Difference Between Producer and Executive Producer in Music

Music producers and executive music producers differ in their focuses because the former are interested in supporting creative development, while the latter bring in the finances to support a project.

Comparing Music Producers to Executive Music Producers

Music Producers and executive music producers have slightly different roles behind the scenes of an album or stage production. Readers will learn about the differences in their salaries, career outlooks, and job roles.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Music Producers Bachelor's Degree $49,867 6% (Music Directors and Composers)
Executive Music Producers Bachelor's Degree $92,674 (Executive Producer) 12% (Producers and Directors)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Music Producers vs. Executive Music Producers

In music, both producers and executive producers aim to develop music that will sell and promote the talent of their artists. Producers focus more on the development of music, spending time with the musicians to refine their sound. Executive music producers, however, find the funding for the project and build the financial and talent acquisition procedures of the recording company or production. Of course, both may also work on the music for a film, supporting the musical cohesion of an entire movie.

Music Producers

During recording sessions or rehearsals, artists are led by the sound expertise of music producers. These professionals may also work with orchestras and bands for stage productions. One of their main tasks is to arrange original musical compositions and musical scores, including harmonies and tones, by using their knowledge of music theory. They also assist artists with their vocal and instrumental arrangements to make them competitive within their genre. This means balancing melody and gauging the volume of the performers. Choosing the sound studio and sound engineer to make an album is often a part of their duties, as well.

Job responsibilities of a music producer include:

  • Auditioning artists to decide whether or not to work with them or give them a part in a stage production
  • Utilizing synthesizers and computers to arrange music
  • Setting up audio equipment
  • Dealing with artist and studio contracts

Executive Music Producers

These professionals are hired by recording companies or work independently for their own business, and part of their job is to find or provide the financial backing for a musical project. Overall, they help design a content strategy for the company, determining how and where to find new talent. They also study music trends and try to bring in talent that can positively influence these trends and make a lasting impact on the music industry. For artists, executive producers schedule recording time for them to work in a studio and develop an album. They also help market new songs and records and take commission from sales.

Job responsibilities of an executive music producer include:

  • Supervising the production of music videos
  • Managing a production project budget
  • Keeping the production of an album on track
  • Helping artists build their brand and expand their product lines to include clothing and other goods

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming a music producer, you could also enjoy a future as a sound engineer, as both work to create music. If you think a career as an executive music producer is for you, consider a position as a film producer, as both deal with the financial aspect of creating entertainment.

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