12 things you should know as a music producer


Yo, just wanted to share another dope article I came across visiting one of the sites I like to read…this one is from Lady The ProduHer over at Studio Noize

Check it out, and make sure you go over and show her some love!

article posted below:

Music is a strong force in our living! It dictates our moments, our artistry, and our vibe. As a music producer, we must first determine early on what our role is, and understand why we chose this path and what it takes for us to strive for overall excellence.

  1. Know what you want to achieve from making music. What genre you want to produce and perfect? Understand that ‘alternative, country or sampling’ may not be your thing, but your R&B piano skills are flawless. As music producers mainly produce tracks and record their artists these days, traditional producers may not only make music, but also oversee the project including budget, song selection, etc.
  2. Stop stealing music, software, ideas, etc. This creates a trickle down effect and results in the music mess we have going on today. This music production thing is not for everybody! Invest in yourself and know what you want from your music. Research and buy the best tools for you. Also when you buy, you are supporting the makers who keep us in supply of our favorite production tools. Please note: Karma is real! There’s no way you are expecting to sell music if you’re not buying any, right? There is certainly no way you are expecting support if you are not supporting others, right?
  3. Understand the difference between a music producer, composer, and arranger. The latter two are often knowledgeable in music theory and more than likely fluently play several instruments. As a music producer, it’s a super plus to have the same knowledge as an arranger and or composer; however, it’s not a must. But please don’t think because you throw together a few waveforms, or a boxed loop or sample makes you a music producer. To earn such a title, you need to put in work in all aspects of the term. Also note: many arrangers, composers, and songwriters are super music producers.
  4. I’ve said this one a trillion times: Thin skin, easily hurt feelings, and an over egotistical attitude are reasons you will fail before you are off the ground, especially these days in the midst of music madness. You’ll end up so quick in that big pond of little fish trying to make your way. Spend that high altitude of an attitude into creating good music, getting along, and understanding the business of a music producer.
  5. Just because someone doesn’t produce on the same type of gear you do, does not make them inferior to you. Stop bashing the gear of others, you may look up and find their tracks are hotter than yours!
  6. If your online conversation is always about you and the artists you are working with… that gets old. Support other producers and artists as well. Attend their shows, visit their pages, blogs, leave comments, and spark conversation. You never know what could come from it.
  7. A music producer has good ‘sound and production’ skills. Read that line again! You can’t just get away with producing a hot track to have it sound raggedy, out of tune, and over-processed. Take pride also in the vocals that go over your tracks. Just because an artist has skills may not mean they sound good over your productions. In other words, you can’t collab with just anybody. Music producers care deeply about the end-product of their pieces.
  8. Your reputation, credibility and reliability sticks with you. Practice what you preach. Meet deadlines, appointments, meetings, and studio sessions in a timely manner. Return emails and phone calls. The opportunities you ignore could be a goldmine for the next one. Maintain professionalism when it is appropriate including avoiding Twitter/Facebook brawls which are commonly ill marketing tactics these days. Understand that your conversation goes a long way in interviews. The person that fans you could very well be the one that prevented you from obtaining that platinum record status.
  9. Build a catalog of quality music, and have it ready to present at all times. The keyword here is ‘quality’ meaning your good stuff. Don’t present anything you have to make excuses for. Be cautious of who you are presenting to. Research the person and or company that is interested in hearing your catalog. Not just anybody should have that opportunity. It’s also a good idea to have at least 5 albums ready.
  10. Producing music is a business. It involves various contracts, agreements, copyrights, invoices, royalties, publishing, and licensing. You must have a strong knowledge of these areas to function successfully as a music producer. You should also have an attorney on hand.
  11. Too proud to beg? You shouldn’t be. Ask for what you want. Reach out to your goals. Very few have them just show up at their front door. The same applies with asking questions to help you sift through your process. If you don’t know, it’s okay. Find someone you are comfortable with that can mentor you. Someone you trust to guide you. There is nothing ignorant in searching for clarity. The ignorance only remains when you don’t.
  12. Listen to various types of music, old and new, across genres, your grandmother’s music, your parent’s music, and your children’s music. Gain an appreciation for your favorite styles, and not so favorite. Collect various types of music and listen closely to the instrumentation, the vocals, and the elements that pulled the pieces together. This will make you aware of aspects of the music making process and an appreciation of the art. Having knowledge of a wide field of music just makes you another great asset to the music production industry.

