Music Producer Salary

Name: Meghan Gohil
Job Title: Music Producer
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Employer: Owner of Hollywood Recording Studio
Years of Experience: 20+
Education: Masters in Media Communication / Audio Engineering, Webster University
Salary: A Music Producer's salary can range from $20,000 to over $1 million per year

Music Producer Salary

Becoming a music producer sounds exciting to many young people, but they just don't know how to get started. Having produced and engineered top rock acts, Meghan Gohil is the perfect subject to ask about a music producer career and a music producer salary. In this interview, Meghan recalls his path to becoming a music producer, discusses the salary of a music producer and explains the actual role of a music producer. If you've ever wondered about embarking upon a music producer career or the elusive numbers behind a music producer salary, this is a must-read interview!

recording studio 

(Photo Credit: Alessandro Bonvini/Flickr)

Music Producer Job Description:

The first step is to listen to the band's material and pick the best songs. During this phase, you're looking for both commercial tracks (the elusive "hit song") as well as album tracks. The band and producer (me) will run through the songs over the course of a few rehearsals – they'll hammer out arrangement ideas, look for areas where instrument parts are clashing, and ways to make the song more memorable or catchy. After the arrangements are fleshed out, then the band is ready to record. I will pick time at a recording studio to track the basic tracks.

Each track is an instrument – for example, you'll have a track for a vocal, another one for guitar, bass, cymbals, snare drum, kick drum, etc.... Then they'll go through and add the overdubs – usually vocal tracks, guitars, etc, as well as "ear candy." The next step in the process is mixing – adjusting volumes and effects on each individual track and producing a stereo mix. This stereo mix is then taken to the mastering house, where the final "sweetening" is put on – specific tones are eq'd out to make the mix less harsh, and compression is added to "glue" the mix together.

How did you become a music producer?

I recorded my own bands back in high school. When I was in college, a friend of mine asked me to mix his band at a local gig. I told him I had no idea what I was doing, but he said, "You already know more than our sound guy" – that got me started doing front-of-house mixing at different clubs around St. Louis. During this time I continued recording bands, ones that I was playing in and people from other bands that would approach me to record them. I used whatever equipment we had – I recorded one band straight to cassette – and it ended up selling somewhere over 1,000 copies.

After I graduated from college, I decided that I wanted to study recording a bit more, so I enrolled in the Masters of Media Communication at Webster University in St. Louis. They have a really good audio department headed by Barry Hufker, who is a wizard at classical remote recording. My thesis advisor was Bill Porter, who was Elvis Presley's engineer on all of his work at the RCA label. Barry gave me great advice in terms of recording techniques, and Bill impressed upon me the importance of doing everything I could to make a session sound great.

Who are some of the musical artists that you have produced?

My music producer credits include Chloe Day, Apryl Lauren and Brad Booker (drummer for Gravity Kills). My mixing credits include Lol Tolhurst (co-founder of The Cure). I have engineered Trey Anastasio (Phish), Robert Randolph, Warren Haynes (The Dead, The Allman Bros, Govt Mule), Joan Osborne and Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), Robert Randolph and Blake Shelton.

Can you recall any memorable moments from your music producer career?

Back in college, I figured out how to hide when they locked the studio so I could squeeze in a few more hours of studio time after the security guards had made their rounds. One day I made the mistake of not waking up in time before they opened it first thing in the morning – the assistant studio manager caught me and flipped her lid. Luckily, the head of the department was a bit more understanding – he said: "Don't ever do that again ... but when you do, just make sure you don't get caught."

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a music producer?

For people that are interested in this career, the first thing is to be a music fan – develop your record collection. Listen to all the songs; listen to the songs that were No. 1 and figure out why they went there. Listen to all types of music – country, rock, pop, jazz, hip-hop, etc., and figure out what the made the great songs great. Listen to the not-so-great songs and figure out what could have made them stronger.

Play in a band – this will help with the arrangement part, and will also educate you in terms of dealing with the pressures that the artist faces from fans, the road, etc.... Go to clubs and listen to lots of bands; record every chance you get. Offer to help bands with their recordings. Don't worry about putting your own stamp on the recordings – help the artist to achieve their vision and capture their sound accurately.

