Careers in Music Production & Engineering
The producer functions as a creative leader of any studio, film, television, or radio recording project. Producers work mainly with recording acts and record labels to produce records. They also work with composers and produce sound recordings for film, TV and other forms of multimedia, as well. The producer supervises all aspects of the recording process, including contracting session players and overseeing the recording budget. A producer may also help the artist select songs to be recorded. Preferably, a producer should be an excellent musician with a lot of performing experience and a great depth of musical, acoustical, and studio technical understanding.
The recording engineer operates the soundboard and other electrical equipment during the recording of music. Recording engineers run the recording session with oversight from the producer. They may also be responsible for setting up equipment in the studio prior to the session, and discussing with the producer or musical act what they want the end product to sound like. It is the engineer's subsequent responsibility to craft a recording that meets the producer's, artist's, or band's desires. The engineer may also be responsible for mixing down the recorded tracks into the finished product.
The assistant engineer works in the recording studio and is responsible for assisting the recording engineer with setup, recording tracks, and mixing. He works as directed by the recording engineer.
As the producer's right-hand person, the production assistant handles details for the producer such as contracting talent (musicians/vocalists) for sessions, scheduling studio time, placing telephone calls, sending emails ensuring everyone is aware of when and where the session will be held, assisting on the session, and setting up the equipment in the studio for a session and/or returning it to its proper place after the session.
The studio manager/owner is the person responsible for running the business of the recording studio and may be a sole or partial owner of the business. Studio managers are responsible for booking acts to record at the studio, scheduling engineers, marketing the studio, and budgeting and providing for all the needs of a professional recording studio. He is also the in-house diplomat, acting as the liaison between engineers and clients, ensuring client satisfaction, and handling all financial transactions with clients.
Sound technicians are responsible for high-quality sound during the live performance. They usually arrive at the concert sight before the performers and are involved in unloading and setting up the equipment and instruments along with the road crew. Sound technicians supervise the placement of equipment and work with the talent during the sound check to achieve the best sound. They may even work a soundboard during the actual performance.
Acoustic consultants provide complete audio, video, and acoustic design services for performance spaces such as concert halls, arenas, stadiums, studios, convention facilities, clubs, churches, and synagogues. Acoustical consultants can provide an acoustical analysis of a particular venue, identify acoustical problems, and make suggestions for equipment or interior design changes for fixing any problems.
Audio Engineer for Videos
This engineer's specialty is making certain that the audio tracks are synchronized and equalized with the video.
Digital Remastering Engineer
This engineer's responsibility is to take older analog masters, which are on vinyl, 8-track, or audiocassette formats, and remaster them for release on CD or other digital mediums.
Live Sound Engineer
This engineer's primary responsibility is to operate the soundboard during a live performance. The live sound engineer is also involved in sound check and the placement of equipment in preparation for a live performance.
Recording Equipment Manufacturer's Rep/Customer Service
A recording equipment manufacturer's rep will usually work at the company's headquarters in a customer service/tech support role. They will also represent the company at trade shows or conferences and potentially serve as a product demonstrator. Usually, someone with strong playing ability as a musician is selected for this role.
Mastering Engineer (Post-Production Engineer)
This engineer is responsible for taking the final mixes of recordings that have been sent by a studio, band, or artist for finishing touches such as EQ (equalization), overall effects, and possibly compression.
“...Remember: this was your dream. You are making music for a living. You already won.” - Miles Walker
Multimedia Developer (Interactive Multimedia Specialist)
Multimedia developers specialize in formatting and producing audio content for CDs and websites. They primarily combine two or more of the following formats—text, still images, video, animation, or sound—and prepare them as part of an interactive software package.
Rerecording Mixer (Film and Video)
If a film or business wants to use a particular song for a commercial or movie, they will often rerecord the song or composition again in order to avoid having to negotiate and pay a hefty master-licensing fee to a record label for use of the actual (master) recording. By rerecording the song, they will only have to pay the mechanical licensing fee, which is a rate that is established by the U.S. government (currently, 8.0¢ per song, per unit that is five minutes and under in length, and 1.55¢ for each minute above five minutes) and is much cheaper than a master-licensing fee. Therefore, a rerecording mixer for film and video rerecords a song or composition that already has been commercially released.
Record Company Staff
Many times successful producers and engineers who have a track record of working with and identifying successful artists and bands will be tapped for an executive level position at a record label, to oversee artist development, production, or A&R. These producers and engineers usually have had an exclusive agreement and history or working with the record label for several years, and the success of the producer or engineer has resulted in the success of the label.
Recording Studio Setup Worker
This person is generally charged with the responsibilities of setting up for a recording session by arriving early before the session musicians, artist, or band and setting up any necessary musical equipment, such as amplifiers, drum set, microphones, running microphone cords, music stands, etc. This person is also generally the last person to leave, since he/she is left with the responsibility of ensuring that all equipment is returned to its proper place.
Studio designers provide complete audio, video, and acoustic design services for recording facilities. Studio designers can serve as consultants for designing or renovating studios for select and distinct purposes.
The studio technician is extremely knowledgeable in the field of electrical engineering, circuitry, and audio electronics. This person may work within the audio manufacturer's headquarters and/or conduct fieldwork, such as visiting a client's studio for customer service–related issues or product repair.