The Difference Between A Songwriter and A Producer

Music producers and songwriters work hand in hand to create the best possible records.

They are key counterparts to the process of music production and it is vital to understand what differentiates them.

So then you might ask, “What is the difference between a songwriter and a producer?”

Songwriters are basically musicians that are able to compose and write lyrics for songs. Producers on the other hand are responsible for over seeing of the recording process, mixing and finally mastering. They are basically responsible for facilitating the creation of music from its simple written form to its digital song state. Therefore a key difference here is that Songwriters are musicians while producers are simply the technicians and are usually NOT musicians themselves.

There are various facets that come with songwriting as well as producing. I will discuss these various facets in this posts, so keep reading to gain some more perspective into this topic.

The Song Writer

Songwriters are a huge part of music creation and production, I’ll discuss some various things that song writers do here.

Compositions

A musical composition is basically a piece of music that is created by a composer who may sometimes be referred to as a song writer.

Song-writers are able to write music, which may be something as complex as writing musical notations to be followed when performing or can be something as basic as writing lyrics.

As a song writer, your basic job description is to create music from scratch before it can be recorded by a producer to turn it into a song that can be played on various media.

This is the number one role of a songwriter.

Lyrics

The lyrics to a song are simply the words that go with the music to be able to create the actual song.

A huge part of songwriting involves writing the lyrics to a song.

Most popular musicians these days, hire a variety of songwriters to help them come up with lyrics that they can resonate with and eventually record into a song.

The producers role is to simply, facilitate the recording process so the musician can record the lyrics provided by the song writer.

Songwriters are sometimes known as lyricist’s if they are specialised in writing lyrics.

Melody

Melody is basically a piece of music which is composed of single notes that are played sequentially to create a basic theme.

Some songwriters are able to come up with the lyrics to a song and also provide the melody in which the lyrics are to be delivered.

This is an integral part of the music creation process because it basically determines that direction the song will take.

A music producers job will be to ensure that the melody and lyrics are delivered and recorded in a good way that will a positive impact on the outcome of the song.

Performer

Songwriters may in some cases be able to perform the lyrics or music that they write.

It’s pretty common to find song writers that have the ability to perform their compositions.

In some other cases though, some may not be able to perform but simply write their music which basically leads me to my next point.

Songwriter-Artist

Most musicians that we know of are actually songwriters themselves, especially those that don’t rely on ghost writers.

A ghost writer is simply a songwriter that writes lyrics for a musician so they can record and perform the lyrics as their own.

Ghost writers usually sell their lyrics to musicians that find their work to be aligned with what they want.

The common theme in the music world today is artists that write and perform their own songs.

The Music producer

Music producers are the guys that are behind the scenes and offer their music production expertise to musicians that wish to turn their songs into actual records.

Studio Executive

The music producer in more cases than one will be the studio executive and will usually also be the owner of the recording studio.

Which basically means they offer their recording services to artists and songwriters that wish to have their songs recorded.

The producer offers these services in exchange for money.

Recording

The recording process is the final process of laying down the track and having it in recorded form so it can be worked on, in order to finally turn it into a song.

A music producer’s duty will be to supervise and lead the actual recording process to ensure that it is carried out in the manner that is supposed to be carried out in.

The producer will provide his input, make suggestions and anything else that can help make the final record better.

Engineering

Sound engineering is basically the art of employing various production techniques to make a song ready for release.

Music producers that don’t work with engineers usually carry out the engineering process by themselves and are able to do the things that are discussed in the points coming next.

Mixing

Mixing is basically the process in which various recorded audio is processed and blended together with the music to make it a full song.

Producer’s will use a variety of mixing techniques such as compression, saturation, EQ, Delay, Reverb etc. to ensure that the final mix of the song is basically ready to mastered,which is the final process of the music production process.

Mastering

Mastering involves the use of various techniques to make the final mix sound ever better than it does after mixing. Mastering is what I consider as applying the finishing touches on the record to give it more volume, have it ready for the listener and balance it, so it can sound good on any playback device such as studio, hall, car stereo, headphones and so on.

Producer’s that don’t work with mastering engineers will usually have to carry out the mastering process on their own to ensure that the song is ready for distribution.

Technical Support

Technical support would be something like ensuring that an artist knows the level to record at, helping them wear headphones properly, guiding them when recording certain parts of the song and so on and so forth.

This is the facilitation process that ensures that the recording process is carried out well.

Final Thoughts

The various roles of the song writer and the music producer are basically what differenciates them.

Songwriters come up with songs and music producers help them record and produce these songs.