Spotting a music producer was at one time, a walk in the park.
Stand outside your local studio & monitor who goes in & out. Not exactly James Bond levels of reconnaissance we must say, however today, that’s all changed. Thanks to the rise of portable production equipment, clapping eyes on one of these astute musical minds is actually quite a task. And you don’t have to look far to see why.
Team computers with the magic of midi, and it becomes pretty obvious why the majority of music producers now create their work either at home, or ‘on the go’. A producers writing melodies in their car isn’t actually as rare as you might think! Point being that, because you can now bring the studio directly to you, the lure of a physical studio has started to fade away.
But that’s not to say you can’t identify a music producer these days. You can – although you will need to get your magnifying glass out to do so. Therefore, to give you the best chance possible of spotting a music producer, we’ve compiled a full spotters guide.
- Big shout out to the guys over @ Music Lowdown for sharing this post!
What is a music producer?
Much as it sounds, a music producer is someone who makes a living out of producing music – be that RnB, Rock, Jazz or chart-topping Pop.
The easiest way to think of a music producer is the person ‘behind the scenes’. So while the artist performs the song & builds hype around the project, the producer is the person who:
- Composes the arrangement
- Knits the recorded stems together on a DAW
- Mixes & masters the final track
Exactly the reason why experienced music producers are so sought after & can demand a lot of money for what they do. As in essence, they govern the quality of the finished product.
You can have the best song idea in existence, but unless you (the artist) know how to professionally produce the track yourself, you’re unlikely to reap the full benefits of your work if it’s not produced to a high standard.
Why do people become a music producer?
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of careers out there, especially today when the internet has given birth to a whole new way of working. So why out of all these career paths would you choose to be a music producer? Here’s 3 good reasons…
1: Passive income ($$$)
Now, one of the main perks of being a music producer, especially in 2022, is the fact that for any high-demand professional, the income is high. Seriously high! Put it this way, there’s a reason why over the past 5 years, there’s been a rise in beat makers and producers. The internet has made it so much more profitable! As a music producer, you can generate income through…
- The sale of beats/ backing tracks – Usually these are called ‘type beats’ and retail for around $500+ for an unlimited licence. Notice the word ‘licence’. That’s because providing no one buys exclusive rights to a composition, a producer can lease it out to as many artists as they wish. Each of whom have to pay to use the beat, as well as abide to certain conditions. If said conditions are exceeded, they then have to renew the licence & yet again pay for the privilege!
- Royalties – Aside from making sales online, music producers also collect royalties. In short, this means that every time a song they’ve produced is played on the radio or performed by an artist, they get a cut. Work with 50+ artists on multiple projects & you can soon see how this could build up.
- Merch & garms – With the internet allowing producers today to be a lot more branded, the majority of producers will also sell their own merchandise too. Some even have their own website or YouTube channels which they use to generate hype, so that they sell out in a matter of minutes. Clever stuff!
2: The love for music
Money aside, music isn’t just a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Far from it! In order to do well in t he music industry, you need a large dose of passion & flare. With music being very much an expressive art, this makes a lot of sense.
It’s often also the reason why those producers who’re in music purely for the reasons above ($$$) are ironically some of the worst paid of the lot. To be a good music producer, you need passion. Without it, you’ll perish!
3: They’re an artist who flopped
Sounds quite unorthodox, but it’s amazing how many music producers start off their career as an artist. So while some simply realise that music production is more their strong point, for others it’s more of a way of continuing to feed their thirst for learning & expanding their horizons. Either way, for those with a musical ear, production is a worthy route to take.
How to spot a lowkey music producer – 5 signs!
While the internet can make it easier than ever to find music producers, not all have either the funds or the confidence to put their craft out there. We know of prods who have sat on their music for years, before having the guts to share it with the world. In which case, here are 5 ways that you can spot a lowkey music producer in a heartbeat…
- They use studio monitors, not speakers – A subtle difference, but a telltale sign of a music producer nonetheless. That’s because anyone who knows anything about music, knows that studio monitors are made for referencing audio, while speakers are mean’t for casual listening. In other words, if you’re a music producer looking to tighten your mix, then studio monitors are hands-down the way to go.
- Their wardrobe has a microphone in it – Nope – this is not a joke. If you suspect your friend is a music producer, take a peek inside their wardrobe (with their permission of course). If amongst the pants & socks you spot a microphone, then you could well have discovered their makeshift vocal booth. That’s right – bedroom producers are known to use their wardrobe (& the clothes) in it, as makeshift sound deadening. A tactic used by a lot of producers when they first start out.
- They have a keyboard… that’s silent – When it comes to producing songs these days, it’s actually pretty rare to find a producer who’s 100% analogue and sticks to pure hardware. That’s because most producers now use midi to construct their songs. Hence why kit like their midi keyboard can be a major giveaway. Therefore, if you spy something around their room that vaguely resembles a keyboard, give its keys a press. ‘Accidentally’ lean on it if you have to. If the board has power yet creates no sound, then chances are you’ve found their midi keyboard.
- They spend racks ($$$) on a chair – While music artists spend a decent amount of time on the road, the life of a producer is more of a sit down affair. So ask you can imagine, maintaining a healthy posture is extremely important. Exactly why the majority of producers will invest a decent chunk of money into a good quality & supportive desk chair. High end gaming or office chairs seem to be the most popular.
- Their browsing history – Have a friend who you suspect is a music producers and raiding their browsing history will likely tell you a lot. Now, just to be clear, we’re not advocating you infringe their privacy in any way. However, if at some point you find yourself using their computer, try your best to ‘casually’ take a quick peek. See sites like us & our friends over at Music Lowdown, and chances are your friend is serious about music production.