Can I Call Myself A Music Producer?

A popular online debate poses the question, “Can I Call Myself A Music Producer?” Let’s take a look at what a music producer really does and then you decide.

Can I Call Myself A Music Producer?

A music producers’ job is to lead artists through the technical and creative processes of writing, recording, and releasing their music. A good music producer will be seasoned and have technical skills, a good ear for music, harmonies, lyrics, and know the best ways to release the artist music to the public. This is more of the traditional role of a music producer. More and more artist and home recording studio owners are calling themselves music producers because they are performing all the writing, singing, playing the instruments, recording, mixing, mastering, and releasing their own music.

Video Credit: Produce Like A Pro

What Does A Music Producer Do?

Can I Call Myself A Music Producer

A music producers’ role is to help develop artist.

In other words, they help the artist with the technical and creative processes to help bring the artist vision of the music to life.

A good music producer will have the following skills.

1. Know How To Schedule And Budget

Music producers do their best work in the recording studio so learning to create an operating budget for recording sessions will be an important skill.

2. Shape The Music

A music producer should have a good ear and feel for current music.

It’s the job of a music producer to help the artist shape their music in a way that brings out the best performance from the artist and the best sounding music.

3. Supervise The Performance

A good music producer will bring experience to help guide the artist and often times collaborate with the artist to help them reach their full potential.

This could be suggestions like what key fits the artist vocal range best, what words may draw out more emotion in the lyrics and can successfully gauge emotional response.

4. Work VS Play Balance

Producers can help artist and studio engineers meet in the middle with the work VS play balance.

A good producer knows how to arrange some fun or relaxing activities within the studio environment to help maximize productivity.

You must work hard but it’s ok to have some fun to.

5. Keep Things Moving

Artist and engineers can get stuck. Your studio time is burning up your budget.

You have to know how to keep things moving to maximize your creativity, the recording process, and stay in budget.

Maybe it’s time to skip a certain part of a song if it’s not working out at the moment.

You can always circle back and try again tomorrow.

A good producer may know some creative tricks to help or may suggest we move on to another project.

6. Boost Confidence

In those times when an artist may not be feeling confident about hitting a certain note at the edge of their range a good producer knows how to encourage the artist and everyone working on the project.

Music will not bear low confidence, you can hear it everywhere.

A good producer is also a good confidence booster.

These are just some of the skills a good producer can offer to an artist.

How Is Music Produced?

Can I Call Myself A Music Producer

The process of creating music has several steps.

1. Musical Idea

Every song starts with an idea.

Songwriters may have lyrics they want to develop into a melody.

Sometimes the melody comes first and then the lyrics are added.

It all depends on who is creating the musical idea and what style of music they are writing.

Often times the musical idea is co-written and developed.

2. Recording

Once the musical idea is solid it’s time to start recording or tracking the different instrument and vocal parts.

You may find in the recording process that the musical idea will evolve further into something better.

3. Editing

Now that you have all the tracks recorded it’s time to do some editing.

This is where the engineer the producer and artist will work together to edit out unwanted mistakes in the recording process.

Changes in arrangement may be adjusted, retakes may be required, and a solid form of the song is present.

4. Mixing

Mixing is the process of fitting all the instruments and vocals together on two stereo tracks.

An experienced engineer or producer should have the skills needed to successfully carve out a space in the mix for every instrument and vocal.

Each track is adjusted for loudness, tone, frequency, panning, effects, compression, and mixed together.

All the tracks are mixed down to left and right stereo tracks.

5. Mastering

Mastering is the final process of the mix.

The two stereo tracks are optimized for clarity, balance, and loudness to create a radio ready mix.

6. Release

Release is where the music is distributed to make it available to the public.

These days many artists are releasing their music online.

A good producer should be experienced in different release strategies to help the artist grow their fan base.

Relevant Article: Can You Release Music Without A Label?

Relevant Article: How To Get People To Listen To Your Music

Music Production Equipment

To successfully produce music on your own you will need some basic equipment.

  • Computer
  • DAW Software
  • Audio Interface
  • Studio Monitors
  • Headphones
  • MIDI Controller / Keyboard
  • Microphones
  • Different Instruments

If you want to learn more about some of the equipment listed above, check out the different equipment under my Learn Page.

What Does It Take To Become A Music Producer?

So, what does it take to become a music producer?


Different genres of music have a slightly different meaning for the role of the producer.

That’s ok. I’m not here to change that.

I simply want to share with you some of the roles a good producer can perform and some of the areas of expertise you should be familiar with if you want to be a Producer.

