How do producers get paid?

If you don’t know how to produce music yourself as a musician you may want to look into hiring a producer to do it for you. Producers can bring the beat and a type of finesse that makes your track stand out from the crowd. Having a good producer can enhance your song in more ways than one. There is a chain of demand for producers so if you are one here is how to get paid. With more artists becoming DIY musicians also comes more independent producers that are looking to build their portfolio and make a name for themselves. As an indie producer there are a number of ways to get paid but here are some of the main avenues to money. 


There are a number of ways a producer can get paid, usually an advance is received in the form of a flat fee or paid by the hour type of payment scheme where producers can decide on how much they would like to get paid by the hour. You have to be realistic on how much to charge depending on your experience, having a good portfolio means you can charge more. This is only the basis of getting paid as a producer. The real money comes in copyright royalties, this is where a producer owns a certain percentage of the artist’s master copyright and in some cases parts of the song composition copyright depending on how many key musical ideas a producer introduces to the track. 


A 100% of the song composition copyright typically is owned by the songwriter but in some occasions if the producer comes up with a main melodic ‘hook’ in a song they can ask for a small percentage of the song composition copyright. The master copyright deals with the actual recording of the song, this is the main aim for a producer. Having a percentage of the master copyright of a song that has blown up can bring in some serious cash. Usually producers can receive up to 15-20% of the master copyright royalties. This is decided amongst the artist and producer. As a producer it is important to recognise how much you brought to the track and what your percentage your competition is getting.  


Working with artists and songwriters isn’t the only way to get paid as a music producer, there are a couple of other ways to earn income as a producer: 


  • Selling your beats 


You could sell beats and samples you have stored in drafts to websites like Splice that offer artists producer samples. You can even sell beats and samples to other producers who have a different style of producing than you. This is a great way to make money from unused projects that you think have potential.  


  • Freelance 


Freelancing as a producer can offer a whole new world of income from people looking for quick sessions or they need music for any other reason. There are a number of websites that offer freelancing opportunities, but it is also important to build your network in order to avail of more. 


  • Sync Licensing 


This is a great way to make money from the likes of movies, TV or even video games. Sync licensing is a lucrative road to earning more money over a longer period of time. Having one of your tracks featured in a TV advertisement allows you to generate income every time it’s used. Depending on the agreement this can provide you with a regular flow of money depending on how often it is used or played. 


  • Mixing and Mastering 


If you’ve been in the game for a while you probably know how to mix a track, which a lot of independent artists don’t know how to do. Offering mixing and mastering services can be another avenue to making money as a producer. If you can mix and or master a track take advantage of this skill and lead out your services to DIY musicians who are less skilled in this area.