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Recording Producer: Job Description and Requirements

A career as a recording producer requires little formal education, but requires significant experience in the music industry. Learn about the training, job duties, and other requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Recording producers need a good ear for musical talent and the ability to recognize potential artists. They also need to be able to manage financial and business decisions and oversee recording projects. Although a degree is not necessarily required, it can be an asset to prepare for this career.

Essential Information

Recording producers oversee the production and marketing of music. They help make financial and business decisions related to the music industry, as well as music decisions for specific recorded projects. By discovering and marketing musical talent, a recording producer plays a significant role in an aspiring musician's career. Due to the many demands of this job, recording producers do not work regular business hours and may work frenetic and long days accompanied by periods of inactivity. This career requires great familiarity with the music industry, and post-secondary education is recommended.

Required Education No degree required, but post-secondary education is recommended
Other Requirements Significant experience in the music industry
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)
Median Salary (2015)* $62,940 (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Requirements for a Recording Producer

Considerable experience is required before becoming a recording producer. Some recording producers start out as musicians. More commonly, their backgrounds come from other business or managerial positions, such as press agent, business manager or managing director.

There are no formal training programs required for recording producers. However, due to the experience and responsibility necessary for this position, a post-secondary degree is recommended. Many schools have bachelor's and master's degree programs in organization or arts management. Business and marketing experience is essential because a recording producer must know how to properly target an audience and market music efficiently.

In some cases, specialized academic certificates and degrees are available in music recording and production. These programs are designed to teach recording producers about the music business and recording industry. Courses typically cover standard technology used in music production, management techniques specific to the industry and may include practical experience or observation at an affiliated recording studio.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wages for agents and business managers of artists and performers vary widely based on the success or failure of projects by particular recording artists. The median annual income for these professionals was $62,940 in 2015. Jobs within the field in general are expected to increase by approximately 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).

Recording producers discover and market new artists and play a vital role in making business decisions for them. They tend to work irregular hours, and need to be familiar with the music industry, holding experience as former musicians or managerial positions. It is recommended that recording producers earn a postsecondary degree, and they can expect to see job opportunities in this field grow at a slower than average rate through 2024.

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