How to find a music producer?
I saw someone write this question on a forum the other day and at first I thought it was strange. Music producer’s all have websites so surely if you’re already at the computer, this is just as easy. Just a simple Google search and it should be easy to find a music producer. Right?
It’s not as easy as it should be.
Well it turns out it’s not so easy anymore. If you try to find a music producer online, you get a whole bunch of other stuff.
Famous Music Producers
There are now famous music producers. Sure there were people like Quincy Jones, Dr Dre and Timberland in the past but these days we have famous DJs and Producers and people see these people as artists. That’s cool but it makes it hard to find the music producers that are actually available for hire.
Music Production Courses, Music Production Software & Fake Music Producers
Further diluting Google when you try to search for a music producer is music production courses. Ever since famous DJ/Producers became a thing, naturally, with famous people comes those who want to become famous. Now the market is flooded by kids calling themselves a music producer because they downloaded some loops or some software that music producers use.
Music production has never been about the tools but about the individual using them, the producer. However, in order to make money, companies starting calling virtual instruments and DAW ‘music production software’ which made kids all around the world think they were doing music production and were music producers. Yet few of them even know, the definition of a music producer let alone are one.
Google doesn’t know what you’re looking for
Google is more likely to think that you’re looking to hear music from a famous DJ/Producer or learn about music production than you are looking to hire and work with a music producer. So it actually shows everything except music producers for hire.
Tell Google what you’re looking for
In cases like this, when a word becomes misused and diluted, Google doesn’t work so well.
Finding local music producers for hire is easier.
If you type: music producer near me
Google starts being more smart. It starts to guess that:
- You want to hire a music producer
- You want to see only listings for music producers for hire
- You want a reputable producer who is operating a business or freelancing as a business
- You want to search the surrounding businesses for music producers
This is the easiest most effective way but it only works if your presently around the area that you are looking for a music producer in.
You can also try adding the name of your or a city that you want to work with a producer in
If you add your city name to the search such as: music producer your city name here
You will get music producers in your city. However, if you’re in a city that has a lot of famous producers, like Los Angeles, you’ll still get some famous people in the list and a few courses too.
You can also try adding ‘for hire’
Adding the words for hire to the search term is not as useful as you think. There are a lot of online music producers and sites where you can hire a producer but using these sites usually places a middle man in between you and the producer which forces you to write emails back and forth.
For example, Sound Better has a lot of music producers except contacting them outside of Sound Better’s system such as on the phone, skype or working with them in person is against the terms of their website. They want everything done on their site via emails/messages. That’s not the best way to work with a producer in my opinion as they can’t direct your performance via email so at best you are getting a beat-maker or remix artist. This might be useful if this is all you want.
Adding the search term for hire didn’t help me find the website of any music producers for me, just 3rd party online producer sites like Sound Better that I wouldn’t recommend.
Best simple search
Here is my number 1 tips for Google. Most professional music producers these days have their own recording studios or work from a specific recording studio. If you type: music producer recording studio followed by your city name or near me you will get accurate results.
For example: music producer recording studio near me
Or for Los Angeles: music producer recording studio los angeles
Or part of a large city like Hollywood instead of Los Angeles: music producer recording studio hollywood
Near me is often not as good as writing your city name as Google starts looking more at Google maps and prioritizing those closest to you rather than showing you the top music producer websites in your city.
So the best simple search is:
music producer recording studio ‘insert your city name here’
For better search results, add Negative Keywords.
What Are Negative Keywords you ask?
Most people don’t know this but you can tell Google to exclude certain types of websites.
By putting a minus – in front of a word, you can hide web pages that contain that word from Google search results.
For example, if you wanted find recipes but you don’t eat meat, you could write: popular recipes -beef -meat -steak -mince -chicken -lamb -pork
This would show you popular recipes that don’t contain any type of meat. This is different to searching for vegan or vegetarian recipes as the articles don’t need to have those words in it to appear.
So if you find that when you search for music producers that you’re getting a lot of courses too, you can add -courses and other words like -degree -school -jobs -job
So the Ultimate Google Search would be Something Like this
music producer recording studio “insert your city name here” -job -jobs -school -degree -famous
So for example, for Los Angeles it would be:
You can try replacing your city name with ‘near me‘ but I’ve noticed this seems to exclude some results and change the order as it’s showing those literally closest to you rather than the top ones in your city.
You’ll notice I added an interesting tag that is -famous. This is a bit of of psychology/guessing of mine. Most professional producers usually name the artists that have worked with rather than writing that they have worked with ‘famous people’. Yet most DJ/Producers who aren’t available for hire tend to have a bio that would say something like ‘became famous after he worked with… and … song charted’ etc… Funnily enough, they also like to brag and tell people that they’re famous lol. So surprisingly, adding -famous actually does eliminate most of these types of producers.
Using this tag does eliminate some producers for hire though so you can try using it and not using it to get different results.
So now you know how to find music producers that have a website and work from a recording studio.
But What About Bedroom Producers?
Most professional producers either hire a space or have the word ‘recording studio’ on their website even if they say ‘home recording studio’ so they are still likely to appear on a Google search. Some though, usually the up and coming producers will not.
Do you want a Bedroom Producer?
I started as a bedroom producer. This is how most music producers and beat-makers start. The reality is though, since they will still be learning, they will be much slower. You might find they’re not too much cheaper if you’re paying per hour as they’ll just take longer to do everything in most cases. But if you’re in the ghetto and out of cash and want to see if there is someone talented around you for cheap or even free, the best way to find these sort of people is just word of mouth. Attending music conferences, networking groups and just speaking to other musicians.
Is it worth it?
