Music producers can add a huge amount of creative energy to a project, and for decades, well-known music producers have earned themselves new jobs simply by the strength of their reputation.
From mic placement to arrangement to mixing and mastering, the specific tasks a music producer takes on depend heavily on the nature of the project, the creative preferences of the artist, and the strengths of the producer.
We won’t be able to walk you through the technical requirements of music production, but if you have the technical side nailed down, we can discuss what it takes to become a professional producer.
As you’ll soon find out, it takes a lot more than just talent and passion to start earning as a producer. We’re here to talk about how to step out and start your career as a music producer by taking on projects, promoting yourself, and making vital connections in the music industry.
Establish an online presence
For professionals in many different fields, the new standard for establishing credibility and authenticity is a professional online presence.
Even doctors, lawyers, and C-suite business executives understand that how they appear to potential customers and clients online could have a major impact on the strength of their businesses and even on the trajectory of their careers.
Thankfully, music producers at any level can showcase their talents easily online, as well as sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos and giving fans and future clients alike a way to reach out.
In this section, we’ll look at different online platforms where you can share different types of content that can increase your legitimacy as a producer and even attract new business.
First up, you’ll need to have some finished music that you can publish to any number of online music streaming services.
While it’s true that many music producers lend their talents to a project that will ultimately have another artist’s name on it, it’s also common for producers to release their own albums, especially when they’re working in the hip-hop/beat tape space.
Go ahead and make some instrumental tracks or, if you’re feeling up to it, you can even add your own vocals to the record.
If you want to work in a specific genre, then this music should prove that you have what it takes to do just that.
On the other hand, if you’d like to show off your versatility, then you can create tracks in many different genres.
No matter what you decide to do here, just make sure that every single track is expertly mixed and mastered so that listeners and other artists will be impressed by your technical abilities.
For music producers, the music itself is their portfolio. It needs to be airtight.
Once you have your music ready, you can use one of the many online music distribution services available today to publish your music to all the streaming platforms you can think of, as long as you’re willing to pay them upfront.
Social media is definitely one of the easiest ways to promote yourself these days, even strictly as a professional.
Plenty of contemporary artists and producers put real effort into their social media profiles and social media content.
As a producer, you could do mini-tutorials on your social media pages, or you could even just share tiny snippets of what you’re currently working on.
This is a surefire way to get some attention from other working musicians, and, best of all, if you can get the attention of up-and-coming artists who need the services of a talented music producer, your social media could even lead to jobs in the future.
Also, try to be active on social media in terms of following other profiles and liking posts from other people in the music field.
Having online press that covers your past work and your talents as a music producer can be a huge help for establishing your legitimacy.
One of the easiest ways to secure press coverage for yourself is to go through a public relations agency that specializes in facilitating press that will be beneficial to you and your career.
But it’s also possible to contact press outlets directly to see whether they’d be willing to set up an interview or some other form of coverage.
Once you’re in contact with a journalist, you’ll have the chance to talk about what makes your work different and what you’re planning to work on next.
Network with other music professionals
Networking is important in a lot of different professional fields, but the music industry is naturally very interconnected.
Even just recording a new album can require the help of many professionals outside of the performers themselves.
Not only that, but creatives in the music industry tend to enjoy working with people who have helped create something special for them in the past.
It really does matter who you know, and if you’re able to make even just casual contacts with working artists and studio professionals, these contacts could really pay off in both the short-term and the long-term.
When you are working on a project, remember that your role is not to control every single creative decision being made. As a producer, you’re there to execute someone else’s vision and add some of your own ideas when you feel they’re relevant.
Apprentice with a recording studio
Another great way to get a foot in the door of the music industry is to apprentice with a professional recording studio.
Whether it’s an internship or a paid role as a studio tech of some kind, spending time around professionals and recording artists in this setting could be extremely helpful to your career.
Even if you don’t become close friends with your coworkers, you’ll still get a valuable opportunity to see how all the technical aspects of the recording process are handled and what some of the most common mistakes tend to be.
Getting a sense for a professional workflow can greatly inform your own future projects, and if you manage to do some networking while you’re there, all the better.