For many of us, producing music for a living and DJing at big venues and festivals around the world is the ultimate dream.
We all have famous artists that we idolize, but how do you get there, exactly?
You might be a total newbie when it comes to audio mixing or someone who’s a few years into their music production career.
Either way, this guide includes everything you need to know about how to be a professional music producer full time.
Consider The Music You Want To Make
Before anything, it’s well worth thinking about the music you want to make. Music genres come and go, and some are always more popular than others, but what matters is choosing a genre that’s going to keep you invested in producing music.
This means choosing a genre that you’re passionate about. It might be house, techno, drum and bass, hip hop, or even a fusion of two EDM genres. Whatever it is, listen to it, study the sounds, and make sure it’s a genre that gets you excited.
Invest In Music Producer Equipment
The next step is to invest in everything you need to start music production. It won’t be cheap, but it’ll be worth it if you’re serious about producing music full-time.
So what will you need?
The basics include:
- Desktop computer or laptop with relatively powerful specs
- DAW (digital audio workstation)
- Studio monitors and studio headphones
- MIDI keyboard
- Audio interface
- Microphone (if you plan on recording vocals or instruments)
This list is general as there are different kinds of hardware and software you can invest in. Still, it’s a good checklist that’ll get you started.
Develop Your Music Production Skills And Experiment
Once you have your music production setup, the next thing to do is simple: develop your music production skills and experiment!
This can take an indefinite amount of time. But the good news is that you’ll continue to get better at producing music with the more time you invest.
You can choose to learn everything online, enroll in a music production (or music theory) course, or even both.
The bottom line is that you build your music knowledge, improve your critical listening skills, and experiment with sounds, drum patterns, samples, software plugins, music hardware, and so on. Doing this will also help you to develop your personal sound.
Create A Portfolio Of Your Music
The next step is to make a portfolio of your music. You might already have a collection of songs from experimenting, or you might decide to produce a new set of songs (an EP, for example) that showcase your sound and music production skills.
Either way, you need a song portfolio – as this is what you’ll use to network and market yourself as an artist.
So while you’re at it, don’t forget to come up with your artist name. Make sure it’s unique, memorable, and in some way reflective of the music you make!
Network And Market Yourself
When you’ve made a portfolio or EP of your music that you’re proud of, it’s time to network with other music producers and market yourself to music labels.
Using social media platforms—like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok—create engaging content about your music to market yourself and start connecting with music fans and other music producers.
A good tip here is to find producers and music labels (even small ones) that are local and associated with your music genre. This will help your social media networking, in general, as well as increase the chances of having your songs released.
And once you achieve your first release, you can start looking forward to your first set of royalties as a music producer!
Learn To DJ
DJing comes hand-in-hand with producing music. Not only is it fun, but it’s also one of the best ways to network and market yourself “offline”, as well as get your music heard.
Like music production, DJing is a learning curve that will take time. Thankfully, getting the basics down is not as hard as learning to produce.
And once you learn how to DJ to a decent live standard, you can start playing at local venues and, as result, slipping your songs into your sets for new audiences to hear!
Keep At It
Once you’ve done all the above, the final thing to do is simple: keep at it!
Keep honing your craft, experimenting with sounds and music production tools, releasing new music, DJing live, and networking with other music producers and music labels while marketing yourself and your music to bigger audiences.
And as long as you continue to improve as a music producer and grow your network, your music will only get better and receive more recognition.
There you have it: how to be a professional music producer full-time. Of course, to produce music full-time, you’ll need to earn enough to support yourself, but the above tips are everything you need to know to get there. So start today!