Music Producer Job Description

Music Producers develop the broadcasting content of radio or television music shows. They coordinate with the DJs, other on-air talents and the engineering team to come up with show concepts, book guest musicians and interviews and line-up music, present the show and get audience feedback.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong job growth for all Producers and Directors, including Music Producers. The number of jobs in this field are expected to grow by 9 percent through 2024.

 

Music Producer Duties and Responsibilities 

To accomplish their primary goal of developing the content and guiding the production of radio or television music shows, Music Producers perform many tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Music Producer duties and responsibilities.

Develop Content

The Music Producer is responsible for creating original content for each show. They contribute to the selection of on-air guests, formulate topics of discussion, and make decisions on the structure of shows. They do research on recording locations or music rights. They may also write creative scripts and other show materials for the on-air hosts.

Execute Production

Music Producers guide the editorial direction of the show as it is recorded. They help out with transporting gear and operating cameras and microphones. They regulate volume level and sound quality during performances, and guide the show along according to their creative vision.

Edit Post-Production

The Music Producer is involved in the post-production editing of the show, reviewing the drafts and making or requesting changes as necessary. They ensure that the show is ready for distribution by a deadline.

Review Ratings

The Music Producer uses audience feedback to influence the direction of the show. They review ratings, and dissect the results and competitive positioning to determine points of success and look for areas for improvement.

 

Music Producer Skills

Creative thinkers but also well-organized, successful Music Producers are excellent leaders and communicators. They thrive under pressure and enjoy working in an exciting field from behind the scenes. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Music Producer candidates with the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Music Producers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Music Producer, focus on the following.

  • Ability to multi-task and manage multiple projects under tight deadlines
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Possess knowledge of the music creation and acquisition business, including music copyright and licensing
  • Great attention to detail
  • Creative writing and storytelling ability
  • Strong research abilities and problem solving skills
  • Audio and image editing experience

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Music Producer toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Proficiency shooting video and recording audio
  • Experience producing live recordings & audience-driven events
  • Knowledge of the public media industry
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule

 

Music Producer Q & A

Considering a career as a Music Producer? While it’s a behind-the-scenes gig, Music Producers, through working with artists to create music of all genres, can have a huge impact on a personal level, as well as a cultural one. And that’s gratifying, says Music Producer June Archer.

“Music is the soundtrack to our lives,” he says, “and having the opportunity to create that soundtrack for someone is such an amazing feeling.”

Being a Music Producer is a hybrid avocation that combines music, business and entrepreneurial skills. And, rewarding as it is, it can be a tough, uncertain profession, says Mella Barnes of Brain Stamp Music Services.

We talked to Archer, Barnes and longtime Music Producer Anthony Newett of Newett Music Studios to learn more about what being a music producer is all about. Here’s what they told us:

What’s the most rewarding part about being a Music Producer?

Newett: For me, it’s the gratification I get from taking a piece of music from early, rough stages to a finished, radio-ready track. Sometimes it feels like “Extreme Home Makeover” of the music world. It’s great to see the look on their faces when they hear the finished product.

Barnes: I am in the business of taking fledgling ideas and seeing them through to completion. Seeing and hearing the final product and knowing the client is happy is an amazing experience.

What is the biggest challenge faced by Music Producers?

Archer: One of the challenges of this profession is staying relevant enough that artists and musicians want to work with you, but, even more importantly, that record labels trust you to create music for their artists that will sell.

Newett: By far, my biggest challenge is in trying to anticipate what the listener will want to hear. By the time you try and capture the feel of what’s current and hot, it’s already out of style. That’s why it’s better to create something new and different than to emulate what people are currently into. Often, you miss the mark and people are ready for something new.

What skills do you use every day?

Archer: It is very important to use your people-person skills in this industry. When you are able to provide an environment that is encouraging to create beautiful music, you win.

Barnes: Of course, the music skills – but there are a lot of business and entrepreneurial skills that I use on a daily basis. Being a producer is often a freelance job, and we take gigs as we come. We have to have a lot of tenacity and business skill in order to maintain a functioning, full-time career.

Who succeeds in this job?

Archer: The person who is passionate about making good, groundbreaking and heartfelt music not only excels in this job; they succeed and are rewarded for it either by getting paid or accolades such as awards.

Barnes: The type of person that excels at this job absolutely must be tough and able to take criticism. All day long, I work with people who may or may not like what I’ve done for them, and I’ve got to be able to take criticism – sometimes constructive, sometimes not.

How should someone prepare for a career as a Music Producer?

Barnes: In order to prepare for a Music Producer career, my number one advice would be to listen intently to all music genres. You’ve got to be able to know what a client is talking about, regardless of the type of music they create. I would also suggest some business training or classes, as those can always help. You don’t have to know a lot of music technology, but it certainly helps.

Newett: When listening to a piece of commercially produced music, an aspiring Music Producer should dissect what they hear and determine what steps were taken to render the result. When I was very young, I would listen to artists on the radio and take notice of things the average person wouldn’t think about. You have to ask yourself how and why. If things like this don’t go through your mind when listening, then this job isn’t for you.

Are there any misconceptions people have about being a Music Producer?

Archer: The most common misconception is that you will automatically make money. There are levels to getting your records recorded, placed and sold. The process can be frustrating and you have to learn the business of music to know what you deserve to get paid and what you are owed when it comes to publishing, et cetera.

Barnes: I think a lot of people view being a music producer as a glamorous job, and this is usually not the case. We aren’t the ones who arrive in a limo and live in multi-million dollar homes. It’s a lot of hard work, and it doesn’t come steadily. We do this because we love it, and because we love helping people. It’s a passion project and we don’t do it for the money.

 

Music Producer Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Music Producer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

Radio Etc. – This blog from an award winning radio producer provides lots of insights into a career in radio.

Transom – A platform to showcase your own work or sign up for workshops to improve your skills.

Public Radio Exchange – A non-profit service that allows you to showcase what you have produced and wee what other Music Producers are creating.

Industry Groups

Association of Music Producers – Find educational resources, guidelines, and ways to connect with other Music Producers.

Association of Independents in Radio – An alliance of independent producers and other radio professionals, plus job opportunities and a talent directory.

Music Producer Books

The Radio Producer’s Handbook – A handy guide by professional Music Producers on how to create an excellent radio show.

How to Make Great Radio: Techniques and Tips for Today’s Broadcasters and Producers – Valuable insights into creating broadcasting success as a Music Producer.

Music Editing for Film and Television: The Art and the Process – This box covers the practical skills needed to edit music for film, television and radio, important skills for a Music Producer to have.

 

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