How to become a music executive producer (salary, role)

The other day A friend of mine asked me if I knew what it takes to become a music executive. I decided to research the topic and this is what I found out.
f you want to become a music executive producer you need to master the skills of:

  • Writing
  • Arranging
  • Producing
  • Recording

Then you’ll need to be quite good at the following:

  • Management
  • Creativity
  • Sound engineering
  • Music distribution
  • Cover art
  • Orchestration
  • Vocal management
  • Read sheet music
  • Playing an instrument



[learn_more caption=”Quiz”] PS I have created a short quiz for you to test your knowledge 🙂 you can find it at the end of the post[/learn_more]


A peek behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of your favorite television show, music or movie, there is a crew or cast that ensure that you are fully entertained. The crew is set to take care of various production tasks such as organizing, planning, delegating as well as contributing to creativity and financial management. The executive producer is among the most important position in such a crew.


What are the roles of a music executive producer?

The roles of a music executive producer range from arranging, writing, producing, directing, editing and recording songs to creating beats and cinematography.

For those with an eye of art, this is an upcoming high earning career choice in the music industry.


What is required for the job?

Being a successful music producer requires a creative mind as you will need to work with different types of people in terms of their art as well as their business perspectives.
The ideal music producer is therefore required to view music at a creative or artistic level and also at the commercial aspect of it. Other necessary skills for a music executive producer include:


  1. Being able to work with label executives
  2. Work with money
  3. Work with talent
  4. Work with marketing skills


Areas that Need an M.E.P.

There are three main areas that require the services of an executive producer. These are television, music and motion pictures.


A) Executive Motion Picture Producers

For a motion picture producer, you will need to have a prior understanding of how movies are created. You will also need specific film making skills such as writing, acting, editing and directing.

MEPs are responsible for the creation of a film in time as well as on budget. They also ensure that all the materials for the film are available, scripts are written as well as find financing.
Developing a comprehensive shooting schedule, a production budget plan, and even coming up with shooting locations are amongst the tasks music executive produces are carrying out.


B) Executive music producers

Other than the basic skills for a motion picture producer, an executive music producer will also need to have a solid knowledge of musical instruments. Most of them are usually responsible for the business aspect of the production.
They are also involved in the creative or artistic process where they get nearly total control over the performance of the artist.


Music producers assist the artist in fine-tuning their performance and often undertake the role of both the producer and director. Their wide range of expertise ranges from staging and designing, picking recording locations, sound engineering, music distribution, cover art, orchestration, and vocal management. They are also responsible for the production of timetable and budgeting.


C) Executive TV Producers

What does a TV producer?

In television production, a TV producer supervises the creative and financial aspects. They are responsible for all areas related to the production of shows, series and movies. In addition, they are involved in daily developments, approving and planning of publicity as well as promotional campaigns.

A TV producer is further required to have a degree in media or communications as well as entertainment and film making knowledge.

Television series and shows require the producer to work quickly and make snap decisions. This is because they have specific time restraints unlike in movie production where it can take even months to complete.

Other tasks include:


  1. Creating characters and concepts
  2. Approve storylines, production team selection
  3. Hiring cast and directors, as well as
  4. Managing the budget and schedule

Education and Training

Most music executive producers usually start as songwriters or performers. Many of them can even play a musical instrument or two. Though there are no set education requirements, most of the successful producers attain the position after being in the industry for a while. However, in order to improve your business side, it is necessary to have a university degree in any field in the music industry. Most executive producers have at least a bachelors degree in journalism communications, business or arts management.

These include courses such as a degree in music production, music business or even sound engineering.

Some of the key skills that you’re required to acquire include:

  • Handling recording equipment
  • Entertainment law
  • Wide Knowledge of musical styles
  • Marketing, and
  • Talent management

However, besides having a music degree, the other paramount thing for the ultimate success in the career is experience, marketing and finding new talents!

The entertainment industries offer a wide range of career opportunities for executive producers. Depending on which field you choose, you will need specific skills and training for the job.


The salary of an executive producer

My research revealed that the salary of an executive producer varies per region, furthermore contributing factors are his level of skill and experience in the field.

  • In the Northeast region executive producers between $112,000 and $151,000 per year,  that is in Maine and Massachusetts respectively.
  • in the West region, they earn between $100,000 and $141,000 per year with a lower salary in Montana and the highest in California.
  • In Mississippi and the District of Columbia that is the South region, the salary range was between $97,000  and €196,000 per year.
  • Lastly in the midwest region executive producers earned between $97,000 and $132,000 per year that is in South Dakota and Minnesota respectively.

A way to increase your salary as an executive producer is with experience regardless of your field. Also, executives, tend to get a share of the profits whether we talking about the music or movie industry.


The salary of a music executive producer

The above numbers reveal what executive producers make in all fields, now, let’s focus on just the music Executives.
According to my research music executive producers earn between $42,890 and $111,250 yearly.  In the music industry, some receive only a salary while others also get a percentage from the album and single profits.


If I don’t have a college degree?

Besides earning a college-level degree, you can as well as obtain an entry-level position to increase your job opportunities. One can now acquire training in various music industry fields.

For instance, you can get into the business as an intern, even without pay, and make your way up to the top as you gain experience. You are also more likely to gain more experience and training while working in the position of a music executive assistant.


Gain Experience

Once you have achieved your academic qualification for a music producer, the next step involves gaining experience in the field. A new recruit is required to be willing to undertake tougher and newer projects so as to gain more experience and build a portfolio.

An excellent idea to improve your skills would be to work with individuals and producers who can help you in identifying good investments, promoting new album releases and even communicating with upcoming hot musicians.


Take additional Training

You may also consider taking additional training in a field related to the music business or industry. This will increase chances for a successful career as you will widen your musical scope.

Some of the most common courses that you can take for further training include:

  • Production process strategies
  • Artist management
  • Merchandising
  • Legal issues, and
  • Music acquisitions

You can also choose to expand on areas such as

  • Public relations
  • Music licensing
  • Tour management
  • Global music management

The most essential thing is to progressively gain experience in order to become a successful executive! 😉



While background experience is paramount in earning a top position in the music industry, there are numerous college programs geared towards business, songwriting, marketing, and even music theory.


Pursuing a masters degree in the field can also significantly increase your chances for a top executive producer job. However, it is highly recommended that you begin your way from the bottom by working with a lower profile studio or as a production assistant.
This will help you grow your experience and reputation in the industry.

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