See the original article here and leave her some feedback: http://www.studionoize.com/2010/10/11/12-things-you-should-know-as-a-music-producer#comment-2531

let me know what you think below


  1. Hey man, I agree with all of the point mentioned here. Especially the bits about paying for software, I think it is fair to say a few of us are guilty of this.

    Thanks for posting this man, I have shared it on with others as I feel it is very helpful.

    • @ElRazur, Very good words indeed. I have some students who have not paid for software.. Then Get upset when They get no support for problems.. I have Finally turned them around..
      Also Yes Be Very open to all styles of music..

        • I know a lot of people steal things and say “for educational purposes”… i think they have a point there…keep the experience to yourself. If somebody calls for someone with experience say you have it.
          I see this like volunteer experience instead of [your daily job/paid experience], because there’s no way on earth you’ll land a job inside an albeit recycle plant without physical (body work) or mental (studying) experience.

          but like don’t use the pirated or even demo software to sell your music. If You’re not allowed to, you’re not allowed! Point taken.

          Like Fl studio consists of you buying the product, so buy the product and you’re allowed to share your content then.

          If you pirate software, that’s like stealing your neighbor’s lawn grass and making some artistic bouquet of something out of it to show your capabilities to bypassers. It just doesn’t work that way. Buy your own copy of lawn grass and make your thingamajig after.

    • this could’t have helped me more. taught me some things that i will take into consiteration.sound like you know what you are talking about. preshade dat bruh! !

  2. This is a great article! These principles should be applied by producers of all styles and genres; It takes a lot of work to make a piece of music that people will want to listen to over and over again in any style of music…

  3. I like the part about equipment because if you have skills it won’t matter what latest piece of technology you have you can make music and with no skills it wouldn’t matter if you had a million dollar studio.

    • @RevelaShaun68, yessir! I’m still trying to get my iPad studio setup man, I need me an iPad so I can get my beatmaker skills up like you lol.

      I really want one man, it’s the ultimate portable beat making device.

      iPad fasho!!

  4. you know its kinda funny that she said support the software because a while back all i did was pirate every piece of software I used but nowdayz I just go with freeware and save until I can afford new stuff.
    she has good info in these tips

  5. Thanx alot.i love reading good articals on the music bizz..the thing i was on point with, is when it read(dont be little some ones gear)thats so true.cause i have been in studios where this guy has all this shit,yet gets out done by a guy with lil.of nothing,and a dream.

  6. ON POINT!

    As always Saint, you keep the Time and Meter of OUR modern music scene. Couldn’t agree more with most all your points; especially regarding “Stop Stealing…”! Karma is Real and if anyone doesn’t believe it, I have three powerful examples to share with ya’ll!

  7. I remember when rappers put their rhymes together artistically and sounded good because they had that voice rappers are like singers people don’t know this but if your voice don’t sound good it does not matter how good the flow is you have to have a good voice over a good beat rap needs to progress to more complex arrangements instead of just some 2-8 bar loop and a sample.

    (add on and most of these raps sound like a 1st grader wrote them.)

    • @Mehdo, I hear ya, but a dope rapper can make a simple beat into a dope song, it’s not so much the arrangements, it’s the lyrics, many go with what sells and what sells is simple…you can still find folks with dope lyrics, and complex rhyme patterns, you just gotta look for it.

      and a 2-8 bar loop with a sample isn’t exactly what’s popular at the moment, it’s more of the synth pop stuff… I still say a dope emcee plus a dope/simple beat that’s executed well makes for a dope song.

