When it comes to the money side of things in the music industry, it can sometimes be difficult to spot out who makes the most money off a record.
One of the questions that keeps showing up by most beginner music producers is;
“Do producers make more than artists?”
Artists make more than music producers because they get to keep a bigger percentage of royalties. Plus, they have unlimited ways they can monetize and capitalize on a record to make more money. A music producer relies on the artist to be able to make money. Once the record is produced, the producer can only negotiate a percentage of specific royalties, an artist on the other hand will have the privilege to create more than one opportunities with records that can earn them money.
Why Producers Make less than Artists
let’s get into the various reasons as to why artists usually make more than music producers
Producers are the behind the scenes guys
Producers being the behind the scene guys that handle the technical parts and elements of production are at a disadvantage when it comes to earnings.
Producers that have a chance of earning more are producers that try to brand themselves properly to no longer be the background guys…..and be front and centre to be able to get more clients for their business.
Artists have huge fan-bases
For musicians and artists, fan-bases are the clientele that support the music financially. These fan-bases are usually huge which makes artists earn more because they can command a higher royalty rate whilst giving the producer a minimal rate…. for work done exclusively for artists, the music producer will work for hire which usually boils down to an upfront one time fee and a minimal or no royalty rate.
This is common when producers have to deal with record labels… the label will want to buy the producers master share so they remain in full control of the record and be able to earn more from it.
The labels spend a lot of dollars on marketing, promotion and production of music so the only way to recoup some of this money is to basically ensure that they get to control the amount of royalty distribution…..which in most cases will result in proposing low royalty rates for contributors.
Music producers don’t always monetize their audience
For music producers, it is not easy to monetize an audience because they’re more interested in the artist and the music.
Therefore, direct monetization becomes a problem unless the producer can come up with ways to make money off their following.
In most situations, this may add up to creating products for fellow music producers like sample packs, plugins, merch etc.
Atleast this way the producer can take advantage of their fan base to earn some money.
It’s true that the producer will benefit from people buying the music made with artist….but this is basically a trickle down effect that comes from the artists audience supporting their music.
Producer’s rely on music to make money
The traditional producer’s income is strictly tied to their ability to make music which sort of breeds monotony. The musician on the other hand can monetize their craft in different ways even outside of the music.
One example is Rihanna’s product line Fenty… that company was created by Rihanna and has gone on to thrive without her making music full time.
Why musicians make more than music producers
Now that we have a general idea as to why artists make more than musicians , let’s look at the various income streams that artists use to diversify their portfolio and hence increase their earning abilities.
The artist is always at an advantage to earn more than producers because they can easily scale their brand to get into other territory which means more earnings.
Producers rely on artists as their primary client whom they can do work for.
Musicians are always able to scale to endorsements which are collaborations with companies to use the artists reach to reach new possible customers for the products.
Companies use endorsements as an easy way to build brand awareness for their products by using an artists brand which is already established and well known.
Another area where artists can make some more money aside from selling music and licensing is on features.
Artists usually charge an upfront fee for anyone that may want to feature them in records. Features work well for artists because it can make them more money aswell as let them reach a new fanbase.
Merchandise is another way artists are able to capitalize on their brand and make more money. Merchandise can be clothing that could be branded with the artist to ensure that it sells more.
Merchandise is most of the times paired with music so it can sell much quicker due to the extra value attached, which is the merch.
It’s rare that producers make more than the artist, unless they are well known and have been in the industry for a long time such that their work continuously pays them.
Artists are usually in a position to make more money than producers.