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Music Producer: Job Description & Career Info

Though music producers do not require formal education, a degree in the field can be beneficial. Learn about possible degrees, the job description and career information to see if this is the right choice for you.

A music producer oversees the production and development of songs, whether they are bringing together instrumental and vocal elements for sound mixing or ensuring that the people involved hold a singular vision for that song's success. While there's no formal education required for this career, it is strongly recommended individuals pursue a 4-year bachelor's degree in music production. This field is highly competitive with slow job growth, so this career will require you to master musical elements like sound mixing and digital production to stand out from the crowd.

Essential Information

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. While the job outlook in this field is slower-than-average, lucrative wages are available.

Required Education Variable; courses in audio production or music theory OR a degree such as the Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering or Music Business
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% (for music directors and composers)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $49,820 (for music directors and composers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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.

Education Information

There is no formal education requirement for music producers, but O*NET OnLine reported as of 2016 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 (BLS) expected jobs for music directors and composers to grow at the slower-than-average rate of 3% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Competition among prospective producers is expected to be strong; those with above-average talent should have the best job prospects. In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of music directors and composers, including producers, was $49,820.

A music producer is the individual who brings the together the disparate elements of a song and coordinates the vocal, instrumental and lyrical elements to create a singular vision for a piece of music. Though not required, it is highly suggested that people interested in this field pursue a 4-year bachelor's degree in music production to be competitive in this specific slow-growing job market. Those seeking success will find that they require both an in-depth knowledge of bringing together musical elements as well as coordinating people and scheduling.

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