The job of a music producer is a very popular one these days. No longer are the musicians and music artists the only customers of producers. Considering how much entertainment has evolved over the last decade and how important good music quality and production is for any form of video media, it is understandable why they are so sought after. From content creators like video game streamers and YouTubers to actual up-and-coming music artists trying to make it big and be unique, seemingly everyone needs a music producer in their life.
Be that as it may, it is not that easy to actually find someone with whom you can have an honest and productive partnership. The important thing with this is chemistry and the two of you have to be on the same page if the project is to be successful and achieve its mission. With that in mind, and in order to help you, we decided it would be good to reveal to you the most important question you should as a music producer before you hire them. If you want to learn more about this and check out one of the best producers available right now who is also a mix engineer with his own recording studio in Los Angeles, make sure to check out Raz Klinghoffer.
1. What is your background in music?
It should matter to you if the producer you are considering has any background in music apart from their producing skills. You should have an open conversation about their love for music as a whole, what made them interested, when they found out it was their calling, and if they play any instruments. There a lot of producers out there who are only in it from a business standpoint and are not really artistic deep down. What is more, you should ask them about their music preferences as in favorite genres, subgenres, artists, and other producers. You really need to get a bigger picture of who they are and what they are really about. Once you identify a real music fan and an artist behind the producer and not just a businessman looking to make money, you will know that they are a good candidate for you.
2. What is your working style?
This is a very broad question and a tactical one because they can answer it in so many different ways. According to what they start talking about first, you can conclude what their work ethic is. Producers vary in volume and quality of projects they take part in. Some may be collaborating with big Hollywood stars and studios for the better part of their workweek and only take individual gigs like yours as a part-time job. Others are more intimate and prefer single clients with whom they can work in home recording environments and smaller studios. Once you identify their general approach and style of work, you will be able to make a better decision and see whether or not they are the right fit four your project.
3. Are you signed to a label?
It is not really polite to straight up ask them if they are connected and who they know, which is why you should modify your approach and ask them if they are a part of a larger group like a record company. You also do not want to seem too eager to be famous and make it big with such a question and immediately get to how their (potential) label can help you. However, they should know people if they are to truly help you and there needs to be a conversation about this as you negotiate to tour future plans together. You want someone who is good at finding the right angles and balancing their contacts with the needs of their clients. It is all about the project they are hired to work on so if they cannot help it in more than one way, they may not be the best choice.
4. How much do you charge?
Of course, this a business arrangement in its core and you will not be able to complete the negotiations and start working together on your music before you come to terms regarding the price. It is not impolite or rude to talk about the charges, fees, and services they offer, it is actually necessary. Be upfront about what you want and what you expect from them and openly discuss the price. Producers differ greatly when it comes to how much they charge for studio time and then how much they ask for their part, the actual producing and editing. If you like everything else but the price is a bit more than you are ready to pay, it may be a good idea to go for it, especially if they are a reputable producer with a good track record behind them.
Qualities to Look For
It is not all about the questions either, as you should look for a number of things in a music producer. For example, they should be good at listening, both in general and to you. Then they should be the right kind of confident so that it is not cockiness. A lot of producers think big of themselves and think they know what you want better than you. An important trait in this line of work is relentlessness and empathy because you need these to properly collaborate with a client who is eager to succeed.
Speaking of succeeding, you do not want a producer who never disagrees with your suggestions and never challenges you to grow and do better. They will probably push you to work more and better than you think you can. They have seen it all since they are (or at least should be) far more experienced then you. You will not be their first client by far so if they have something to teach you, listen and give it a chance.
Last but not least, you want a passionate music producer and it is really easy to tell if they care about their work. If you asked them the questions from above and like what you hear, and if they seem as excited and intrigued about the project as you, you found yourself a great producer.