There are two answers to this. Let’s take a look at the ‘not so fun’ one. This being the more ‘business-y’ answer. Think of a music producer like the director of a film. At the end of the day, it’s the producer’s responsibility to deliver a completed record to the artist or label that has hired them. The producer is responsible for hiring musicians, ensuring everyone gets paid, sourcing the mixer, and attending to the scheduling and completion of mastering. All those really fine points. They overlook all aspects of the process to ensure successful execution.
That’s the boring ‘business’ answer. You are just the head honcho overlooking everything and turn in the finished product at the end of the day.
The more ‘fun’ answer is the ‘creative’ one. What does a producer do outside all of the ‘business-y’ stuff? I believe a producer’s job is to take the artists vision of a song or an entire album and to morph it from ‘concept to reality.’ It is to help them achieve something that may be their lifelong dream. The duty of a producer is to help the artist translate the music that’s in their head and to be able to make it come to life; whether that is playing an instrument or bringing in skilled musicians to cultivate a particular sound that the artist envisions.
You guide the artist step by step towards achieving their vision, and then take it and amplify it by sprinkling in some of your own artistic sensibilities to enhance the end product. You want to develop the artist and assist them in achieving things that they thought were never possible. That is what makes being a producer so much fun. It’s seeing the outcome when you arrive at the end of the process. There is nothing better at the end of the day than sitting back with the artist, listening to the final mix and looking at each other thinking ‘we made that!’ That’s kind of cool.
It is a great job to have. You’ve got the ‘business-y’ definition but latch on to the second one…the more ‘creative’ one. That is where all the fun is!
If there is anything you would like to add please feel free to let me know in the comments below.