So, you have written a song and it is amazing (of course)… now what? Chances are that you are looking for a music producer to work with, who can turn your song from a demo into a masterpiece. Regardless of whether you have released 20 songs or never released a song in your life, you should always be looking for the right music producer to work with. So, you may be asking how to find a music producer. Well, strap in – for the next few minutes I am going to tell you exactly how to find a music producer, plus some do’s and don’ts when looking or reaching out to them.
The first step to take is to find some songs within your genre that you like and do some digging.
Unfortunately, not all artists or streaming platforms etc are transparent about who has performed a certain role on a song. However, with enough looking around on social media platforms, or even asking the artist, you can find out pretty easily. Although, If you are digging around on a song by Rihanna then you are possibly looking in the wrong places!
Those producers are the elite, and even contacting them would be hard enough. So, go a level down, and if that is still too hard, go a level down from that. You will soon get some responses from some talented people. It can’t hurt to look at the artists you love (that aren’t mega famous) and ask who the producer was.
Genre-specific producers are great. If I was a country artist and I needed a producer for my next song, and there was a choice between an expert in country music production who charges $1,000 or a multi-genre producer who only charges $600, I would definitely go for the more expensive (but far more competent and brilliant) expert every time.
Recording studios can be a great place to find a music producer to work with. Not only can you see what sort of environment you might be working in, but they may have a portfolio that suits your work and/or has multiple producers for you to choose from. This way, you could end up with a perfect fit of recording space and producer.
Googling ‘how to find a music producer’ and struggling with the options?
There are platforms dedicated to only finding audio and music professionals. When you are using places like this, you have a whole load of filters you can use. These include budget, genre, reviews, location etc. This could therefore be a good way of getting an idea of the quality of producer available to you within your budget and genre (and location if you are not looking for remote production).
Music Gateway has a global online marketplace to connect with other creators, such as producers. With the online file sharing and storage capabilities, this also makes it easier to collaborate remotely. The specialist that you need could be waiting. Why not post a project and see who you can connect with?
In terms of other platforms, SoundBetter.com is probably the best known, but NoiseCreators.com is a great platform too. Do some research, make a list, and get in touch with the ones that fit your criteria.
I usually like to think that there are no rules when it comes to creativity, but please heed my advice here…
Don’t ever book someone just because they are cheap! You WILL NOT get the results that you want… it is as simple as that. If you need to save up a bit, then do so. Start taking yourself seriously and give your music the attention and care it deserves. I have known artists who have booked a ‘cheap’ producer and ended up paying 10x that in re-recording parts, re-mixing the song, re-mastering etc. and STILL not being happy with the results. In some cases, they ended up not even releasing the song anyway. For some artists, it has put them off working on the song again because they are exhausted by the whole process.
For some artists, it has put them off recording for life because they are so distrustful of what someone has done to their song. What a waste of time, energy, talent and resources! Your song is your baby and your prized possession. In finding the right producer, you are finding the right carer for it. Would you give your most prized possession to the person that you KNOW is an expert and will give it the attention it deserves? Especially if the previous things they have looked after are great, and they end up making it EVEN MORE prized?
This person may charge say $650, or you could try the person that can ‘look after’ many different things, but you have never heard of them or the things they have looked after before. Say the things they look after are okay, and they only charge £90? You should be going for the expert EVERY time.
“But I can’t afford it.”
I totally get it – experts are expensive. I have been an artist without a ton of resources. Want to know what I did? I saved up and waited to work with the right person!
If you are eager for your fans to get something new from you, then release SOMETHING. Spend a day recording live versions of your songs, film a stop-motion video for your last release, do some social media stories, write a blog, write a new song every day and unashamedly share it with your mailing list or followers. Like I said, you are a creative, so get creative and give people some content!
I often hear the complaint that producers, mix engineers, mastering engineers or studios are too expensive. This it not a good enough excuse to not be creating and sharing your talent with the world. Especially as it is now easier than ever with social media consumption.
You need to make sure that you and the producer you end up working with are on the same wavelength. Not only musically, but with personality too. You will be working together on something creative and important, so you want to make sure your experience matches that.
Once you have established whether you get on with them and if they are on the same wavelength regarding your vision, then you need to talk about more specific things. Here are some questions to ask your prospective producer:
This one is easy. Simply ask “Can I have a quote for this project based on what we have already discussed?” and bam, you will know if it is achievable.
Another straightforward one, easily solved by asking “How long do you envisage a project like this taking?”
Simple again. Just asking “What is the process for a project like this and is there anything you need from me in advance?” can help smoothen out the process and help you get prepared.
You should know anything that might crop up through the process that you haven’t budgeted or allowed time for. For example, some producers offer the making of the song, but not the mixing of it. Some will offer to play the instruments needed, whereas some will want to hire a studio and session musicians. Some will offer an all-in-one package, and some will offer individual stages. Make sure you know what you are getting for your time and money.
Getting on the same wavelength can be achieved by talking about reference tracks, which are super important. Reference tracks are our universal language as music makers. A sound that you want could take the form of a long email that gets interpreted differently to what you envisioned. But, just 5 seconds of listening to that exact sound will show your producer exactly what you want to achieve.
Never shy away from reference tracks. No matter how original you or your producer think you are… I promise you, something similar has been done before, and that is a great thing. It means that you can get to those amazing results much quicker. In fact, from now on, whenever you are explaining a sound, vibe or quality to a producer, mix engineer, bandmates, or friends, just tell them the song that you are thinking of.
Both you and they will thank me for that advice, I promise!
So, who is the right producer for you? The person that is going to make your song brilliant, inspire you, and someone who you get along with, too.
Personally, I think it is worth having a conversation going with 2-3 producers at any one time for your music. You will soon know who you get the best vibes from, and who is the best fit for you. This isn’t an opportunity to play them off each other. It is just a chance to truly see who the best fit is for your music.
Still unsure? Don’t ever hesitate to ask bands, artists or other producers you have found. Do your research, reach out and have a specific idea in mind for what you want, so that you can easily share your ideas. Good luck!
Now that you have heard our tips on how to find a music producer, head to Music Gateway to collaborate and find what you’re looking for. We can also help with music promotion or sync opportunities, so make sure to sign up for your free 14 day trial.