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What Does A Music Producer Do?

... a feminist perspective

Black woman in recording studio

In a traditionally male-dominated industry, the role of a music producer has often been perceived through the narrow lens of the white, male expert, working alone in his studio. Thankfully, today, women are breaking down barriers and redefining what it means to be a music producer—a champion of creativity, diversity, and inclusivity in the studio. But what does a music producer actually do? And how do you know when you've earned the right to call yourself one? Let's dive in and explore the multifaceted role of a music producer.

1. Capturing the Vision: Translating Ideas into Reality

At its core, the role of a music producer was traditionally to serve as the bridge between the artist's vision and the final product. They work closely with musicians to understand their creative goals, musical influences, and desired sound. Whether it's crafting catchy melodies, refining song structures, or experimenting with sonic textures, the producer's primary objective is to translate the artist's ideas into tangible musical arrangements. Today, however, many artists produce their own music, using music technology to creatively realise their musical ideas through a variety of tools like MIDI, audio recording, sampling and looping beats.

2. Creating the Sound, One Production Decision After Another

One of the most crucial tasks of a music producer is shaping the overall sound and aesthetic of a recording. This involves selecting the right instrumentation, choosing appropriate sound effects and processing techniques, and arranging the various elements of the song to create a cohesive sonic landscape. From choosing the perfect drum sound to adding subtle atmospheric layers, every decision made by the producer contributes to the overall sonic identity of the recording. In fact, these decisions are what defines a producer, not their knowledge or use of the tech. In traditional studio settings, some producers barely touch the desk at all, relying on the engineer to twiddle the knobs and help their vision come to life. So, if you're making those all important production decisions, you're a music producer my friend!

3. Cultivating Creativity: Inspiring Artistic Excellence with Compassion

Beyond technical expertise, a great music producer possesses a keen ear for creativity and innovation. They encourage artists to push the boundaries of their musicality, experiment with new ideas, and explore unconventional approaches to music-making. Whether it's suggesting alternative chord progressions, encouraging spontaneous improvisation, or providing constructive feedback, the producer's role is to inspire artistic excellence and bring out the best in the performers. This is also why people skills are so key for any successful music producer but this, sadly, isn't always the experience of many women musicians. Studio spaces run by and for women, like Cactus City however, centre a culture of support and solidarity, where female artists feel empowered to express themselves authentically and unapologetically. Great music producers, whatever their gender, should always make the artist feel comfortable, safe and valued. 

4. Navigating the Studio: Managing the Recording Process

In addition to their creative responsibilities, music producers also play a pivotal role in managing the recording process. This involves overseeing studio sessions, coordinating with session musicians and engineers, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly from start to finish. Depending on the size of the project and studio, this could involve setting up microphones and troubleshooting technical issues, but it can also mean making sure artists have everything they need to feel comfortable and get to the session feeling prepared and confident. Many women take on this role, especially if they're part of a band. Rather than 'playing Mum', they are fulfilling crucial producer duties that ensure the recording sessions are productive and efficient.

muslim woman listening to music

5. Polishing the Product: Refining and Perfecting the Mix

Once the recording phase is complete, the music producer might shift their focus to the mixing and mastering stages. This involves balancing the levels of each instrument, applying equalisation and compression, and adding spatial effects like reverb and delay to enhance the overall clarity and impact of the mix. However, many producers prefer to hand these final stages over to mixing and mastering engineers, either because they don't possess the right skillsets or they just want a fresh pair of ears on their tracks. If you can't mix and master just yet, or you just don't want to, it doesn't mean you're not a music producer and there are some amazing women-run groups offering these services now, such as the creative mastering collective Weird Jungle.

What Does A Music Producer Do? Reclaiming the Role

Women are more than performers or muses - we are visionary creators and decision-makers. By reclaiming our power and agency as music producers, we pave the way for future generations of women to pursue their passions and thrive in the world of music production.

We can do this best by:

  • Fostering collaboration and cultivating a culture of support

  • Redefining success and prioritising creativity and well-being  

  • Challenging stereotypes a (re)shaping the narrative

  • Empowering future generations and leading by example

If you've already stepped into the role of music producer, that's amazing! Thank you for being a role model for other women in music.

If reading this article has made you realise you are in fact a music producer, that's great! Own that title with pride my friend.

And if you're ready to start your empowering music production journey, we'd love to invite you into the Girls Twiddling Knobs club. The best place to get started is with our beginner's course, Get Started with GarageBand where you'll start producing amazing sounding demos from the comfort of your own home.

Get started with GarageBand

Don't have an Apple device? You can up your music production game with the 90+ episodes of the Girls Twiddling Knobs podcast.


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Expect a heady of mix of music production tips and tricks, #realtalk on all things being a woman in music and first dibs on our new trainings, opportunities and insider news :)

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