  8. #2 “Stop stealing…Invest in yourself and know what you want from your music.”

    It wasn’t until I deleted all my stolen software and focused on the stuff I owned that I progressed. It “forced” me to really learn what I already owned as oppossed to looking for the next VST that will be perfect me. It also allowed me to concentrate more on making music than what the latest & greatest is. Along the way I discovered I’m just a simple producer with not many needs. Often less is more.

    • @awol9000, dope response man, and I feel that. I often go through periods where I “cleanse” the stuff I own, down to stuff that I only use often, and focus on learning those tools instead of just having a large collection of stuff I may use once or twice.

  9. word article is dope . The issue about piracy I am on the fence with this one. Software companies need to price their goods reasonably some of them are ridiculous in there pricing , and really you don’t get any bang for your buck ( excuse the pun). I was on a forum and there was debate about a certain software company that makes DAW – Reaper . Peeps came to the consensus that they will not pirate it as it reasonably price and they would rather help fund it future developments. I for one support that . peace out bro keep up the good work

    • @Funk Bandit, man, that argument is so wack it’s hilarious, I hate when people say that. Why not go tell BMW you think their vehicle is priced too high, so you’re just gonna take it? How about that nice house you want? You don’t agree with the prices so you should be able to just have it? There is no fence on piracy, it’s stealing, if you don’t like the price to use a piece of software, and you don’t feel it’s worth the price, then guess what? Don’t use it lol. Anyone who makes the claim that piracy is okay because they don’t agree with price is more than a little off in their outlook on things. Though I may not agree with the price of a Roland Fantom X6, I wish it was much cheaper…I don’t run up in Guitar Center to take one lol.

      • @saintjoe, yo thats so funny 🙂 all the analogy you are using point to quality items Lets take the BMW example it is well built and i know for one it justifies tag its price cos it is superb .If you were refer to my comment I said some them are over inflated. I for one don’t use pirate software as most of them have viruses and can mess up your system and have too many bugs. The fact still remains as long as broadband exist million people will download pirate unless something is done to encourage people to buy in a legit way. The companies tried everything creating iloks dongle , you name it , that has not deter peeps from doing . Some other approach is needed Reaper seem to be on that track ,I dont think it was fluke that it topped the poll on Computer music’s Best DAW voting.

        • @Funk Bandit, no, the truth is, people who don’t want to pay, won’t, no matter what companies do. Reaper tops the list because it’s free, even though it’s a cheap price, many just run the demo without limitations. The fact remains, it’s stealing, if a person doesn’t like the price of something, they are free not to use it, but not free to steal it, what we think about prices doesn’t justify theft of the item we feel is over priced, that was my point. Reaper is awesom for sure, but it’s a choice, just like you can buy a Lexus, or a Camary, both good cars, many will even say they are the same, or do the same thing. No matter how I feel, I can’t demand they sell me a Lexus for the price of a Camry or I’ll just take it…lol, so nah, the price argument always gets me, it really just doesn’t make sense at all lol. I know people who hate iloks, but they don’t pirate their software, they just don’t buy software that uses an ilok…simple. So if we don’t think a software or plugin is worth x amount…guess what? We don’t have to buy it lol.But to pirate it means a person thinks the software is useful, they just don’t want to buy it…

          • @saintjoe, there is a moral issue here i agree but you cannot say the software companies are without fault. I know of many top producers who have used pirate software for e.g take cubase there are some people who have a legit copy but still prefer to use a pirate copy on their laptop etc because of their impossible usb. Another company is spectrasonic they charge you a percentage for license if decide to sell of your software on at a later date . That is just pure greed imagine lexus asking you a percentage when you decide to sell it after a few years would you be happy with that? So software cannot take the moral high ground , if you are going to appeal people conscience , then you have to do doing right yourselves. At the end of the day we leave in a society where we are governed by greed and wanting ! Most people will not want to shell out lots of money for something when they know can have it for free , that is just a fact of how it is . The reaper eg is the first I have seen where people are saying no to it been pirated, even well known crackers, are saying they will not crack because they believe in the message they company conveying. That is proof enough that you can appeal top people sense of judgement . I believe in paying for mine and some companies do excellent products NI, Reaper hence I only use them in my productions . I am just playing devil advocate here

