Music is a strong force in our living! It dictates our moments, our artistry, and our vibe. As a music producer, we must first determine early on what our role is, and understand why we chose this path and what it takes for us to strive for overall excellence.

  1. Know what you want to achieve from making music. What genre you want to produce and perfect? Understand that ‘alternative, country or sampling’ may not be your thing, but your R&B piano skills are flawless. As music producers mainly produce tracks and record their artists these days, traditional producers may not only make music, but also oversee the project including budget, song selection, etc.
  2. Stop stealing music, software, ideas, etc. This creates a trickle down effect and results in the music mess we have going on today. This music production thing is not for everybody! Invest in yourself and know what you want from your music. Research and buy the best tools for you. Also when you buy, you are supporting the makers who keep us in supply of our favorite production tools. Please note: Karma is real! There’s no way you are expecting to sell music if you’re not buying any, right? There is certainly no way you are expecting support if you are not supporting others, right?
  3. Understand the difference between a music producer, composer, and arranger. The latter two are often knowledgeable in music theory and more than likely fluently play several instruments. As a music producer, it’s a super plus to have the same knowledge as an arranger and or composer; however, it’s not a must. But please don’t think because you throw together a few waveforms, or a boxed loop or sample makes you a music producer. To earn such a title, you need to put in work in all aspects of the term. Also note: many arrangers, composers, and songwriters are super music producers.
  4. I’ve said this one a trillion times: Thin skin, easily hurt feelings, and an over egotistical attitude are reasons you will fail before you are off the ground, especially these days in the midst of music madness. You’ll end up so quick in that big pond of little fish trying to make your way. Spend that high altitude of an attitude into creating good music, getting along, and understanding the business of a music producer.
  5. Just because someone doesn’t produce on the same type of gear you do, does not make them inferior to you. Stop bashing the gear of others, you may look up and find their tracks are hotter than yours!
  6. If your online conversation is always about you and the artists you are working with… that gets old. Support other producers and artists as well. Attend their shows, visit their pages, blogs, leave comments, and spark conversation. You never know what could come from it.
  7. A music producer has good ‘sound and production’ skills. Read that line again! You can’t just get away with producing a hot track to have it sound raggedy, out of tune, and over-processed. Take pride also in the vocals that go over your tracks. Just because an artist has skills may not mean they sound good over your productions. In other words, you can’t collab with just anybody. Music producers care deeply about the end-product of their pieces.
  8. Your reputation, credibility and reliability sticks with you. Practice what you preach. Meet deadlines, appointments, meetings, and studio sessions in a timely manner. Return emails and phone calls. The opportunities you ignore could be a goldmine for the next one. Maintain professionalism when it is appropriate including avoiding Twitter/Facebook brawls which are commonly ill marketing tactics these days. Understand that your conversation goes a long way in interviews. The person that fans you could very well be the one that prevented you from obtaining that platinum record status.
  9. Build a catalog of quality music, and have it ready to present at all times. The keyword here is ‘quality’ meaning your good stuff. Don’t present anything you have to make excuses for. Be cautious of who you are presenting to. Research the person and or company that is interested in hearing your catalog. Not just anybody should have that opportunity. It’s also a good idea to have at least 5 albums ready.
  10. Producing music is a business. It involves various contracts, agreements, copyrights, invoices, royalties, publishing, and licensing. You must have a strong knowledge of these areas to function successfully as a music producer. You should also have an attorney on hand.
  11. Too proud to beg? You shouldn’t be. Ask for what you want. Reach out to your goals. Very few have them just show up at their front door. The same applies with asking questions to help you sift through your process. If you don’t know, it’s okay. Find someone you are comfortable with that can mentor you. Someone you trust to guide you. There is nothing ignorant in searching for clarity. The ignorance only remains when you don’t.
  12. Listen to various types of music, old and new, across genres, your grandmother’s music, your parent’s music, and your children’s music. Gain an appreciation for your favorite styles, and not so favorite. Collect various types of music and listen closely to the instrumentation, the vocals, and the elements that pulled the pieces together. This will make you aware of aspects of the music making process and an appreciation of the art. Having knowledge of a wide field of music just makes you another great asset to the music production industry.

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