Do Music Producers Work For Record Labels?

Music producers are the people behind the creation of the record from simply idea, to a full fledged song. There’s always confusion surrounding producers and how they actually work.

One of the questions I run into is “Do music producers work for record lables?”

The short version of the answer is this;

Unless the music producer is signed to the label, not all music producers work for record labels. It’s sometimes common for them to WORK WITH labels as independent contractors that provide music production services on a contractual basis.

Record labels may choose to offer deals to some music producers that they may look to as an asset to have as an in house producer’s. This can be a good move to control the costs of outsourcing all the time.

Plus in-house producer’s can be great; in that they can develop a well crafted sound for various artist’s that are under the label. Which is good because the music that can be created from such quality working relationships can be nothing short of good.

An example that is relevant in this case is a good producer-artist duo like Hitboy and Nas who consistently work together and have developed their own signature sound.

Do Record labels hire producer’s?

It’s definitely a part of the music industry culture to hire music producers. Just like previous points have stated, not all music producers are signed to record lables.

Some operate independently, they may have a manager that handles any work for hire gigs that the producer may be wanted for.

Record labels in this case can get into contracts with music producers in order to hire them so label artists can work with with record producer. In such situations the producer will specify how much their services cost and the terms of those services.

Royalties are one of the issues that arise in such situations especially if the producer is responsible for the composing of the music or the instrumental. Record labels will negotiate so there’s a fair understanding of who gets what percentage and so forth.

There are alot of factors that affect royalty percentages and usually the question that arises is how much the label will be willing to give to the producer. This is highly dependent on how much of the actual work they did in the creation of the record.

This article covers the typical percentages that music producers can get.

How independent producer’s work for hire

The various arena’s in which the serious music producer can get into to make money independently. Granted, working for or with a record label can ensure a lot of advantages but working independently can be more advantageous.

Let’s therefore look at the various areas in which music producers can work to make a living for themselves.

Movie/TV Show placements

Music producers can score placements in the film and motion picture industry as well. This usually means creating music pieces to accompany motion picture.

This is a diverse industry that may hire producer’s with the necessary expertise. The only catch is that it is a highly competitive space and not all producers can get in.

Ad placements

Ads for corporation’s looking to sell products will often times include music in them to support and accompany the ad.

Music producers can sometimes work with companies in creating music for ads for them for which they get fees.

Video game placements

Another revenue stream possibility that is always on the table for record producers is in the video game industry.

Video games utilize audio music in them to accompany and improve the gaming experience for users. Video game developers therefore work with producers and composers alike.

Producers may be required to design sounds and FX, create music and so forth. Most big companies like Sony may have their own inhouse producers but they are also known to outsource from time to time especially if they need something very specific.

Licensing

Licensing is a huge part of the business side of music and the good part is musicians aswell as producers can independently profit from this.

A license is simply obtained by a person that wants to utilize a specific piece of music for various purposes such as music used in a public place like a restaurant.

The producer that has their music registered by a Performing rights organization like BMI can ensure that revenue from licensing in the form of royalties be obtained on their behalf.

Even streaming platforms are a form of licensing platform that pays composers of music for every stream that a user on a platform performs.

Licensing is a broad arena and is a sure good way that the independent producer can use to make money off their records.

Final Thoughts

Not all music producers are signed to record labels and its not always the case that music producers have to be signed to record labels to work with them. They can work as independent contractors that can be hired from time to time.