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  • The School EYEZ Team

The Salary of a Music Producer

What does it take to become a music producer? And, what is the salary of music producer? Do music producers get "salaries" at all? These are common questions people have when considering a career as a music producer.

Before we discuss compensation and the salary of a music producer, it is important to get a clearer understanding of the work that music producers do. Music producers are essentially in charge of music writing, music organizing, and or cohesive arranging of music.  You can think of music producers as the "brains" behind the decision-making processes that come with producing great music.  They decide everything about a song and its elements, and these are big decisions! Artists' careers can hinge on these decisions, let alone the amount of money on the line not only to be potentially earned, but also the funds it requires to get a song or album produced in the first place.  

These important responsibilities rest on the shoulders of a music producer to figure out when the song is played, how the song is played, and which songs are played.  A music producer's top responsibility is to get people, individuals, and organizations to fall in love with an artist's music to increase the popularity and desire for their songs.  With all this in mind, it's no wonder that music producers should have as much industry knowledge and experience as possible.

There are other factors to consider about the profession before getting into the specifics of

So much goes in to becoming a successful music producer.

the salary of a music producer. One question to consider is, how are music producers typically hired? Music producers are often hired based upon genre styles.  The music genre is the type of music in which the producer relates.  Many songwriters and artists look to hire music producers who have experience with their specific types of music.  Hiring a music producer with the same genre as an artist's or songwriter's familiarity will not guarantee a song's or album's success. However, having genre similarity will increase the chances of such successful outcomes.  That is why it is important to discover your own personal musical styles and tastes early. The more experience that a music producer has in a variety of genres, the more opportunities he or she will have to work with clients to produce music.

It is important to remember that a music producer is the person who coordinates with the studio owner for time to work and the sound engineer to create the appropriate sounds for a song to flourish! Music producers also work with vocals producers, mixing experts, and the beat experts (unless they are one and the same) to create the ultimate version of a song.

Now, onto compensation...

Have you ever wondered how Jay-Z became so successful?  Or how Taylor Swift became so famous?  Besides their individual talents, they made the decision to hire successful music producers. For instance, with Jay-Z's song "Dead Presidents,"  he hired hip hop legend, Ski Beatz, to produce his song.  This song became very famous, and in fact, several artists incorporated a variety of versions of "Dead Presidents", including some original lyrics, within their works.  This is popular among the artist community because it promotes the music producer as well as the original singer or rapper especially if royalties are attached to the song. Royalties ensure that the artists responsible for creating a song get compensated every time that song is performed.  A live performance can include public airing of a recorded version included on the TV, radio, digitally, for example.   Thus, a songwriter will receive payment every time that song is aired.  

Typically, music producers get paid either by salary or based on a percentage of how much compensation a song or album earns.  When music producers are paid by salary, they usually are hired by a studio.  However, this is not always the case.  When musicians or record labels pay for music production services, music producers pay a percentage of the agreed upon split.  Some music producers will make 5% and others may make more.  The bonus lies when the artist is also the music producer.  Of course, that is a win-win situation; imagine getting paid for both positions when a song or album is a success!

Along with the amount of money music producers can make, the amount of their interaction with the music and the artists is typically mirrored.  This means that if a music producer is highly interactive with the music and has a hands-on approach, the music producer can expect to earn more.  However, there needs to be an understanding between the music producer and the artist of these expectations.

When thinking about music production as a career, people often imagine music producers as spending all day in a studio surrounded by various people working on sound equipment. While this is sometimes the case, it is important not to confuse the roles of music producer and beat maker. A music producer and a beat maker are not one in the same. However, they can be the same person, which again, increases the music producer's impact on the music as well as increasing the amount of profit he or she will receive.  

Remember, the music producer is the "brain" in the decision-making process, especially if he or she has the total maximum control of the song.  In contrast, the beat maker is the person who creates the actual beats. The awesome thing about technological advancements is that, in today's world, a beat maker typically technologically makes beats.  When a beat maker makes beats, he or she person is creating a variety of sounds with computer software, just like you will be in this course.  With these technological advancements, a beat maker can also be a music producer.  

Hopefully, you have a slightly stronger understanding of not only the salary of a music producer, but also the differences between a music producer and a beat maker. We hope you choose to join The Dojo with Ski Beatz to learn more!

Thanks for reading!

The School EYEZ Team