Music producers use their extensive musical and technical studio experience to oversee all aspects of a recording session, including assisting with mixing, mastering, and recording. This occupation is ideal for those with a keen ear who love keeping up with the latest songs and recording artists. Although educational requirements vary, a bachelor's degree in music production is the most common credential for aspiring music producers. These programs sometimes include an internship that provides experience overseeing the entire production process.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree most common|
|Degree Field(s)||Music production or music|
|Experience||Recording engineer experience valuable|
|Key Skills||Musical aptitude; strong listening and interpersonal skills; familiarity with audio equipment and software|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in music production|
|Projected Job Growth||5% for all music directors and composers from 2012-2022*|
|Median Salary (October 2014)||$48,858 annually**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Music Producer Job Summary
Music producers should be able to bring out the best in recording artists through their knowledge of vocal and instrumental arrangements. Some producers hire musicians and singers to perform selected songs; other producers are hired by bands or solo artists to oversee recording sessions. Music producers may also confer with directors of movies or television programs in order to determine the placement of a song.
Many producers are experienced recording engineers, which allows them to bring additional technical capabilities to a project. They can assist audio engineers in the mixing, mastering, and recording process. Some producers may have expertise in a particular style of music, such as rock or classical; others may work for a recording studio producing the music of artists that are under contract.
Although there's no standard level of education needed to become a music producer, many colleges offer music production programs - traditionally at the bachelor's degree level. These four-year programs cover a broad range of courses to expose students to recording arts technology and the music business as a whole.
Sample course topics include:
- Recording industry law and ethics
- Sound editing techniques
- Digital audio software
- Electronic music
Students may need to either produce a full-length recording or participate in an internship in order to graduate. Baccalaureate programs may result in a Bachelor of Science in Music Production or a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in production.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of music directors and composers, a group that includes music producers, was expected to grow five percent during the 2012-2022 period. The BLS further noted that competition for full-time jobs in this field will be strong. Cities that feature a large concentration of recording studios, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville, offer better job prospects for all musicians.