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How to become a music producer

Do you love music or like mixing your own beats? If so, then a career in music production could be the chance for you to unleash your creativity and share your talents with the world.

If you fancy yourself as the next Timberland, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to become a music producer, and the skills you’ll need to succeed in this competitive industry.

'If you love music, then a career in music production could be the chance to unleash your creativity'

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Image of violinists playing music
A music producer brings different components of music together

What is a music producer?

If you’re the musical type, then you may have heard of the term “music producer” before. But what is it exactly? Well, a music producer is basically someone who brings different components of music together. This could be in a studio setting, working with writers, developing beats and mixing tracks to form the final song or album, or as a live events producer working with live concerts and music festivals, which involves producing the show by working with technical staff and performers.

What does a music producer actually do?

Whichever side of production you work on, being a music producer is a very creative job. However, it is also a job that comes with quite a lot of responsibility, as you are responsible for bringing all of the different elements of a project together. Working in a studio setting, you would be responsible for choosing everything about a project from start to finish, including instruments used and where the song is recorded. Music producers are also responsible for getting the best performance out of the artists. 

Specific duties of a music producer may vary depending on the label or organisation you are working for, but general responsibilities can include things like:

  • Listening to demos and advising on songs
  • Working with artists/labels to create the sound they are looking for
  • Working with budgets and schedules
  • Operating technical equipment like mixing desks

What qualifications do I need to become a music producer?

You don’t technically need a degree to become a music producer - some producers are actually self-taught, but be aware that this is something that doesn’t happen overnight, and will take a lot of dedication. If you don't have any experience and want to study music production at university, many unis do offer specific music production courses. To find out which universities offer this, have a look at the UCAS website. Subjects like music, sound engineering and multimedia are also useful too.

Image of a crowd at a music festival
Try volunteering at a music festival if you want to work in events

One thing to be aware of though, is that competition in this industry is fierce. Our advice would be to get as much work experience as you can! A good starting point can be to get into a studio and see what different equipment there is and how everything works. Some community spaces and charities offer studio rental to young people at affordable rates, so have a quick Google search to see what is available in your area. If you’re more interested in the live events side of things, try volunteering at a music festival to get a feel for what goes into the show behind the scenes.

As you become more experienced, make sure to start building a portfolio of your work, so that you can show off your skills and your “sound”. Showcasing your work on social media can also be a great way to get your work out there and gain more exposure.

What skills do I need?

As you will have to work with lots of different people, such as artists, labels and technical staff, good communication skills are really important in this job. Some of the other skills you will need to have in this career include:

  • Creativity and the ability to come up with new ideas
  • Patience and flexibility
  • Leadership and negotiation skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Collaboration skills

If you want to find out more about careers in music, check out these other careers in the music industry you could pursue!