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A music producer is a jack-of-all trades, often with combining great personal skills with technical production knowledge. Depending on the type of project, a producer can find himself interacting with artists and musicians, editing music, or overseeing marketing strategies for a finished product. Many producers have backgrounds as musicians or recording artists, though this is not requisite for the job.
The paths to becoming a music producer are varied, but some experts say the most basic requirement is a love and understanding of music. Some producers may have college or graduate degrees in audio engineering, composition, or performance, but many also come from practical backgrounds with no formal training. Since producers will typically work on a wide range of projects, more experience can lead to greater opportunity and a wider range of work possibilities.
Music producing skills can open the door to a wide variety of jobs in the production field. Some producers work directly for a recording studio, managing the day-to-day operations of the studio and interacting with both artists and technicians. Others form relationships with specific bands or artists, and work to produce albums and live events for their clients. Producers who are excited about finding new talent may work as freelance scouts or for recording labels, identifying new artists and helping them develop their work into an album.
Producers must possess excellent communication skills, as they often serve as the go-between for recording artists, technicians, and studio or label executives. Since money is often at stake in music production, tempers can run high between different branches involved in the process. A good music producer can serve as a mediator and voice of moderation, working equally to protect the interests of all involved. Excellent people skills can be greatly beneficial to a producer, as they will help ensure continued healthy relationships with both artists and studios.
Although a passion for music is greatly helpful to a music producer, it is important to remember that a financially successful career usually involves excellent sales skills as well. While there is a wide variety of wonderful music, not all of it will return a profit. To survive financially, a music producer must be able not only to identify great music, but work with the potential to become profitable. Many successful producers study the industry market carefully, in order to help select artists that will be likely to create the greatest profits.