            • @Funk Bandit, lol…the argument has no merit, theft is theft no matter how you look at it or how you feel about it. I don’t care that “top producers” steal software, does that somehow make it right? They don’t want to pay for it, period. If they don’t like the copy protection a specific software uses, they are free to use another software, but obviously they like the software they are using, so pay for it.

              let me clarify, I really think what Reaper does is awesom, I always suggest them as an option for people on a budget, its awesome, but that’s their thing, and yes there are still people who don’t pay for Reaper, if you think there aren’t you’re fooling yourself. Crackers don’t need to “crack” Reaper because it’s available to use freely without limits lol, what will they crack? Nothing! They just use it for free unlimited lol.

              And the impossible usb? I’ve never had a problem with my steinberg key, I use one for Halion Sonic…it sits there lol, so because I may not want that on my laptop I should just crack the software? Nah…sorry, that don’t fly, there’s no justification here.

              It’s like anything in life, if you can’t afford it, then you don’t get to use it. Only in the software world to people feel they have an entitlement to use something without paying for it lol…like it’s their right to use it because they feel it’s too expensive so they can just crack it.

              Spectrasonics charging you a fee to transfer a license is hardly extortion lol.

              Yes there will always be pirating, the problem is, it effects companies bottom line and that in turn effects development, updates, or even the availability.

              The truth is, those who want to use pirated software or cracks will, no matter what “appeal” companies make. If Logic or Pro Tools took the Reaper route, you think you’d have more people paying for it? No, you’d have more people using it for free unlimited like they do with Reaper.

              • @saintjoe,dude lets get one thing straight I am not on some personal crusade of justifying piracy ! its of no benefit to me (dont know about you ) . with re: cubase you totally missing the point I have had first hand experience on how tedious and fustrating the dongle could be . If yours works fine then lucky you but others have had major headache . You might have on a tunnel view on “this theft is theft etc” probably due to your affiliation with software companies . I don’t buy into your story that some of these companies are without fault in all this .I know this believe it or not but they are companies out there that are purposely make their program easy to crack so it can be readily available more people using that way create more brand awareness . Logic, Propellerhead just to name a few. Your life eg does not only apply software user if something is expensive and has a bit of kudos people would want to get their hands on it to see what the fuss is about human instinct . That is we have a massive increase counterfieting luxury goods software is no exception. With regards to your thinking that it ok for spectrasonic to charge ? then that just contradiction because it not about the money it is the principle of it all . If you are going on sit on a moral perch then surely you should be able to see that it is wrong of charge someone twice for something they have paid for. Piracy will not be totally eradicated because they are always going to be someone out there who would want top pay no matter what the circumstances .But Software can a do lot more to make getting the products the proper way a more viable option.

                • @Funk Bandit, sorry bro, my “affiliation” with software companies? How about…I just don’t believe in theft…is it really that hard to believe? Why any time someone choose to go against the norm, against the grain, they have to be accused of some “affiliation” lol.

                  Yes I have tunnel vision on stealing, sorry…I’m not the only one either. Spectrasonics charges a fee for transferring of the license, ilok does the same, it’s a service fee.

                  Many brick and mortar companies charge you a restocking fee after you paid and get a refund, they keep a percentage of your money lol, it’s not that unusual, it’s a fee. I understand people have had issues with dongles…that’s fine, but it still doesn’t justify stealing. Just use a software that doesn’t use a dongle lol…There are a lot of things I don’t agree with, a lot of pricing I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean I can just steal it, that’s my thing. If I can’t afford it I can’t afford it, period.

