Difference Between Musicologist & Producer

Music makes the world go around. There are a lot of careers available in music from education to recording to performance. This article covers and compares two very different fields of music employment.

Comparing Musicologists to Producers

Musicologists and producers both work in music but they do very different things. Musicologists are education professionals and experts in specific fields of music, such as Middle Eastern or Middle Ages music in England. Producers work with musicians, singers and writers to record, mix and produce singles, albums and digital music. Below is a comparison of these two musical careers and some additional information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* (2016) Job Growth* (2014-2024)
Musicologist Master's degree $68,650 (for postsecondary music, art & drama instructors) 11% (for postsecondary music, art & drama instructors)
Producer Bachelor's degree $60,820 (for all performing arts producers) 9%* (for all producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Musicologists vs. Producers

Musicologists do research and instruct postsecondary students on everything from music history to style, as well as musical instruments and performance. Musicologists are a lot like archaeologists in their study and research of the past - the composers, the era and the type. Producers are more concerned with the production of music in the here and now. Producers work closely with recording engineers, song writers, instrumentalists and singers. They aid in hiring, budgets and promotion and getting the music out into the airwaves.


Musicologists are academicians who study and teach music. They usually work at universities as professors in music teaching basic music classes as well as electives in their expertise. In addition, when movie studios need a consultant for a film using music from another country or a historical costume drama, they may hire musicologists who are experts in those specific fields. Musicologists have an interest in music's history and relationship to the time period. Who were the composers? How did their music affect the people and the power?

Job responsibilities of a musicologist include:

  • Run classroom discussions on music history and appreciation
  • Describe musical techniques
  • Maintain records, grade papers, record grades
  • Prepare lesson plans, homework assignments and syllabi
  • Research music in selected specializations and get published in academic journals
  • Provide consulting services for the film industry, theater productions or advertising firms


Producers very often are musicians themselves and generally need strong technical knowledge of music and recording equipment. They have an ear for talent and sound mixing and work with instrumentalists, singers, and sound engineers. Producers need to stay abreast of the latest trends, the sounds that sell and the new styles waiting to be the next big thing. Producers also need to know how to work with financial executives, promote their acts and advertise their products.

Job responsibilities of a producer include:

  • Help musicians and artists choose the best work for recording purposes
  • Run auditions for hiring musicians for recording or live performances
  • Oversee the entire production process
  • Keep everything on schedule and within budget
  • Promote completed work with advertising or live performances

Related Careers

Musicologists are students of the musical arts and may also find work in related fields at universities as professors in theater or dance. Producers can also consider careers as musicians. For example, many famous songwriters and musicians started in the producer ranks, like Bruno Mars, Pit Bull and Timbaland.

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