I would say that it used to be in the 90s and early 2000s but these days, it seems almost every kid with a Macbook thinks they’re a music producer and they usually suck. So it’s usually not worth the hassle to search for amateur producers as the whole point of a music producer is to give you a professional marketable product that the producer knows will be popular. Amateur producers usually don’t have that skill yet.
However, in saying that, I was not too bad when I was a bedroom producer so they are of course exceptions but the percentage of those that are talented is super low these days.
What About Word of Mouth?
If your friend releases a super hot track, your first though is probably ‘who made this beat’ or ‘who produced this song for you?’
You might not get an honest answer
Now the answer you are going to get is going to depend on how honest your friend is and whether or not he/she sees you as a competitor.
My story on Word of Mouth
All of my clients were happy with me and I’ve been producing and making happy clients since 2003. However, if you look online, you’ll see that I should have thousands of reviews. Yet I only have a handful. Whenever I would ask my clients to leave a review they never would. I would always wonder why?
Why weren’t people recommending me?
Then I remembered back when I was working as a radio announcer at a popular radio station in my city (Fresh 927). If we ever played a song that people didn’t like the phones would light up. People would be mad, really mad, complaining about the song. So we’d take it off. If we got no complaints, we knew they were enjoying the music. Then if we started getting a few calls every now and then asking for the name of a song (this was before Shazam existed) we knew that the song was super hot. So what does this mean? People will complain if they don’t like something. If they are enjoying it, they’ll generally be quiet and say nothing.
Still though, you’d think they’d be more positive reviews
But… that doesn’t explain why I wasn’t getting many reviews, I should still have more as I’ve created probably over 1000 songs. Then I started to realize what was going on. Some clients were just more blunt. I would hear them playing on their phones listening to their friends and sometimes they were really talented. I would say things like, “Who is this?” They would say “This is a friend of mine.” Then I say something like, “He’s really talented, you should tell him to come to the studio.” Then their reply would be,
“No, you’re my producer.”
I would point out that anyone can hire me though the website but they wanted me to be their personal music producer. This gave them the feeling that I was their secret weapon and they didn’t want anyone else to have me.
Does this apply to Los Angeles an other large cities?
This was back in a smaller town in Australia. I think people in larger cities are less silly as there are lots more music producers. Back in my home town, there were only a handful of music producers and I was number 1 on Google for about 15 years so I was well known enough online. Rappers were in general were better at telling other rappers about me but singers, they would often even get mad when they couldn’t book the studio for a week or two because other people had booked it.
In LA, if your producer is busy, there’s probably someone else you can use if you really need to meet a deadline for some reason but the producer you normally used is booked.
So Word of Mouth might be Useful Too
I just wouldn’t rely on it only. I think that is a mistake that lots of singers and rappers make.
It’s highly likely that the music producers that are ‘too good’ are so good that their clients don’t want anyone else to have them. People know that a good music producer can be what makes or breaks a song and as a result that can be what makes someone popular.
If they’re truly a good friend, they should tell you
A good friend will want the best for you. Unfortunately, some people are just ultra competitive and want to have their own ‘secret’ music producer…. that you can probably hire by searching on Google lol.
Referrals from Recording Studios in Your Area
Some music producers hire spaces in other recording studios especially in large cities. So if you phone up some recording studios, they may be able to put you in touch with a good music producer.
By Searching for Recording Studios
Similar to above, lots of music producers have their own studios and work for other studios. So you can Google for recording studios and checkout their websites to to see if they have a music producer(s).
Most of these websites will appear using the long search term mentioned above though. So I’d suggest doing this after if you can’t find what you’re looking for using the first method.
Music Industry Conferences, networking and meet up groups
Music producers sometimes go to music industry related conferences, networking and meet up groups. You might just bump into an awesome producer at and event. If you do, don’t assume they suck. Checkout their website, their music and make a decision yourself as to whether they suck or not. You just might meet an amazing producer that you didn’t know about.
Gigs & “Being Discovered”. Will a Music Producer Find Me?
It’s not the 80s or 90s anymore. Don’t wait around for a music producer to discover you at a gig. It will probably never happen. You might meet one at a gig but it’s unlikely that they will work for you for free on a percentage.
Why is it Unlikely To Happen?
It’s true that professional Music Producers used to go out and look for talent back in the 90s and earlier. This is where the myth and confusion comes from.
In the 90s record labels had artist development deals. Music producers could ‘discover an artist’ work for them for free and make them sign a ‘producer contract’. They would then produce them, pitch the songs to A&Rs in hope of the A&R liking it an signing the artist. Then the producer could earn millions.
These days there are no artist development deals due to the decline in music sales.
What does that mean?
This means labels only sign artists that are already popular and have a large fan base. They do this to ‘reduce risk’.
Music Producers are busy producing and creating music every day. They never had time to take on the role of band and artist managers. Since they no longer have anyone to pitch the artist and songs to, it doesn’t matter how well they produce the song or how amazing it is. Whether it will be successful relies on whether it will be promoted properly or not.
That now makes it too risky for producer to try to discover artists. Even if they make an amazing product, they don’t know if it will be popular or not since the song and artist won’t be signed on how good it is alone. No matter how marketable the song or album is, it still needs to be marketed well to get signed. That part is out of the hands of the producer.
Ways to find a music producer.
- Google search using the phrase: music producer recording studio “insert your city name here” -job -jobs -school -degree -famous
- Word of Mouth, if you can get it.
- Don’t wait to be discovered, it’s unlikely to happen. Since labels now days only sign artists that are popular, it’s best to create the best product/song/album that you can. Then market it well.
Since a music producer can help you make a radio ready marketable product that is likely to be popular if promoted well, searching for a music producer is a no brainer for rappers and singers.
P.S. You can just use me lol. Provided you like my style and you’re in Los Angeles or willing to come here.
-Tom Watson (Music Producer)