                  There’s this attitude in regards to software (not you specifically, speaking in general) that just because you don’t like the price, or the copy protection, or how BIG a company is, it makes it okay to steal it. It’s not right, it’s wrong.

                  Think what you want about me, but I don’t support piracy, I don’t think there’s a gray area, and this has nothing to do with my so called “affiliation” (whatever that means lol) and has everything to do with not supporting theft. I don’t support people who steal goods from stores and try to sell it for lower prices, I don’t support bootleg dvds, etc…stealing is stealing, no matter how many ways people try to justify it.

                  So I’m not speaking about you directly, I’m speaking in general to the ideas behind piracy and the “reasoning” people use to justify it. I don’t see folks running up in Sam Ash and running out with a V Synth just because they feel “it costs too much” lol. You say that’s a quality product, but so is much of the software on the market, it’s just a different perception, I think it has much to do with the generation we’re in and how everything is just so readily available online, information isn’t regarded as a product by many, that’s why I think this is such a huge debate. It’s not really tangible, so somehow folks find it easier to justify.

                  I don’t look down on anyone that supports it, I just don’t support it and will speak my opinion about it. I’m also not saying I never used a “shared”, “borrowed” or “cracked” software, I most definitely have in the past, but I don’t try to justify my actions, I was wrong! I will always encourage folks to either buy legit software or use the freeware available, which is plentiful. I know many who don’t agree with the pricing of software and use nothing but freeware products, entirely.

                  I know it’s not going to end, but that doesn’t mean I have to support it and say it’s “okay”, I just don’t think it is.

                • @saintjoe, Funny I said something of this the other day! I was speaking with a drum/engineering student of mine. All these Issues he was having with his Software.
                  I asked did you buy that? He said no It’s a Cracked Copy.. Well I told him you shall Just have to Deal with it.You get no Support on That stuff man.. He got Kind of upset with me.. But I told Buy a real Cubase Copy and then you can Moan about stuff…He ordered that yesterday haha!!!!!!!!

                • @Sim-one, Also please keep things Mellow on here..
                  That was starting to sound harsh..We are all Funky Fun loving Folks.. So Keep on doing your Music and smile!

                • @Sim-one, oh @ Funk Bandit has been here a long time, he knows we just having convo lol, noting personal, nothing I said was meant to sound harsh and I’m sure he feels the same…we just like to discuss things around here, we all family!!

                • @Sim-one, yeah man lol, I hear ya…I really think it’s a thing on how we regard information/intellectual property these days….people really don’t see anything wrong with it.

                • @saintjoe, dont worry bro no offence taken I like the fact we can air our differences out without any malice or prejudice , with topics like these you have to be thick skinned cos people have got hardcore views on it and it can sometimes hit close to the bone. As part of my course this is the topic I am writing a paper on, so a constructive convo is all good. On this one SJ, we just have to agree to disagree. Peace out

                • @Funk Bandit, yep, that’s what this place is all about, most of the time online I see folks resort to name calling and personal attacks on forums, etc. and I wanted to provide a place where people can exchange discussion, disagree, get emotional, and not feel like they will be attacked, etc.

                  That’s why I truly appreciate you and every single person that visits this site, because you are involved and it’s you all that make this site what it is 🙂

                  Cool on the paper too man! Let me know when it’s done, it may be a good topic to post for open discussion 🙂

                • @saintjoe, Thanks bro nuff respect to you to for the site 🙂 believe me it is one of the top one for content.Your commitment is superb and I know not only me but all of us do appreciate your effort ,drive , reviews and tutorials. I will let you know .peace out

  10. Theres really some good things on here.
    Especially being open to different music genres.
    I mean really, how can you really produce music, without trying to appreciate different types of it?

    Great stuff. Thanks for posting.

    By the way, just found out about this place…nice stuff you have here!

  11. You know what saintjoe….i only listened hip hop till today….but after reading this article….i’ll listen to every type of music….im agree with the 12 point of this article….may be this will help me to improve my production skill….

