Difference Between Composer & Producer

Composers create the soothing music we enjoy. Producers make sure the voices and instruments we hear are more than just weird sounds. This article compares these two careers and gives some vital information on both.

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Comparing Composers to Producers

Composers today are known for writing popular music for a specific genre or as original background music for television, film or special events. Producers oversee the project and are tasked with hiring other professionals like musicians or engineers to working in a studio for recording purposes. A comparison can be found below of the two careers along with some important information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Composer High School Diploma $50,110 (for all music directors and composers) 3% (for all music directors and composers)
Producer Bachelor's Degree $70,950 (for all producers and directors) 9% (for all producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Composers vs. Producers

Composers typically work directly on the creation of songs or musical compositions. They create pop songs and choral arrangements, symphonies and musicals. Producers, on the other hand, know the music industry from a different angle and work in the production aspect. This could involve being employed by various artists needing help in a recording studio or at a concert venue. They might work the music side of a film being in charge of the background music of a film's edited scenes. Composers write music, producers make sure it sounds good when it's heard.


Most composers begin creating songs and compositions when they are young. They may start with building lyrics and tunes and then adding instrumentals later. Although it is not required, many composers will attend music classes to learn some of the technical aspects of composition. Symphonic composers will have more formal education and have a knowledge of instruments and composition techniques.

Job responsibilities of a composer include:

  • Write original compositions like popular songs, orchestra arrangements and/or musicals
  • Arrange new compositions of old music
  • Collaborate with lyricists for new songs
  • Study musical types and styles
  • Work with musicians in live performances or recordings


Producers work on the production side of music. They may oversee the hiring of musicians and engineers for a recording session. They could be in charge of the musical stage production of a traveling Broadway show making sure musicians, dancers, and actors are all insync. Producers normally have a bachelor's degree and years of experience before they work as full-time producers. Many musicians are able to transition into becoming producers as they work in the field more.

Job responsibilities of a producer include:

  • Work with musicians, singers and engineers
  • Oversee performances, lighting, choreography, etc.
  • Supervise post production editing and engineering
  • Work within a time schedule and budget
  • Promote the finished project

Related Careers

Composers and producers may work in the field of music, but their duties differ within the project. Individuals interested in writing music and working with musicians should consider becoming music directors since they take charge as the music artistic leader. On the other side, a producer may move up into an executive position within a music studio making direction changes.

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