To Become a Music Producer or Song Composer
Before you learn how to become a music producer or song composer I think it's important you know the difference between a music producer and songwriter. Many songwriters today also compose songs so it can be a confusing.
As a music producer / song composer, your job is to make the songwriter's vision a reality by taking their idea for a song (i.e. their lyric & melody) and turning it into an actual audio recording.
The audio recording can either be an unfinished demo to pitch to record companies or a finished track ready for radio or distribution.
A music producer is responsible for the arrangement of instruments that best expresses the songwriter's melody, as well as how each musician plays their part in the song. They're also responsible for guiding how singers sing the lyrics.
The producer / composer may even help a songwriter rewrite a few sections of the song if necessary so it can fit the recording even better.
Because a music producer / song composer supervises the entire studio recording process, if you want a music career in producing music it's important that you're skilled in every area of the song creation process: from writing lyrics and writing music, to sound engineering.
It really helps if you have some experience as a musician, or at least a basic (or natural) understanding of music theory.
Different Flavors of Music Production
Not every music production job is in the record industry. In this music career you're not limited to composing songs just for the radio. If you love epic scores and musical pieces then maybe you'd like to specialize as a film music composer (i.e. "movies") or a game music composer (i.e. "video games").
My favorite film score is from Star Wars Episode 1 and two of my favorite video game score are from God of War 3 (0:40-3:30) and Killzone 2. Take a quick listen. They're so powerful. So immersive. So awesome. These scores have always made me want to experience the media they're attached to, over and over again.
Hey you could be the next John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith!
Income from Hourly Music Production Jobs
There are a couple of ways you can make money producing music: being hired for an hourly rate by a recording studio or record label, or negotiating a fee per project as a self-employed professional or business. The income isn't necessarily based on years of experience but on talent and creativity.
- Average Yearly Income Hired: $50k/year
Income from Production Advances & Royalties
As a self-employed professional or music production company, a song composer can earn an upfront compensation (advance) for development plus a future publishing royalty.
Mind Your Business: Your music fans; your "audience" is NOT your customer! Your customers are the record labels & songwriters that needs your special talents to compose their songs.
- Production Advance/Fee (depending on your portfolio & recognition)
Mainstream = $10K to $500K Advanced
Indie = $100 to $5,000 Advanced
- Publishing Royalty (minus the cash advance)
Mainstream = up to 3% points from sales
Indie = up to 50% points from sales
If you forget what business you're in you will not build a successful music career as a self-employed professional or music production company.
Employed Music Producer Pros & Cons:
- Guaranteed income for hourly work
- Possible publishing royalties from recording or song composition
- You don't have to find recording artists or projects
- All studio costs most likely covered by company
Self-employed Music Producer Pros & Cons:
- Opportunity for larger royalty percentage from recording or song composition
- You could have trouble finding paying clients until you're established
- All additional development & publishing costs are your responsibility.
- All additional business development costs are your responsibility.
Does this music career interest you? Is there any more info you'd like to know about it? And if you found this page helpful, bookmark & share it!