Difference Between Music Producer & Music Director

Music directors and producers both work with musicians but have different responsibilities. Learn more about these two career options and how their jobs differ and relate.

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Comparing Music Director to Music Producer

Music directors and producers work with musicians to produce quality music. Directors typically lead musicians during performances, while producers help with the recording process usually done in a studio. Take a look at some of the similarities and differences of these musical professions, along with salary, education, and job growth information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Music Director Bachelor's or Master's Degree $50,110 (2016)* 3% (All Music Directors and Composers)
Music Producer Bachelor's Degree $50,309 (2017)** 3% (All Music Directors and Composers)

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

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Responsibilities of Music Director vs Music Producer

Music directors are responsible for leading a group of musicians for a performance and ensuring they are creating one coherent sound. They are also responsible for working with these musicians during rehearsals. Though music producers also work closely with musicians, they actually manage the creation and production of a musical piece. While music producers do not typically rehearse with musicians, they do ensure their recording sounds good and is what the artist is looking for. Both career options involve professionals listening to and assisting musical artists to help their music sound amazing.

Music Director

Music directors work with musicians and singers and lead them in performances. They must be disciplined and willing to learn more about new techniques and styles to use with their performers. Music directors are also responsible for leading musicians on stage so they must have excellent leadership skills to help them create a good sound for their audience. Directors do most of their work in concert halls and may also have to travel frequently to direct different performances. Some directors work in schools or for religious groups. Work schedules for this occupation vary as much of the rehearsal is done during the day, but performances are typically scheduled in the evenings or weekends.

Job responsibilities of a music director include:

  • Preparing for performances
  • Choosing music that will be preformed
  • Reviewing musical scores
  • Conducting auditions

Music Producer

Music producers manage the recording process for musicians or singers. They work with clients through the entire recording production to create a final product that sounds good. Music producers need a background in music to be helpful during recording sessions. They also need computer skills as a lot of their work is done with computers and recording equipment. Music producers must also have good communication skills to adequately work with musicians by sharing their plan of production and valuable information to help better the sound of the product.

Job responsibilities of a music producer include:

  • Managing sounds in the recording studio
  • Keeping the artist on schedule
  • Providing advice on songwriting and arrangement
  • Attending meetings

Related Careers

Music directors who fully immerse themselves in music may also enjoy being musicians themselves, rather than just directing musicians in performances. Music producers may find producing other media interesting; they may become movie producers and work with film artists rather than musicians.

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