What is the average music producer salary?

The job salary for a music producer is peanuts to caviar. You start off recording stuff for free. Once you get good enough, people will start paying you for your time. On the low end, $20,000 per year; on the high end – over $1 million a year.

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  1. 15 Damian 16 May
    Ok im a sophomore in high school but i've been making music for at least 3 or 4 years now i do rap to hip hop and i wanted to know how much i would make after doing this for 6 or 7 years
  2. 14 Matthew Tucker 06 Apr
    what subject should you take in high school to help you become a music producer and carry it on as a career?
  3. 13 Anthony Roberts 19 Sep
    Thank you for this information, i am an artist/producer and after 15 years of making my own music, as well as working with other artist, i want to ask you... What's the best way to make the transition from local artist/producer to actually having a career. I make all types of music and could make alot of things happen if i had the opportunity.
  4. 12 Samantha Fischer 08 Sep
    I'm 18, a senior in high school, and I would like to start recording like you said. What exact recording instrument would you suggest for recording bands at concerts etc.?
  5. 11 abdi kabiro 02 Sep
    i want to be a music producer i just dont know where to start im 16 years old and i just thought about being a music producer and i have a long way to go but one thing about me i dont give up i hope i make it one day
  6. 10 NCS 30 Jul
    I would say if you enjoy it do it for yourself, not for the money, but for the enjoyment of creating something. That is pretty rewarding in the end.
  7. 9 Nae Nae00 06 May
    hey I just wanted to ask how much do you need to become a music producer ?
  8. 8 zombieali 04 May
    this is kind of a stupid question how do i get started making music if i dont have the money to get the equipment i need to do it
  9. 7 katrina 07 Apr
    I'm 16 and for as long as I can remember I have loved music and have always dreamed of having a music career. I am not the best singer but I have an ear for a good catchy beat & love writing song lyrics. I want a career I can truly enjoy and music is the one thing that makes me happy and can make me feel free to express myself. The only problem is I know what it feels like be that family living pay check to pay check. Needless to say more, my goal is to make good money to where I can support myself and later in life (if I had to) my kids on my own without worrying about if I'm gonna have enough money to pay the bills and support myself and my (future) children. From a professional point of view, what is your advice?
  10. 6 Bill 11 Feb
    I am an American music producer working in Asia. Out here, us producers can make about $10,000 USD lowest to $200,000 USD highest, if you're really famous. I'm now currently thinking of changing careers, because I found out that pop singers out here get paid way, way more money for doing way, way less work!!!
  11. 5 Callyfornication 26 Nov
    I think that the amount of time required is preposterous... But the salary is fair... Alas i would never consider the position, as tedious as is (note the sarcasm)... Forgive me if i have offended anyone... Still, I believe everyone has an opinion and I was therefore just stating mine... For any questions I am available @ creative arts college... As pompous as I may seem I am actually a very nice guy... Be sure to enjoy your day... every last one of tu (Le français)...
  12. 4 Shirley Aguilera 16 Nov
    Thanks for you for your insight. I was recently referred to as a producer as I'm yet catching up on the vocabulary of the music industry; I Googled "producer". Peanuts is true, but I get a lot of personal satisfaction in my role of bringing people together to create a beautiful product called music :)
  13. 3 Issac 09 Sep
    I want to make music like Deadmou5 or Skrillex.. Electronic music
  14. 2 Will Bishop 29 Aug
    I have to do a project in my English class on the career I want in the future. I need to interview someone in this area of work. May I ask you a few questions to help me in is project? I will use your name and make sure it is known that you are the person I am interviewing.
  15. 1 Janee 14 Jan

    I love music so much have since I was a kid. I have always wanted to go on a stage and sing and I still might, but I have found that as I get older I am able to here music around me and I can take songs apart and see what they actually mean. I want to be a music producer for all the right reasons to find 'REAL' talent and not looks, but 'REAL' people who can sing or whatever they do. I hate how now at days everything in the music industry is so 'FAKE' nothing is 'REAL' about someone who has a pretty face, but can't sing or who don't have talent.




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