Difference Between Music Producer & Audio Engineer

Music producers and audio engineers often work together to create pleasing musical recordings. Their roles and skills, however, differ a bit. Find out more about how these musical careers relate to each other.

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Comparing Music Producers to Audio Engineers

Both music producers and audio engineers work with music artists to create the sound they are looking for. However, music producers are in charge of what sounds will be included in a song/composition, while an audio engineer runs the sound board and other technical aspects. Here, you can learn how these careers in music intersect.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Music Producer High school diploma $50,396 3% (for all music directors and composers)
Audio Engineer No degree required $44,850 8% (for all sound engineering technicians)

Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Music Producers vs. Audio Engineers

Music producers and audio engineers both work on the production team for songs and musical albums. However, music producers have more of a leading and managerial role, as they are involved with what sounds should come in at different points as well as the entire aural aesthetics of a recording. Music producers usually work in music studios alongside musicians and engineers. Audio engineers, on the other hand, operate on the more technical side of things. Their focus is on recording and compiling different sounds. Audio engineers, like music producers, usually work in sound studios.

Music Producer

Music producers are the creative front-runners of all musical recordings, whether single recording sessions or entire albums. They manage everything from the recording to the mixing and then the arrangement of songs. They are knowledgeable about the composition of music so they can give advice to artists about song selections and enhancements. Music producers may also perform tasks that audio engineers do in order to get the job done.

Job responsibilities of a music producer include:

  • Organizing materials
  • Choosing members of a recording team
  • Listening to artists and guiding them
  • Playing instruments or singing on tracks when necessary

Audio Engineer

Audio engineers work alongside musicians and music producers to develop sounds that will make a song or album into what the artist or producer is envisioning. While audio engineers often perform many of the same tasks of a music producer, audio engineers are trained to work on the technical aspect of a recording, such as mixing any tracks that have been recorded. They also hook up the recording devices connected to each instrument and microphone to capture the sounds and music. They ensure that no sound interference occurs on a recording and have a good knowledge of the ins and outs of the recording studio.

Job responsibilities of an audio engineer include:

  • Operating and preparing sound equipment
  • Ensuring that a recording environment is as conducive to recording as possible
  • Editing recordings using different software and tools
  • Assisting the music producer and artists

Related Careers

People who are interested in becoming audio engineers may look at becoming a movie producer since both involve managing creative personnel. Those who are thinking about becoming an audio engineer can consider what a lighting engineer does since both require working behind the scenes of a creative production to enhance certain effects.

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