Record producer

Music producer
Engineer at audio console at Danish Broadcasting Corporation.png
Engineer with audio console, at a recording session at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation
Namesmusic producer, record producer
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Music industry
CompetenciesInstrumental skills, keyboard knowledge, arranging, vocal coaching
Fields of
Recording studios
Related jobs
Music executive, recording engineer, executive producer, film producer, A&R

A music producer or record producer is a recording project's creative and technical leader, commanding studio time and coaching artists, and in popular genres typically creates the song's very sound and structure.[1][2][3] The music producer, or simply the producer, is likened to a film director.[1][3] The executive producer, on the other hand, enables the recording project through entrepreneurship, and an audio engineer operates the technology.

Varying by project, the producer may also choose all of the artists,[4] or openly perform vocals with them.[3] If employing only synthesized or sampled instrumentation, the producer may be the sole artist.[3] Conversely, some artists do their own production.[3] Some producers are their own engineers,[5] operating the technology across the project: preproduction, recording, mixing, and mastering. Record producers' precursors were "A&R men", who likewise could blend entrepreneurial, creative, and technical roles,[2] but often exercised scant creative influence,[6] as record production still focused, into the 1950s, on simply improving the record's sonic match to the artists' own live performance.[3]

Advances in recording technology, especially the 1940s advent of tape recording—which Les Paul promptly innovated further to develop multitrack recording[7]—and the 1950s rise of electronic instruments, turned record production into a specialty.[3] In popular music, then, producers like George Martin, Phil Spector and Brian Eno led its evolution into its present use of elaborate techniques and unrealistic sounds, creating songs impossible to originate live.[1][8] After the 1980s, production's move from analog to digital further expanded possibilities.[3] By now, DAWs, or digital audio workstations, like Logic Pro and Pro Tools, turn an ordinary computer into a production console,[9][10] whereby a solitary novice can become a skilled producer in a thrifty home studio.[11][12] In the 2010s, efforts began to increase the prevalence of producers and engineers who are women, heavily outnumbered by men and prominently accoladed only in classical music.[11][13]

Music producer Sir George Martin, best known for his work with The Beatles, pictured with members George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon at a recording session at Abbey Road in 1966
  1. ^ a b c Virgil Moorefield, "Introduction", The Producer as Composer: Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music (Cambridge, MA & London, UK: MIT Press, 2005).
  2. ^ a b Richard James Burgess, The History of Music Production (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp 12–13.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Allan Watson, Cultural Production in and Beyond the Recording Studio (New York: Routledge, 2015), pp 25–27.
  4. ^ James Petulla, "Who is a music producer?",, Recording Connection, 21 May 2013, reporting membership in CAPPS, the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools.
  5. ^ Ian Shepherd, "What does a music producer do, anyway?",, Production Advice, 26 Feb 2009.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference :2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference :6 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Greg Kot, "What does a record producer do?", BBC Culture,, 10 Mar 2016.
  9. ^ Jay Kadis, "Digital audio workstations",, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University, 2006–2013, retrieved 11 Sep 2020.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference :4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ a b Richard James Burgess, The History of Music Production (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp 199200.
  12. ^ Melinda Newman, "Where are all the female music producers?",, MRC Media and Info, 19 Jan 2018.
  13. ^ Nate Hertweck, "Recording Academy Task Force On Diversity and Inclusion announces initiative to expand opportunities for female producers and engineers",, Recording Academy, 1 Feb 2019.

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