So You’re Looking to Become a Record Producer (Part 3)

The Steps to becoming a record producer

Most of you have probably already read part 2 on what Record Producers really do. If you haven’t, go check it out and share it with your Mom. (That wasn’t a dig at your Mother, I’m sure she’s a really nice lady. Read the article, you’ll get it). So now you’re ready to take the first step in your Production career. But where do you start? You want that first step to be meaningful, so let’s make sure we don’t fall on our way to the finish line.

1) Don’t Step In Gum – Skip School.
Going to school can literally be the biggest mistake you make in your audio career.

– You do not need a degree to become a Music Producer.
– The last 5 Producers of the Year DID NOT have an audio degree.
– On average, most audio students pay between $60,000 and $80,000 in tuition.
– Putting $80,000 towards your own studio, at your own pace, is much better than starting your career in debt from student loans.
– You can learn everything you need to start your career in 6 months.
– You can start MAKING money in 6 months.
– Schools teach you a little about a lot of things – and little to nothing about some basic recording functions. (Things like copy pasting audio and grid mode.)
– You should learn the essentials of your preferred DAW.
– You should learn the essentials of capturing audio.

2) Walk Before You Run – Learn on your own.
There are plenty of great resources where you can learn how to become a producer. Find the ones that work best for you and stick with them.

– Talk to your friends who record music. They’ll show you a thing or two to get you started.
– YouTube tutorials are free.
– Several websites will teach you about audio for a significantly lower price than schooling. (A $200 subscription to a website is .25% of what you’d pay going to audio school. WOW!).
My tutorial website is completely free. (If it’s not, track me down.)
– Join Facebook groups and forums and pick the brains of the other members.
– Subscribe to online magazines and blogs.
– Immerse yourself in all things audio to make yourself an asset to any studio.

3) Start Training For The Big Race – Intern Your Ass Off.
After gaining some recording knowledge, apply for internships. If you become an integral part of a studio, you may have found yourself your next job.

– You won’t be paid when you’re starting off.
– Be prepared to do grunt work such as taking out garbages, cleaning the floors, and getting coffee for the staff.
– Have a positive attitude.
– Sit in on every single mixing, writing, and tracking session you can.
– Take notes on everything you learn.
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (If the time is appropriate, most professionals are more than willing to share their knowledge.)
– Get really good at one thing to become the “go-to” person for it. Some of these things may include Melodyne, Elastic Audio, or even contacting potential clients.
– Don’t be afraid to take the initiative. Studios love interns because it’s free labor. You get to learn, and they get to relax.
– The more initiative you take, the more hands on experience you gain. This is a business of learning by doing, so take a lesson from Yoda – Do or do not. There is no try.
– When you think you’re fully capable of taking on your own projects, ask the studio if you can join their official staff. If you’ve become an indispensable member, they’ll put you on the payroll because they can’t afford to lose you. If they say no, then do your own thing.

4) Go For The Gold – Build your own studio.
When you become your own boss, you will take 100% of your own projects, and a percentage of every project that walks through the door.

-Working at someone else’s studio means you’ll split your pay for studio costs.
– Some studios will take up to 75% of a project you worked on.
– Building your own studio means you keep 100% of your profit.
– Start with a basic at home studio.
– Start by charging a cheap price to build up your name.
– As you strengthen your skills, buy better gear.
– Better gear and more knowledge means you can charge more.
– When you build a big enough rolodex of clientele, consider upgrading to a bigger location.
– Make sure you’ll be able to cover your overhead costs.
– Build up your studio through word of mouth, Facebook groups, and a webpage.
– Start building a team at your studio.
– Live the dream.

Completing the race is not as out of reach as it may seem right now, I promise. It will take time, but with enough determination you’ll be able to make a comfortable living doing what you love. Keep on the lookout for the final segment where I’ll give you your first lesson and test your producer knowledge. Please feel free to share, subscribe and like this post. Peace and rock on.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

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