Music Producer Salary

As is the case with most professions, the salary of a music producer varies according to a number of factors. These include the type of corporation or business for which a producer works, the location of that business, the visibility or prestige of a particular label for which a person produces, and the caliber of the recording artist in question. Salaries also vary depending on the education and experience of the producer.

Recent Salary Growth

The median salary of a music producer hovers around $50,000, give or take $500. According to Pay scale, this salary is 12% lower than the median salary for all jobs in the United States, which is just over $68,000 per year. The music production industry, however, has seen steady growth in recent years; in 2006, the median salary was $43,000, indicating an increase of $7,000 over just four years, which is equivalent to a 16% salary growth overall. Growth is expected to continue in the coming years, though the percentage may be somewhat diminished.

A Wide Range

An estimated median salary, of course, is not always the best indicator of what a music producer can potentially make in a year. Some producers who are just getting started, for example, can make as little as $20,000, while established producers working for reputable companies can make over $1 million each year. Some of the most famous producers are currently making over $50 million per year, but that is out of the ordinary. To a certain extent, salaries are also at the mercy of the music industry; the less an artist sells, the less a producer might make.

How Producers Are Paid

Music producers are paid in a number of ways. Some producers who work in-house for a record label or a certain studio will receive their salary in the typical American fashion, generally in the form of twice-monthly paychecks. Independent music producers are more likely to receive their payments on a per project basis, and will generally receive a percentage of this money in advance of the actual work. Some larger music labels will also keep in-demand producers on retainer, meaning the producer can sometimes be paid even if he or she is not currently working on a project, as long as they make themselves immediately available when necessary.

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Record Label Points

In addition to basic salaries and flat fees, music producers can also make money by receiving points, which amount to a percentage of the royalties on the album or track they are producing. For example, a producer who makes five points on an album will receive 5% of the albumís royalties. Some producers agree to reduce their requested fee in exchange for album or song points, which can often add up to a significantly bigger paycheck if the album is a hit.

Music producers can also charge more in production fees or request more points on a track or albumif they have an advanced degree in music production. Of course, those producers who have made a name for themselves in the business without a degree also have the grounds to charge more for their services based solely on the quality of their past work.

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