What Does a Record Producer Actually Do?

A few months ago, a young singer-songwriter messaged me on Facebook. He wanted to setup a time to talk.

Even a few seconds into the conversation, I could tell by the sound of his voice…

  • He was frustrated about the state of his career.
  • He was overwhelmed with not knowing how to take his career to the next level.
  • He was scared that he wasn’t going to be able to get his career off the ground before he’d be stuck…

Stuck working a day job he hated and squeezing music in on the side.

 

I dug a little deeper into his personal and professional goals. I asked him what he’d been up to with music. What types of gigs was he playing. What he’d tried marketing-wise and if he’d recorded before.

Once I had the full picture, I knew exactly the type of record he needed to make. More importantly, I knew how his record could fit into a bigger plan to get his career off the ground.

But before I had the chance to launch into that, he said

You know I’m a little ashamed. I should know the answer to this but… what does a record producer actually do?

Here’s what I told him:

Your record producer oversees and manages the recording of your music. Your producer’s job is to make sure your project achieves your goals, stays on budget and meets its deadline.

Because no two artists are the same, how a producer does this changes with each project.

Quick note: historically, a producer is NOT someone who makes beats and sells them. That’s a beatmaker.

Here Are 9 Examples Of How Your Producer Can Help You

 

Your producer will…

  1. Handle either writing or sourcing songs for you, if you don’t have your own songs.
  2. Make sure they’re as good as they can be, if you do have your own songs.
  3. Choose musical keys that highlight your voice.
  4. Decide on an appropriate tempo or feel for your song.
  5. Map out the best workflow for your project.
  6. Hire the perfect session musicians to complement you and your music.
  7. Hand select the right recording, mix and/or mastering engineers for your project.
  8. Coach you through your vocal and instrumental performances.
  9. Act as a sounding board for any questions you may have about your music career.

This is exactly how I’ve helped Penny & Sparrow grow from recording their first 3-song EP to quitting their day jobs and playing their music all over the country. Here’s what they have to say:

From the very beginning of our career, Chris Jacobie has been there. His name is spoken with love and gratitude in every interview we give that pertains to our music. He is the Swiss-Army knife of talent that’s been in the producer’s chair for us during 4 full length albums & our first 3 song EP. He and Mel and Norah Bones are family to us. If music got taken away, there would always be that kinship, but we aren’t done with him yet. If he’ll let us, we aim to bleed that talented SOB dry of every last brilliant idea he has. The only problem is, he seems to be an unstoppable source of freshness. He is an empathic learner, a multi-instrumentalist, a trendsetter, a production chameleon, and a kind hearted sound-savant. He makes us better men and musicians. We love him. – Penny & Sparrow

Hope that helps. Next week I’ll explain the two types of producers and which type is right for you.

Chris

Testimonials

penny-and-sparrow-thumb

It is no exaggeration to say that without Chris Jacobie we wouldn’t be a band today. He has been with us since we were playing for 6 people in Austin & was there a few nights ago when we played for 1,000.

Penny & Sparrow

Austin, TX & Florence, AL
jarrod-dickenson-thumb

“Chris has some of the best ears and ideas in the business! Plus, he makes an artist feel at ease and welcome in a studio environment.”

Decca Recording Artist: Jarrod Dickenson

Nashville, TN
ryvoli-thumb

As a producer, Chris just gets the big picture of where you are coming from and where you want to go. He helps protect the sound you want while at the same time exploring new ideas. We cannot wait to go back!”

Ryvoli

Lexington, KY
nick-dahlquist-thumb

"The questions Chris asked and the challenges he posed along the way broadened my understanding of myself as a songwriter, and of the craft itself.”

Nick Dahlquist

St. Louis, MO
jp-ruggieri-thumb

“I don't know enough about sound and audio to say why, but I know that when I work with Chris, I can trust that he knows what I want. And that's totally kickass!”

JP Ruggieri

Nashville, TN
willow-city-thumb

“We love Chris's creativity in the studio. Working with him is like a360-degreee musical experience. It's AWESOME!”

Willow City

Fredericksburg, TX

Chris Jacobie

Hi, my name is Chris Jacobie. I'm a music producer from San Antonio, TX. I help musicians make better records ...even if they don't have much money.

Leave a Comment