Maybe you want a career in music production. Perhaps, you have a band and you might be looking for a producer to take your music (and album sales) to the next level. Or maybe you are just curious about what the heck they do. In any case, this article will cover a lot of ground when it comes to the job description of a music producer, and some legendary names in the business.
Music Production Facts, Process, and 4 Successful Producers
What is a Music Producer?
A music producer is also known as an album (or a record) producer, and his job definition pretty much depends on the terms he agrees with the record company or the artist he is working with. Whatever his terms might be, he is responsible for the final musical outcome of the album.
Music Production Concepts and Responsibilities
A producer can be involved in the song-writing, audio engineering, recording, adding musical instruments and effects, hiring outside musicians if needed, help plan the overall promotion plan — including choosing album images and stage stunts. He can even advise the singers to get vocal coaching lessons.
Hiring a Producer
Music producers often work as freelancers, and their fees can be fixed, based on a certain sales percentage or combination of both. Producers that have a rich resume, meaning producers whose production work resulted in impressive sales numbers, are usually expensive, and hard to get a hold of.
Sometimes artists produce their own records. This can be due to lack of finances, the unwillingness to have someone outside the band intervene with their music and ideas, feeling confident that they have the experience to pull it off, or any combination of these.
Many artists choose to co-produce their albums, allowing an outside eye to evaluate but also not being cut off from the production stage. Ozzy Osbourne co-produced many of his albums, including his last two records Black Rain and Scream.
Sometimes producers form close friendships with artists and work with them on multiple records, and contribute to the songwriting process as well. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora co-produced (along with other producers) all of the Bon Jovi albums starting from the 1995 album These Days, with the exception of the record Lost Highway. Lost Highway’s executive producer was Desmond Child, a songwriter that co-wrote (along with Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi) some of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits such as Living on a Prayer and Bad Medicine.
Time for a new Record Producer
Conflicting artistic views, previously disappointing sales and the willingness to change image can cause producers and artists go their separate ways. For instance, despite highly successful album sales, Def Leppard split ways with producer Mutt Lange, because the band wanted a darker sound. The first Mutt-less album is slang and the difference in style is more than apparent.
4 Important Producers and Their Artists
- Bob Ezrin — Kiss, Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd: Bob Ezrin worked either as producer (or as executive producer) on a total of 12 Alice Cooper albums, and co-wrote several songs.
- Robert John “Mutt” Lange- Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Nickelback, The Cars, Foreigner, AC/DC, Shania Twain, Maroon 5: The sought after name of rock and pop records, Mutt Lange’s production credits include AC/DC’s Back in Black, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, Highway to Hell albums, Def Leppard’s High ‘N’ Dry Pyromania, Hysteria, Adrenalize albums, Bryan Adams’ Waking Up the Neighbors, 18 Till I die and more.
- Bruce Fairbairn — Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Poison, Blue Oyster Cult, Scorpions, Van Halen, Kiss, Yes: As Fairbairn’s artists indicate, he is a great choice for hit rock albums. Fairbairn produced Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and New Jersey, Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation, Pump and many more.
- Desmond Child — Bon Jovi, Cher, Jimmy Barnes, Jennifer Rush, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Songwriter and producer Desmond Child is one of the co-writers of the KISS hit “I was made for loving you” ,which remains one of the band’s most popular songs. His production and song writing credits include many rock (and pop) hit songs and albums.
Being a producer, as well as finding a good one can be tricky. But it is very important to realize that any ridiculously popular artist has a very capable producer behind him. Just make sure that, whether you are the band or the producer, you are on the same page when it comes to expectations. Also keep in mind that some musicians are more concerned about the art, while producers prefer the art that sells more.