A Star Is Born: The Role of Production in the Music Industry

After some disappointing years, the global music industry grew by 8.1% in 2017. Recorded revenues were $17.3 billion. Streaming has now overtaken all other sources of revenue to become the industry’s biggest growth area, with 176 million users of subscription accounts. Music streaming accounts for an impressive 38.4% of music revenue, which has offset the decline in CD sales and other physical revenue.

The music industry is working hard to grow and prosper. New and emerging markets are opening up, most notably Latin America and Asia/Australasia, with growth rates of 17.7% and 5.4% respectively, which is prompting interest from players in the financial markets, including ASX CFD traders. Music is increasingly being consumed digitally, but the industry is evolving to accommodate changing consumer needs.

2017 was an exciting year for the global music industry, but this success is only possible thanks to the hard work of all those people who work behind the scenes to create music people want to listen to.

There are many roles in the music industry. From the A&R guys who scout taent, to the marketing, press and promotions team who publicise a star’s music and deal with the media. Production is less talked about, but it is just as critical to the success of a record label.

What Does a Music Producer Do?

A music producer is essentially a project manager. It’s their job to oversee the production process, from working out the overall vision for the piece to mixing the track and inspiring the artist to produce their best work. Being a music producer is not an easy job. Working with talent can be tricky, especially if your artist is a major diva.

The role of a music producer is not clearly defined. Different people bring their own unique talent to the job. Some artists even produce their own music, with Prince being a famous example of a multi-talented individual, along with Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Lady Gaga.


Artist/producers are currently riding high in the music industry. One half of the music industry’s best-known power couple, Jay-Z, is the number one most successful person in the US record industry. Jay-Z has enjoyed 20+ years in the business, produced 13 solo albums, and won 21 Grammys. He was also the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which is an impressive achievement for an already stellar career. Jay-Z is also an extremely savvy businessman; he’s the wealthiest man in hip-hop with a net worth of approximately $900 million, having overtaken P-Diddy in 2017.

Some producers focus solely on mentoring their artists. Rather than getting involved in the music mixing process, they inspire artists, coach them, and motivate them to produce the best performance possible.

The Men with the Golden Touch

Other well-known producers seem to have the ‘golden touch’ where everything they do is successful. Dr Dre, real name Andre Romelle Young, is a good example of such a man with the golden touch. He has been phenomenally successful and is single-handedly responsible for most of the rap and R&B output in the last few years. Other examples of hugely successful music producers include Phil Spector, Rick Rubin, George Martin, and Timbaland, as well as Jay-Z, of course.

Without talented producers, the music industry would soon founder and quality music would never get made. Producers are critical to the music industry. Their role as a mentor to up-and-coming artists is especially important. Without Jay-Z to mentor her, Rihanna might not have achieved the same level of success, and without Dr Dre, Eminem might still be rapping in sleazy backstreet clubs. So, don’t dismiss the role of a music producer – they might not always be front and centre, but they are definitely pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Written by CelebMix