a quality musical work. A major aspect of your job as a music producer is creating quality sounds that match both the musicians' and producers' plans.

Additionally, as part of your daily routine, you'll assist audio engineers with the mixing and recording process. Engineers primarily deal with the technical aspects of the recording, such as broadcasting and converting sounds. If you're working with a smaller record label, you may perform the music producer's and audio engineer's tasks. Finally, music producers also have an entrepreneurship role, in making sure business is successful and within the budget.

What is My Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), music producers are placed in the category with music directors and composers. Job growth is expected to be about 3% from 2014 to 2024; this slower-than-average growth will most likely be due to a lack of funding for musical groups, orchestras and performing companies. The BLS also reported that in 2015, music directors and composers earned an average annual salary of $59,040, and about 21,540 of them were employed nationally.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

A love for and interest in music are key requirements for a music producer, although many schools offer programs that may help you focus and improve your artistic and business skills. Bachelor's programs in fine arts, music production and sound engineering are beneficial to aspiring music producers. These programs typically offer courses in musical history, business, ear training, copyright law, marketing and songwriting. You might also consider earning a master's degree in music business, music technology or music production.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some alternative careers that require at least a bachelor's degree include writers and authors, top executives and art directors. Writers and authors are responsible for producing written content for a variety of media, including blogs, advertisements and books. Top executives oversee the activities of an organization and help the organization meet its goals through planning and policy. Art directors make the creative decisions that compose the visual style of things like magazines, movie productions and product packaging.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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