What Others Are Saying

Direct QuoteSource
“When I was starting out, I usually just let my clients call me whichever title they wanted. My clients were always referred by other clients, so I never really had to advertise or promote myself for a particular role or title. As sole owner and operator of a studio, I’m the guy that comes along as a package deal with the studio.”,what%20you%20did%20for%20them).
“So if you really want to learn how to make and record music, do yourself a favour and lock away all those sampled phrases and loops until you’ve learned to make music without them. Once you can, you’ll be able to use them in the right context, rather than as an imagined shortcut to being a ‘producer’.”
“Actually a producer is anyone who produces anything. Audio production, video production… these are all done by producers of the content. Now… if you want to talk about people who call themselves “engineers”, thats a different matter. But there are PLENTY of top level albums with producers listed who know NOTHING about music. Do you know what an executive producer is? Money guy, thats it. Doesn’t need to ever turn a knob or even be at a session or event.”
“For the most part, anyone who makes beats digitally calls themselves a music producer. I’ve done it myself and probably still do it sometimes as a result of the misunderstanding of the term in most of my circles. After 20 years as a vinyl DJ (and Serato ScratchLive control vinyl DJ), I finally started making beats of my own thanks to my work with Totem Star artists. I started calling myself a producer, as every other beatmaker was doing. But was I wrong?”
“Given that historically ‘producer’ (as in ‘record producer’) was a pretty specific role in the process of creating recordings of music (and not one which necessarily meant any involvement in the writing or performance of said music) then appropriating that term for a writer/performer/whatever who doesnt necessarily have the same skills or focus that that role historically required may be seen as the misinterpretation or misconception.
In fact it may be seen as someone elevating themselves into a job title they dont necessarily deserve, like calling yourself ‘business management’ just because you manage to do some work at a business.”
“It takes a special type of person to succeed in the music industry, and music producers are no different. It’s generally not enough just to be exceptional at one or two key skills; even if you’re the best composer in the world, that can only get you so far. Audio production is a highly multifaceted career, and you have to learn everything about the craft to have hope for success.”
“I think “Producer” is an even funnier word in this industry. This usually translates to “Composer, with some engineering experience”. Very hands on.
Whereas in film, the producer is almost like a publisher…or a majority “funder” of projects. Pretty hands off”
“Generally there is confusion, for the word “producer” in some genres of music.
Most of us are actually composers, not producers. We compose the instrumental pieces, for the most part, then sell them. John Williams of the Star Wars Series comes to mind, he was a composer, and had nothing to do with the mid and post production of the end result.
A generic producer, in true sense, is a person or persons who directs the performance, and the product. A conducter of an orchestra is a good example.
If music was film, most of us would be equal to writers (not script writers), not directors. The film director would be equal to the music producer. And the film producers, would be equal to project managers in music.”
“What type of music? Your location? What needs to be done? And what’s your budget? Answering those questions will already sort out a big chunk of producers you might want to work with. If you do Jazz music and have a budget of a few hundred bucks then the producer with 10 Grammy awards who produces mostly Hard Rock will do no good for your project.”
“A music producer is the creative and technical person overseeing the music production process. Traditionally, they are in charge of forming an artist’s raw music and talent into a recording that can be marketed to a specific audience.”

Final Thoughts

Can I call myself a producer? Sure, you can call yourself anything you like.

I think the better way to look at this is, what do you bring to the table to help out other artist and engineers?

I think in order to be a successful employed producer it’s going to matter more what other people know and believe you can deliver as a producer.

This is where your past credits, albums, achievements, and portfolio come into play.

Every artist, producer, and engineer should have their own website to display their “Reel”, portfolio, EPK, and list of credits and achievements.

You can check out my Promote Page if you want to learn more about online marketing and building websites.

If you like writing, recording, and producing music you are in the right place.

Take a minute and have a look around my website.

You will find many great articles to get you moving in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions, stories, and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “Can I Call Myself A Music Producer?”

  1. Thank you very much for this valuable detailed post about music producer. I really did not know much about this. Especially what a music producer does. And I think the mixing part is the hardest part. I have a friend and I have seen him do these things. I really like to see how to do those things. Keep posting like this. I definitely share this.

    • Music producers wear many hats at times and need to have experience to successfully guide themselves or other artist. I’m glad you like the article.  Let me know if you have questions.

  2. it’s difficult to imagine how someone could learn everything on their own when so many different disciplines are involved. A program for audio production is a surefire way to equip yourself with all that knowledge and more. But it’s safe to say that anyone can become a music producer if they have the desire to learn and a passion for music!

    • I think you said it best with “If someone has a desire to learn and has a passion for music!”  Yes, there are audio production programs and classes you can take that will be helpful, but you also need to develop the skills learned. It is my goal to provide helpful information to help us all grow.   

  3. This was an interesting read as I always thought that music producers had to study for years and have vaste experience in the music industry. Now it seems anybody can call themselves a producer, even me with my few invented tunes and tracks. However I think getting into the industry now is tough and you really need to have a lot of musical knowledge as well as a good ear. Getting your first few clients will also be tough until you have proven yourself. 

    • Today different genres of music use the term producer different.  Some beatmakers call themselves producers.  In effect music is being produced.  Traditionally, the music producer is the person with tons of experience, can wear many hats well, and is a huge asset to the artist they are working with.  The music business has never been easy to break into.  I think today it is perhaps easier than ever because we have so many tools available to us like, home recording studios, instant communication, and online learning resources to help us master our skills. 


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