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A man in a white jacket sitting in a music studio. A man in a white jacket sitting in a music studio.

What is a music producer?

2 min read

Understand the role a music producer plays in the recording process.

A music producer is a person who coordinates the recording process.

A , sometimes called a studio producer, record producer, or just producer, typically helps an create a . A music producer is usually responsible for the entire recording process and can sometimes receive a share of the income earned by the sound recording. Music producers work or as employees of a .

Note, the term music producer can sometimes mean two different things: either the person in the studio as described above or the owner of the sound recording, legally known as the producer - which can be that same person who is the music producer but might also be a company, typically a record label.

What rights does a music producer have?

Depending on the role of the music producer and who owns the sound recording - the artist, the music producer, or the record label - a music producer's rights will vary.

If you are a music producer and not employed by a record label, the most common scenario is to pay you a for your work, and sometimes also a percentage of generated from the use of the sound recording, which is usually taken from the artist's share of the sound recording royalties. That royalty share is also known as , and typically, one point is equal to one percent of the royalties earned from the sound recording.

If you work as a music producer employed by a record label, you are paid for your work through your salary, so you do not own any share of the sound recordings.

Artists can split their royalties with a music producer, and for , it is also common to share ownership of the sound recordings with the music producers. Our page on Sound Recording Splits explores this in more detail.

If you are a music producer, you might also have additional roles. For example, it's very common for music producers to collaborate with other types of , such as or etc., and create a beat, melody, rap, or lyrics that become part of the . If you are such a music producer, you might also be recognized and as a songwriter in addition to your producer role. You might then own a percentage share of the in the musical work. There are no standard rules for these situations; this is all subject to negotiation with the other songwriters.

Find out more about how this works in the Songwriting topic.

Video Credit: Tiffany Orvet, Daniel Sundström, Eric Ivar Persson, Christine Miller, Nikki Skelly, Jeff Noble, Tony Bollas, Kelly Wright, Oasis Nguyen, Tobias Leo Nordquist, Ponny Höijer, William Engström, Parapix