Music producers work independently (freelance) or for a record company (usually referred to as a label). When working independently, they may be hired by a label for a project or they may bring their own artists to the attention of industry executives. Although many producers work in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, many cities across the country have vibrant music scenes. Wherever there are recording studios and musicians, there will be a need for producers.
Postsecondary training in audio and recording technology will provide a strong basis for getting a job in music production, or at least in the music industry. Most training programs offer job placement assistance for their graduates, and record labels that are looking for producers frequently post job openings at these schools. Some of the larger record labels offer highly competitive and much sought-after internships in music recording. Students who finish an internship for a major record label will have a high success rate in finding employment. A job in any capacity with a record label, an independent producer, or in a recording studio would be worthwhile just to get your foot in the door. Many major labels prefer to hire only producers who have first worked independently.
To find a job as a music producers you have to be aggressive in canvassing the record companies and related businesses by telephone and mail to seek out entry-level jobs. Leads to jobs in the industry can also come through studying trade publications. These include Billboard (http://www.billboard.com), Variety (http://www.variety.com), Mix (http://mixonline.com), and Down Beat (http://downbeat.com).
Music producers advance as they continually produce projects that are successful, if not commercially, then to the satisfaction of the musicians and record label. There is no limit to where a successful music producer may go. Music producers already have a high degree of responsibility with a record label, as their work is directly reflected in the sales and profits of a recording. Producers who consistently produce profit-making hits will constantly be in high demand and will have the luxury of choosing labels and artists. Independent producers are already their own bosses, but if they are exceptionally good, record companies may want to put them under contract. Similarly, producers with record companies may see a brighter future as independent producers.
Within a major record label, producers could become heads of any of several departments, but they are most directly in line for the directorship or vice presidency of the A&R department. Depending on their talents and career goals, producers might also move into sales, publicity and public relations, advertising, marketing, or promotion. Some producers, whose sound or style is particularly sought after, may go on to start their own recording studios.
Read Mix (https://www.mixonline.com) and Pro Sound News (https://www.prosoundnetwork.com) to learn more about the field.
Join the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services and the Audio Engineering Society to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Use social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments, network, and learn about job openings.