Money and Music ( Part 2 )

We talked about making money by performing music in part 1 of Money and Music. This time we are going to discuss another line of music business, which is what many would consider as the behind the scene type of job, music production. From wikipedia,

“a music producer has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes”

Obviously, music producers nowadays have a very large work scope. But in laymen terms, we can pretty much sum up everything as the production of a recorded song.

As a music producer, you will be spending most of your time in your recording studio. With today’s technology, most of the songs you hear on the radio can actually be done without involving any real recording of instruments being played. Which means, as a music producer in today’s world, you will be spending many hours in front of a pc or laptop.
Anyway, like always, video speaks better than words, here’s a taste of what you would be doing.


Terrence seems to be having lots of fun in his music production. But I can assure you, unless you are one crazy dude, its very hard to keep yourself so entertained when you are given tonnes of uninteresting songs to finish before an impossible deadline, and on top of that, you are having writers block. I’ve known many music producer friends who’s literally sleeping in their studio everynight, rushing work.

You can see from the video, how Terrence created the drum loops completely with just a few clicks on his mouse. Many instruments nowadays can be imitated quite seamlessly with the help of softwares. Drums, piano and strings are among the easiest sounds to reproduce, however some instruments which involves a lot of human element in their playing would still need a live recording session to lay down that particular track nicely, for example a guitar or saxophone solo, and of course the vocals..

Another breed of music producers involves recording live playing of sessionists. The budget for such a production is undoubtedly much much higher than the previous. The recording gadgets and studio setup requires no small amount of money.
Dave Grusin and Quincy Jones are among the reputable producers in this field. Here’s a clip of Dave in a live recording session.     


Depending on which part of the globe you are in, there’s basically not many studios with the budget and facility to do this kind of recording. So unless you are playing with big bucks, you can stop dreaming about it..:)

Income Stability:5
With some hardwork and a good reputation, you might be on your way to earning a steady income. Recording work is unlike performing, where a change of new face every once a while is important, which is why performing musicians can only normally get a contract for several months, whereas repeated sales in music production is a common thing. That is why I personally rate the income stability of this line to be slightly higher.
However, do keep in mind that with the ease of making music in home studios, many music enthusiasts has turned to themselves in producing their own low budget music instead of hiring professionals. This is not an encouraging trend.

Work Enjoyment:5
Spending hours in your workstation may not be as fun as performing live music. But it would still be fun sometimes when the music work out just the way you want it to, and the joy of listening to your finished work is certainly worth the effort.

Strong foundation in music theory may not be a prerequisite, but it would certainly be a plus. But I’ve seen many music producers making some nice music without knowing even how to read scores, and I’ve also seen some music producers who plays guitar but able to lay out a keyboard solo sounding better than a sessionist.
However, knowledge in your gadgets and softwares is very important to produce quality works.

Music Producers nowadays have a very wide work scope, one article is seldom enough to cover every aspect of it. A whole book could be written on the mixing and mastering process, or the business aspect of music production alone. But I hope I gave you a good idea, stay tune for part 3…:)

Related Posts:

Money and Music (Part 1)

Mixing Vocal Track: Step by Step Guide


  • KCLau

    Reply Reply August 7, 2007

    This is something I do most nowadays. I got the most satisfaction when listening to the complete work.

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