10 Tips to Help You Succeed as a Music Producer
Whether you are just starting out as a music producer or have been working for years, there are always strategies and tips you can follow to better yourself. This is a healthy approach you can take in all facets of life.
If you want to become the best music producer that you can be, you always have to be evolving and improving. Just think in the last twenty years how much music has change. If you aren't flexible as a music producer, you'll never be able to grow.
Even if you are an established music producer, are you wondering how you can improve your production skills?
We have the tips and tidbits of knowledge for you. If you want to improve your craft and become a better music producer, check out our tips below.
What are 10 Ways to Become a Better Music Producer?
- Connect with the Musicians
- Be Familiar with the Process
- Know Your Space
- Listen to the Mistakes You Make
- Receive Feedback
- Work with What You Have
- Become Your Own Best Marketer
- Don't Get Paralysis by Analysis
- Know Your "Why"
- Be Professional
What Makes a Great Music Producer?
1. Connect with the Musicians
Developing a relationship with the musicians you are working with is imperative to your project.
Getting artists, singers, and musicians so show their emotions through their music is something that you need them to accomplish and it will only happen if they feel comfortable around you as a producer.
As you guide these musicians, your goal is to make meaningful music and it is your job as the producer to get that emotion out of them and into the song. You are essentially the manager of the project, so keeping everyone on the same page and working optimally is your task.
A way to assist in this tip is by spending time with the musicians outside of the studio. If you are cramped on time this may be a bit difficult, but even going out for lunch can offer some down time to connect with the musicians on a personal level.
Ultimately, you should want to enjoy working with these musicians in the studio, so spending time with them outside of work will help grow the comfortability they have with you when you do get in the studio.
2. Be Familiar with the Process
Like we mentioned before, there are many moving parts that accompany being a music producer, so being familiar with the whole process will highly benefit you.
If you are recording live instruments, be sure all of the equipment is good to go before the musicians arrive. During the session, you will also be suggesting how to make songs better. You will be guiding the music in the best direction possible based on yours and the musician's vision and even working with the mixing/mastering engineer in the final stages of the project.
Don’t forget; you are producing the project. You have a major say in the direction of all aspects of the song, which is very different from a beatmaker. Take the project on with a firm grasp and lead it exactly where you and the musicians want it to be.
3. Know Your Space
Whether you are taking a DIY approach and have a set-up in your office with curtains and soundproof pads on your walls or an elaborate studio, it is integral to understand your work environment.
Know the dynamics of the room. Know where all your equipment is. Know how sound interacts with your room.
Bonus Tip: Keep the distractions to a minimum in your studio. It should be a creative and fun space, but it is also technically your workspace. Eliminate the internet, social media, and cell phone temptation.
4. Listen to the Mistakes you Make
There are two ways to present this.
1. In music production, there are almost always happy accidents. Volume adjustments, overlaying, unique sounds, technical glitches, all count as potential mistakes, but just because you didn't intend for it to happen doesn't mean it isn't improving the track.
2. The second situation is a mistake that you at one-point thought was a job well done, and now you're very sure that it is not. Listening to this type of mistake will help you grow. What did you think then? What have you learned? What would you change now? How can you apply this information moving forward?
Listening in general, is a key component to becoming a successful music producer.
5. Receive Feedback
One of the best ways to grow in any profession is by receiving feedback. But there is a catch; it must be honest feedback.
If you can get honest feedback and constructive criticism from someone who also understands music production, that is great and incredibly valuable.
However, getting honest feedback from someone who may not completely understand the process is better than a music producer who sugarcoats or doesn't want to be too harsh.
6. Work with What You Have
Set goals and invest money in your studio, but don't let not having the best equipment stop you from music production.
There will always be someone who has access to more exceptional and expensive equipment than you, so the sooner you can disassociate higher grade equipment with naturally superior talent, the better off you are.
Now, is it a healthy goal to put money aside, invest in your career, and eventually improve your equipment? Of course.
But for the time being, don't let your current set up, space, and equipment stop you.
7. Become Your Own Best Marketer
Here is a fact that is especially true when you are first starting out: No one cares more about your career/project as a music producer than you.
You can tell your friends, release a track you produced out on social media, try to get the musicians to promote, and create the necessary social platform pages, but you can't assume that people will seek you out just because you know that you're talented.
Even a fun and creative craft like music production should be conducted like a business.
Take a little bit of time to discover new marketing tactics.
Some options include, traditional marketing like stickers and flyers, creating a website and linking social media accounts, find Facebook groups in your area for musicians and producers, make business cards, network with musicians online and at live events like gigs and open mics.
This may sound like a lot of upfront work, but it will certainly pay off in the long run.
8. Don't Get Paralysis by Analysis
Let's discuss an example of this one.
Imagine two music producers, one who is just starting out, average, nothing special but regularly posts their tracks and reaches out to musicians in their area. The other music producer is diligent with their craft, insanely talented, but worried about how their tracks will be received and never feel like they are done enough to post.
Which producer is going to grow and succeed? Exactly, the average one who networks and gets their work out in the music world.
Sometimes it is hard to determine when a track is completed and it can be scary to put something creative out in the world for fear of it being chewed up, but you can't keep tinkering with projects and hiding them away on your hard drive if you want to be successful.
9. Know Your "Why"
This tip isn't something that anyone can help you with but yourself. This is more about self-awareness.
What is your why?
Why did you decide to become a music producer? What motivates you? When a track falls flat or a musician cancels a session at the last second, what will keep pushing you forward?
This could be something that continually changes and grows with your craft, but it is integral to your longevity as a successful music producer.
10. Be Professional
Getting your name out there and meeting people in the business is also a great way to become a better music producer. It’s almost a guarantee that you will learn something, even in the smallest way.
You will also want to respect the studio time given to you. Be diligent with scheduling studio time and showing up with enough time to prepare for the session.
Become familiar with contracts, invoices, royalties, copyrights and everything you will be coming across with a label, studio, etc.
While you may be having fun with a project, it’s still important to be professional and respectful of the people’s time and art they’re putting time into.
Become a Better Music Producer Today
As you now know, there is so much more than just the music component when working as a music producer. You are essentially the creation manager and manipulator of the track.
Don’t rush the process, as the quality of your work will increase over time and that time is imperative to the rest of your career.
☑️Want a bonus tip to help jumpstart your music production career?
A fantastic way to elevate your production skills, learn the best techniques, utilize industry-standard equipment, and develop life-long music industry connections is by attending an accredited music college.
The DIY approach has been making a heavy push, and with all the accessible software, plugins, reasonably priced equipment, it makes sense.
But in a sea of DIY audio engineers, if you want to separate from the crowd and increase your credibility, earning a Music Production and Audio for Media Degree or Certificate in Music Production can significantly enhance your career.
If this sounds intriguing to you and you want to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed as a music producer, learn more about the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media today.