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Difference Between Writer and Producer in Music

Writers and producers work together to make music, but their responsibilities and the timing when they join the process are very different. Read more to compare these two musical careers.

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Difference Between Writer and Producer in Music

Writers and producers both work to make music. Writers begin the process by composing the pieces. Producers complete the music by presenting a performance of the finished product. Find out more about their responsibilities below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Writer No formal education required $50,110 (for music directors and composers; 2016)* 6% (for music directors and composers)
Producer No formal education required $50,532 (2017)** 6% (for music directors and composers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

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Responsibilities of Writers vs. Producers

Writers begin the process of making a song by creating the music. The writer arranges musical notes or chords into a song or writes lyrics to a melody. The producer receives the song from the writer and makes it a finished product. The producer may decide how the music will be played and who will perform the piece.

Writer

Some writers create both music and lyrics to compose songs. There are others that specialize in either writing music or the words. Many songs are composed by a team of writers. A writing team can have members that specialize in either music or lyrics, or the members may work on both aspects of the song together. Although formal education isn't required, related work experience is a plus. Many writers use self-promotion techniques, such as social media and personal websites, which feature video/audio samples of their works.

Job responsibilities of a writer include:

  • Creating song structures, melodies, and harmonies
  • Studying various types of music for ideas
  • Translating sound into musical notation on paper or digitally
  • Producing demo recordings of songs

Producer

Producers start by receiving the song presented by the songwriter or songwriting team. He or she is responsible for how the piece will sound when it is complete. Producers direct the musicians and singers as they perform the song. They also decide which musical instruments will be used and how the vocals will be performed. Even though a formal education isn't required, potential employers may often seek those with extensive experience in the music industry.

Job responsibilities of a producer include:

  • Mastering digital audio systems
  • Overdubbing, mixing, and editing music
  • Evaluating musical concepts of different genres
  • Making the music attractive to publishers

Related Careers

If you are interested in a job writing music, you also might want to find out about a career performing as a musician. Those who are interested in becoming a producer might also want to explore the work of a music editor who decides how music correlates to certain parts of a film.

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