  12. St. Joe, I really appreciate your site man. I’ve been visiting for awhile and decided to start replying cuz I love what you’re doing man, that’s what’s up loll

    Great advice, especially for a new producer like me, and much love to the Lady as well.

  13. Hi, just wondering, how common is it for a music producer to receive lyrics from someone else (thats not copyrighted) and just take them as their own? What about for an established respected music producer to do this? Are intellectual rights respected or not?

    • It doesn’t matter if it’s hardware or software, if you wish to use it, you save up for it and buy what you want. Luckily, there are a lot of free options in music software and instruments, so you don’t have to wait until you can afford everything you want to make music still.

  14. George Moeketsana lebitsa · Edit

    I like your straight forwardness and yes its very true what u are sharing with us, thank u so much and im applying all of them straight away, big up man

  15. Lol paying is 100% a personal thing. I wouldn’t have gotten started for quite a bit after I first had the urge to make music had I not pirated FL studio when I was 15. If you wanna make music and can’t pay for the software, pirate the shit out of that motherfucker. Why in the world would u save up for something u can get for free?

    • Yeah you’re right, stealing is a totally personal decision lol. Why save up for a car either? Or a house, clothes, or anything else you want? Just steal it all! Makes perfect sense right? Smh. If you can’t afford it do something else or use free (not stolen) software until you can. There’s no justification for stealing.

      • Lol, stop with the weak analogies to substantiate your point. You and I both know very well that there is a big difference between a teenager pirating some software b/c you want to make music and a criminal who steals cars. I know plenty of pretty talented producers who got started off of pirating a software off the net. As long as you’re willing to deal with the fact that you can’t say shit if it fucks up, you’re good to go. But preach on any infrequently-visited site you want man, it’s not going to change a thing.

        • It’s stealing, period. Taking something you didn’t pay for because you want to use it but can’t afford it is stealing. Your age doesn’t change that.

      • The “music mess” you speak of has nothing to do with some broke guys pirating DAW software, it comes from people who don’t care about the music that much/aren’t talented.

        • I didn’t write this article. If you read you’d see I shared this article from a site I used to visit years ago lol. I agree theta plenty without talent as well. But piracy is a huge issue in the industry. I know many companies in this industry and yes piracy hurts. To many feel entitled to take software but wouldn’t take anything physical. The perception that because it’s dictate it didn’t matter is false.

  16. All of you saying buy and support the software developers are stupid go ahead and spend all your money on some shit you will never make a hit offtake a look at Jahlil Beats he’s at the top of the game and i know for a fact he doesn’t pay for the sounds and he will admit it lets be real Lex Luger and 808 mafia didn’t purchase most of their shit when they first started producing my point is that everybody doesn’t have hundreds and thousands to invest in shit that will be upgraded and outdated in the next 2 years so i guess they should give up on their dreams?But anyway i just want to let these fools know P.S The Sound Jacker

    • The folks saying “don’t be a thief” are dumb? Yeah…that makes a lot of sense lol. Just because someone has success illegally doesn’t mean it’s the route to take. Those same people stealing software to “make hits” would be the first one’s complaining if they didn’t get paid for a beat they made, pretty ironic. I’m sure you expect a check when you go to work? I highly doubt you work for free. If someone can’t afford a car, should they steal it? No, they should get a job and work for it like anyone else. Or use an alternate mode of transportation. People these days feel they are entitled to whatever they want without working for it, it’s sad really. It doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of dollars to make music, and there’s plenty of quality stuff available for free, problem is people don’t want that, they want what everyone else is paying for without paying for it smh.

  17. Master Phonic SA · Edit

    That is true marn i just came across this when i was searching for something else nd i found it very important expecially listerning to a viarity of music which help you sharpin your listerning skills.

  18. Yea tanks for d article… But am really having problem in improveing my working skills… How do i get help plsssss. I have passion for music production….. #i need help


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