How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Music Producer? - Music Made Pro

· By Will Harken

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Music Producer?

The Short Answer: Between $50 and $20,000 per song. But higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality. A higher price usually means the producer has worked with big acts.


Want my help with your next production? Start here: Choose any genre and choose any voice.


The Roles of Production

Before we dive in, let’s clear up the different roles in music production. Sometimes one person takes on these roles. And sometimes different people do them.


    1. Topline Writer - the person who writes the lyrics (usually) and melody
    2. Music Writer / Arranger - the person who writes the chords and instrumentation
    3. Producer - the person who makes sure the song gets done, and done well
    4. Mixing Engineer - the person who makes the song sound the best that it can
    5. Mastering Engineer - the person who adds the final 5% of song perfection


These days, it’s common for music producers to take on a role in songwriting, arranging, mixing, and mastering.


But in simplest terms, the music producer manages the creation of songs. They make decisions on who to hire to get the song done. And they make stylistic choices as well, like how instruments are played or how notes are sung.


👉 A film director directs films, right? Well, a music producer directs music production.


How Much Does A Music Producer Make?

What Lovers Do, Producer Jason Evigan.

What Lovers Do, Producer Jason Evigan.


The biggest factor in a music producer’s price is the work they have done with notable artists. So the producer who worked with Maroon 5 will probably charge more than the guy who produced the album for your local band.


The music producer usually isn’t the only cost of making a song or album. They may also need to hire performers and audio engineers as well. But sometimes the producer can do performance and audio engineering for you.


A music producer may also adjust their price based on other stuff. Length of song, number of recorded tracks, the number of midi tracks. It’s really case-by-case.


So… if you want to make a hip-hop track that has a basic drum beat, an 808 bass, and sparse vocals, you will probably pay less than if you made a five-piece indie rock band with orchestral accompaniment.

 How much does a music producer make per song? In most cases, I would say the total cost of a song will usually between $300 and $2,000. But there are obviously huge outliers in the world. 


👉 Main point: Get clear on what you're paying for. Are you paying $1,000 for everything that needs to happen? Or are you paying $1,000 for the producer? Those are very different things.

Are You A Producer? Read This... 

Overall a music producer's revenue might vary greatly because of a wide range of reasons. Here's a detailed look at the salaries:

Independent music producers, usually referred to as freelance producers, typically bill their clients on an hourly or flat rate basis. Rates may change based on the producer's credentials, track record, and the difficulty of the job. An independent music producer may bill $200 to $1,500 per day as of 2023.

Contrarily, producers employed by record companies or studios typically receive a salary. In the US, a producer's pay might range from $20,000 to $1 million as of 2023. For top-tier producers working with well-known acts, the numbers may skew higher.

Royalties can also contribute significantly to a producer's revenue. They get paid a portion if a song they made is sold, streamed, or broadcast on radio or TV. Royalties are a crucial source of income, particularly for producers working with popular performers whose songs receive a lot of listens.


Though I believe this is changing and the music industry will become more like, say, sword-making. The sword maker sells the product once and doesn't expect kickbacks from future sales.

Earning royalties is not easy. A producer's payment is determined by the terms of their contract with the artist or record label. While some producers could agree to a smaller upfront payment in exchange for a larger part of any prospective royalties, others might take a bigger upfront payment.

The location of a music producer also affects their revenue. Producers in places with a thriving music culture, such as Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville, may make more money. But these locations also have greater costs of living.

The type of music produced can also affect a producer's income. For instance, because to the huge market for these genres, producers working in pop, hip-hop, or electronic dance music may be able to demand greater rates. Successful producers, nevertheless, may also make good money in nicher genres.

It's important to remember that the music business is famously unpredictable. A producer's earnings may vary from year to year depending on the projects they get, shifting musical trends, or changes in the general economy.

SO there is no universal answer on how much a music producer makes. It's tough, but it's satisfying for those who are prepared to put in the time and work through the challenges.

Higher Price ≠ Higher Quality

Steve Whiteman

Steve Whiteman


I once had a conversation with Steve Whiteman (front-man of the successful hard rock band KIX) about his pricing for music lessons. He told me he charged the same rate as everyone else. About $60 per hour.


With his credentials he could certainly charge more.


But if you had to choose between a $60 lesson with a random Joe OR the front-man of a million-dollar band, I think you know the obvious choice.


Music producers are the same way. You might be able to find someone who REALLY knows what they are doing, but hasn’t worked with a big name act.


Even producers who haven’t made a name for themselves can be quite good. It’s kind of like investing in stocks. You want to find the producer that is undervalued RIGHT NOW. That way you can get a great return. In this case, a great return is an awesomely produced song.


The most important thing is listening to what they have ACTUALLY made. Do their tracks sound like what you want to sound like?


👉 Remember: mid-range price doesn’t always mean mid-range quality. Many good producers will charge a lower price it usually means more business.



Do-Some-Of-It-Yourself Approach

For a lot of people, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route is appealing. Even though you might be sacrificing the quality of your final song, you can start building skills that will help you in the future.


You can save money on a production by doing certain things yourself too. Whether you’re contributing as a topline writer, an arranger, a producer, a mixing engineer, or a mastering engineer.


👉 My recommendation: Make a few rough demos for yourself. And build some basic music production skills so that you can record ideas. You will also have an easier time communicating with future music producers and audio professionals.



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