As an emerging artist taking your first steps towards a career in the music business, you want to surround yourself with professionals who can help you grow as an artist and who can provide much-needed guidance. Navigating the intricate universe of music licensing, royalties, music publishing, as well as promotion and marketing can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. Finding the right music producer can make or break the success of your next release and could have a significant impact on the trajectory of your music career. But where exactly do you start, and how can you make sure they’re the right fit?
What does a music producer do, exactly?
Whether you’re getting ready to launch your first single or are an experienced independent musician preparing a new release, you’ll need to find a professional music producer that can help you get your music to your target audience.
If you’re in the early days of your music career, a producer can have a huge impact and can guide your artistic vision and help you forge a unique sound. The producer can also help in other areas, offering valuable insight and advice on how to polish your songwriting and your overall musical direction. Producers have years of experience working with musicians, and they can offer invaluable insight into the music business and help you navigate the challenges that will undoubtedly come your way.
Even more importantly, a music producer can assist you when it comes to the technical aspects of production and recording, ensuring that the end result sounds professional and meets the industry standards. They can also find the right songwriter if you don’t want to write your own lyrics, and can find session musicians if needed, as well as book studio time. Last but definitely not least, a producer can, in some cases, become a true mentor, helping you develop your skills and putting your artistic vision and your music in the spotlight.
Finding a music producer: do your research
Now that you’ve decided you want to work with a professional music producer to prepare your next songs or next release, it’s time to do some research to find someone who shares your vision, your perspective, and who understands your particular style and genre. That’s not quite as easy as it sounds, especially as a new artist who doesn’t have many connections in the music industry. So, where do you start?
Get recommendations from other artists
If you already have friends or contacts in the music business, or you stay in touch with other fellow musicians, the best way to go about it is to ask for recommendations. It’s best to ask people who create music in the same genre as you, for a better fit, but it’s not a requirement. Just ask people you know in the music industry for referrals or recommendations, and if you decide you’d like to give it a go, ask them to put you in touch with a producer. Even if you don’t find the right music producer for you, this will allow you to test the waters and see who people recommend - or who they don’t recommend, which is equally important as you don’t want to waste your time with someone who is not 100% professional and dedicated.
Search for music producers online
There is nothing you can’t find on the internet nowadays, including contacts for professional music producers or promoters, so why not do some online research to find someone who seems like a right fit for your unique needs? You can start asking around on social media, in dedicated Facebook groups, on Instagram or TikTok, LinkedIn, or even on Reddit. You can also check out dedicated platforms where music producers might be present, such as Upwork, Fiverr, NoiseCreators, or SoundBetter. These platforms allow you to filter your search based on location, genre, budget, and more, so it’s a great resource. Of course, you can also create a profile on Xposure Music and connect to industry professionals to get individualized feedback on your music, as well as guidance for your music career.
Check out music production studios
Another great way to connect to industry professionals and find a music producer to work with on your next project is to check out local music production studios. These studios usually work with multiple producers, and they can recommend the best pairing for your needs. You can also get a glimpse of the studio and see if it’s the right environment for you and if it’s something you can work with. This way, you could shoot two birds with one stone: find a music producer you want to work with and a great studio space to record and mix your music in.
What to discuss with a prospective music producer
When you’re a newcomer on the music scene and don’t have a network of industry connections to recommend you, it can be tough to be picky when it comes to choosing a producer to work with. However, the screening process should go both ways, and you should also have a set of crucial deciding factors in mind when discussing with a producer for a potential collaboration.
What is your budget?
For new or emerging artists, the main deciding factor is, of course, the budget. You most likely won’t be able to afford working with Beyonce’s producer, but you should also not sell yourself short. Figure out a maximum budget and keep that in mind when negotiating a deal with a producer, and work out whether the package they’re offering includes things like studio time, marketing and promotion, consulting, and other things, or if it’s simply limited to production tasks. As a new artist, you would certainly benefit from consulting services and some kind of guidance and mentoring included in the deal, and have the producer you work with guide you as you navigate the music business.
What is their timeline?
Another straightforward question that you should ask before signing a contract with a producer is ‘how long do you estimate this project will take?’ An experienced producer should be able to give you a clear timeline and detail the steps you’ll go through together, to help you get an idea of when your music will be ready for an official release. Figure out what kind of schedule you need to set to reach that goal, and how often you can meet with the producer and work on recording. How much time can they dedicate to your project per day, per week, or per month? How much time do you realistically have for this? Figure these things out together and see if your schedules match.
What is their process?
You should talk to your potential producer about their process before you even start thinking of signing a contract. How do they approach each project, what does that process entail, and how do they envision this collaboration taking place? See if their process and way of approaching things matches yours, and if you ‘vibe’ together, as they say. If you sense that you have conflicting approaches or ways of working, it might not be a good fit in the long run, and it might cause friction and frustration in the studio.
How is their previous work?
Last but not least, you should always check out the work of the music producer you’re contemplating working with, whether that’s looking online at their portfolio or simply asking them directly to share some reference tracks. It’s important that the producer you decide to work with has experience with musicians in your genre, and that they have the right industry connections. Look at their previous work and see whether it’s something that inspires you and that speaks to you as a musician, and if it doesn’t feel like it matches your genre, your taste, or your overall vibe, then it’s probably not the right fit. If they don’t have any reference tracks or work portfolio to share with you, then that might also be a red flag.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I find a good music producer?
There are several places where you can find a good music producer. Start by networking within your local music community, attending music events, and connecting with other musicians who may have recommendations. Online platforms like SoundBetter, LinkedIn, or music forums can also be valuable resources for finding talented producers. Additionally, reaching out to recording studios or music schools in your area can help you discover experienced producers who are open to working with newcomers.
How do I find music producers online?
To find music producers online, you can start by visiting platforms and websites dedicated to connecting musicians with producers, such as SoundBetter, AirGigs, or Upwork. These platforms allow you to browse through profiles, listen to samples of their work, and read reviews from previous clients. Utilizing social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook groups focused on music production can also help you find and connect with music producers who are actively promoting their services online.
How much does it cost to hire a music producer?
The cost of hiring a music producer can vary significantly depending on factors such as their level of experience, reputation, the scope of the project, and location. Rates can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per song or project. Some producers may charge an hourly rate, while others may offer package deals or negotiate a flat fee. It is important to discuss your budget and specific project details with potential producers to get a better understanding of their pricing structure and ensure it aligns with your needs.
Do I need a producer to make a song?
No, you do not necessarily need a producer to make a song. While having a producer can provide valuable expertise and guidance, it is possible to create a song independently or with the help of other musicians. With modern technology and resources, you can record and produce your own music using software and virtual instruments. However, working with a skilled producer can elevate the quality of your music, enhance the production value, and provide a fresh perspective on your artistic vision.
Want to learn more about music production and what it takes to produce a song or an upcoming album?
Join Xposure Music and gain access to some of the best music industry professionals in the U.S.? Top experts from Sony, Columbia, Def Jam, or Universal have already joined our platform, and they’re ready to give invaluable, on-point feedback on your work, and guide you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking for feedback from a musician, a producer, or a songwriter, this is your chance to get objective feedback and take your career to the next level.