How to Find and Work with a Professional Music Producer
At some point along your musical journey, you may find yourself with a collection of songs and need to enlist the help of a producer to take them from simple demos to beautifully recorded masterpieces. But how do you go about finding the right producer? And what is their role in the recording process?
This is a guest post by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and top rated AirGigs pro Katie Marie
What Does a Producer Do?
Producers perform a variety of functions, which include:
• Shaping the overall sound / vibe of each song so it can reach its full potential
• Choosing a suitable studio space (typically producers have spaces they prefer to work out of)
• Selecting the right session musicians to play on each track
• Helping with track selection
• Scheduling and Budget
• Guiding the artist / songwriter every step of the way
Things to Consider
There are a few things to take into consideration when finding the right producer to work with.
Everyone has a different approach in the studio and there is no right or wrong. I’m more of a laid-back sort and people appreciate my calm and patient disposition, but others may prefer a more assertive producer. When you are spending your own hard-earned money and many hours with the same person throughout the process, you want to find out as best you can if you feel comfortable with their style of producing.
There are a few producers who work in multiple genres, but overall, most specialize in a specific genre.
Experienced and well-established producers aren’t cheap and generally speaking you do get what you pay for. If you have a limited budget and simply can’t afford to hire an expensive producer, please believe me when I tell you that I completely understand. I’ve been there. Do the best you can with what you have but keep a goal in mind for the future. Aim high no matter what your situation is. Well produced songs can literally change you career for the better and equally, badly recorded songs can have the opposite effect.
How to Find a Producer
Airgigs has a host of talented and highly qualified music producers who have all their info and demo reels available for you to access from their profiles.
Ask musicians and songwriters in your immediate circle if they have anyone they can recommend. Contact recording studios as they often have producers and engineers who regularly use their space and are happy to share that info with potential clients. If there’s a track you love the song of, look up who the producer is. I had this happen to me a couple of years ago, I heard a track online and absolutely loved the overall production. I looked up the producer and we ended up working together on a couple of projects. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Producers and Engineers
Sometimes producers also function as engineers. I do both, but in certain situations (such as me playing drums for a song that is being tracked live), I need to hire someone to help me with engineering. Producers these days will often mix songs too. I offer mixing services but also have a list of people I utilize because I like their style of mixing and think it would be a good match for the artist I am working with.
Questions to ask
Once you ask for rates a producer will send over a quote for your project. You want to make sure you completely understand what is included in their price.
Questions you want to ask might include:
• Does this include mixing?
• Does your quote include studio time?
• Does your rate cover engineering costs?
• Does this include the rates of session musicians who will be present during the recording
• How long do you anticipate the whole process to take?
• Will this include mastering?
You should feel completely supported by your producer every step of the way. They will guide you through the whole process and run the recording session so that you can focus on your playing and enjoy the overall experience. Even though your producer is doing a lot of work, you should always feel as though you have a voice, and your producer should never be dismissive of your ideas. You want to feel as though you are working together towards a common goal. It can take time to find a good match, but when you do, great producers are worth every penny.