A music producer is a person who looks after and oversees the whole process of a music production, from the writing, recording, artist performance, marketing, promoting and a ton of other things. Nowadays, it just got even more complicated for a music producer, he does most of the work to see that a single or an album by an artist succeeds.
The music producer is responsible for managing a piece of music till it reaches the final product, which is why most times some major music skill sets are needed for the job. You will find yourself playing many different roles like the recording engineer, song writer, financial admin who takes care of monetary deals and most importantly the music coach, although this may depend on how big the project is, to produce ‘hits’ for example the project employs different people for different jobs, sometimes even a whole team to take care of just one job like recording and another does mixing. The job is a professional one, so to really produce music it takes grit and below are the steps one may take to become a music producer.
Get a Formal Education in Music
Loving music alone is not enough but you have to have an academic background in music to really make the cut. You can join a simple music school or music academy which could be found anywhere around your town, they basically teach music as a career. This is more important to a producer than it is to the artist himself, because the producer will have to know the technical terms for words used in the trade and will be introduced to many skill sets related to music.
Or you can study it as a university course, the University of Jos and about 12 other Nigerian universities offer music as a course of study that you can graduate with a degree.
Register With The Copyrights Organization
Original songs by musicians are called intellectual property, that is they are the kind of products that are manufactured from creativity just like writing, drawing, etc. One has to register with a copyrights organization like Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the membership is free. To register one only has to apply by submitting a passport photographs, fill and sign a COSON application form and present a valid I.D.
By so doing you are making sure no one steals from you by claiming a production of yours is theirs and you will be making it easier for the collection of ‘royalties’ for any piece of music you produced. Royalty is that commission you are paid when your music is used in movies, played in radio stations, in advertisements and so on.
Although the registration may not be necessary because by law in this country any intellectual property such as poem, writing, song, graphic design is owned by the person who created them. But the advantage of registering with a copyrights organisation is that you will just have to list the music you produced with them and they will act as middle men between you and third parties interested in using your music.
Start a Recording Studio
Although you could be a stand-alone producer where people will only call you up when they need your services, but a studio of yours gives you more control over the recording session, and the final product will be closer to what you envision. Besides it brings more money that way, it is the first places people go to find music producers.
Attending Social Events is a Must
Gaining recognition from music artists and others in the industry is paramount in this line of business. So active participation in music events is called for, be it competitions, parties and so on, where you will meet distributors, record label executives, DJ’s, sound engineers and so many others.
Meeting these people will introduce you into a whole new level in the industry, and it is a fact you will definitely need the connections to satisfy your clients, because in situations where you need to move forward in the production process like signing your client to a record label, calling them directly won’t do you much good if you haven’t met in person. So make sure you always have your business card ready before going out to socialize.
Responsibilities of a Music Producer
These are some of the few services expected from a music producer;
- Guiding the artist through his career.
- Overseeing recording sessions.
- Supervising mixing of the audio or doing it himself.
- Promoting the musician and music produced.
- Signing an artist to a record label.
- Monitoring financial budgets.
How a Music Producer Earns Money
Below are a set of common ways music producers earn cash.
1. They Accept Gigs
This works especially for those that have a studio, people come to them to record their tracks, and possibly promote it.
2. They Take a Commission
Sometimes they are paid upfront whether or not a song succeeded, but it is rare. Usually music producers take a commission from every sale/purchase after the music is published, so the more the sales the more money they earn.
3. They Pick Out Artists
The well experienced music producer, and by that I mean one with the right connections, has been in the business for a long time and has a commendable reputation, they scout for artists they saw performing on TV, or heard them on radio, or saw them on competitions (e.g. The Voice) and if they think they found someone new, with a fresh talent, that suits their taste and kind of music, they recruit them and project their careers to the sky, and then earn from commission.
4. Average Salary Earned
According to a worldwide statistics they earn about N10,000 per hour and some over N9 million Naira monthly, widely depends on expertise and recognition.
There is no one way as to how a person may comprehensively become a music producer, but only guidelines, one could start from any point. And the job unlike corporate office jobs it needs true passion for the job to work.