It is often quite hard to ascertain what someone means when they use the term music producer. So and so is a music producer someone will say or ‘Him! He’s not a music producer he’s an artist, no a musician’. The term seems to get banded round almost willy nilly and actually understanding what people mean when they use the term has become at best subjective and at worst plain wrong. There are some quite clear cut distinctions which can be drawn between different types of music producers as they can perform quite distinct jobs. However, on the whole they are all responsible for the recording of a piece of music, followed by the mixing and mastering of it. What are some of the different types of music producer in the business and what do they each do?
So sometimes people are both the artist or musician and their own producer. In doing so they will not only be recording and engineer the tracks but compose and perform everything themselves or with an accompanying band. Sometimes they can be the lead act but they can also provide the studio and all backing tracks to other featured artists. The latter often tends to lead to collaborations as more artists flock to record with a music producer like this who achieves success for themselves and others.
This type of producer will not be performing the music or singing but they will specialise on all of the technical aspects of the project. They will be more advanced in their understanding and use of technology and will be very much at home expanding their knowhow across brand new technologies which come out. They will generally have worked up through the business as engineers and it is their ability to combine this with some of the other tasks at hand as a producer which gives them the edge in the studio at least. Certain types of music such as electronic will often make use of more technically minded music producers by nature of their engineering prowess.
These types of producers will generally be the people budgeting the entire project. A famous example of an executive producer is Sean Combs who started as an artist and then moved into production. They will fulfil many quite managerial type roles and will often liaise with other people to provide the best deals without shirking on quality. They will act as intermediaries between artists and record labels and will deal with all of the financial things on behalf of the musicians. Generally speaking, you have to work your way up to being an executive producer as it is quite dependent on knowledge and experience as well as networking and developing a group of contacts. This is not to say how that they do not have technical knowledge of music production. On the contrary, they will have this in addition to the other skills they will have had to learn.