Los Angeles Music Producer & Sound Engineer
Songs produced, mixed + mastered by Tom Watson
A real Music Producer
Tom Watson is a Hollywood, Los Angeles Music Producer, Beat Maker and Sound Engineer with 19 years of experience.
It seems like these days every kid with a laptop who downloaded a few loops of the internet likes to call themselves a music producer…
Tom Watson, however, is a real music producer. He doesn’t just ‘make beats’. He creates full songs for singers and rappers from scratch on the spot and in person in the studio while directing their performance.
If you sing a melody, he play it, accompany it, create variations and transform it into an entire song in right in front of your eyes and ears.
Every song on this site was produced from scratch by Tom Watson. He played all the melodies on the piano/synth and drums on the mpc and/or maschine without using any loops/samples. Tom also mixed and mastered each song. He has all the skills needed to take your ideas and turn them into a finished radio ready and label ready release.
New to LA but a long-standing career in Music Production, Tom has permanently relocated to the USA to operate a new state of the art music production and recording studio in the heart of Hollywood.
CREDITS: Tom Watson produces for the songwriters behind artists such as Drake, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Akon, Usher and many other A-List artists.
Tom watson is not just your typical beat-maker, who just makes a beat from some samples and loops. He creates all the music from scratch on the piano, keyboard and on various drum machines and works with the artist(s) to create a radio ready song on the spot.
You don't have to get signed to sound like you're signed!
I know what you’re thinking, “Once I sign to a label they will hook me up with people who will make me amazing music for me.” This might be true, it was more true in the 90s though when artist development deals existed. These days, music sales are smaller and labels want to sign finished songs and for the artist to have decent following. Most independent artists these days that are singers or rappers just find a beat online and simply go into a studio and record their vocals over it and sometimes they mix the track outs of the beat.
What if you could, without signing to a label, go into a studio, have all the music created for you on the spot from scratch, electronic/hip hop drums, synths, basses, every element of a song and it was done in a way to suit your voice and style and you could write your vocals in the studio or work with top line writers behind A-List artists such as those behind Rihanna, Usher, Lil Wayne, Diplo, David Guetta. This is what Tom Watson does every day.
People like yourself literally come into the studio with no song or just a vocal melody or rap and leave with all the music created from scratch, written in the studio, mix, polished and mastered to commercial radio quality right in front of you. There is nothing better than the vibe and feeling of having a song made for your from scratch. Tom doesn’t need to use loops, he plays every instrument, element and sound in the songs you here on this website live on the keyboard/piano as well as playing the drums live on the MPC and NI Maschine. He can do the same for you.
99% of the large studios look the same as they did in the 70s and 80s and come with just an engineer. At Current Sound, we do things differently. You just don’t get an old studio, you get a modern recording studio integrated with music production & creation tools, keyboards, drum machines and of course the main ingredient, music producer, beat maker and sound engineer, Tom Watson, included in the price with every session.
Most frequent questions and answers
Not really. There are just people who call themselves a ‘music producer’ in Los Angeles everywhere. Most of those are beat-makers. You can read my article on the difference between beat-makers and producers. The reality is, there are very few actual real music producers in Los Angeles available for hire.
The major labels have snatched up most of best music producers who only work for artists on their label. It’s not so easy to get major label artist quality as an independent artist. I however, prefer to work with independent artists than to be forced by a label to produce ‘the trend of the month’.
Generally speaking, I’m usually 6-12 months ahead of the ‘trend of the month’ or more. That means by the time you market your song, it will stand up. As an independent artist, it’s important to have time to promote your song since it takes much longer for a song to catch on. You can’t just throw it on every radio station at the same time like the major labels can.
This is why I call the studio Current Sound. I specialize in producing modern genres. I’ve quite versatile in most modern genres and I help create a unique sound for each of my artists to best suit their voice, style and genre.
Compared to beat-makers and wannabe music producers, I see the song all the way through to the end rather than just selling you a beat to take into a studio. From the beat/instrumental, through to the vocal performance, mixing and mastering.
Piano & Songwriting Skills
I’m a trained pianist that can play and accompany any melody by ear. Rather than you having to conform to a generic beat made from loops that someone else played, I work with the artist to create custom and unique, full finished, radio & label ready songs from scratch, tailored to you. You get that vibing back and forth feeling that you would otherwise only usually get from singing or rapping with a full band. I literally play in every sound, chord, melody synth and instrument in the keyboard/piano while you watch, to fit your vocal melody, rap or idea rather than you having to conform to a generic random beat made from loops and melodies that the beat-maker didn’t play. Most so called ‘producers’ would have you alter you vocal to fit the music whereas if you have an existing melody, rap, or idea, I can come up with something to fit around your vocals, without you have to alter your melodies or flow. Every note, sound and instrument can be altered. The same goes for situations when I’m bringing in and working with session musicians.
More Than Beat-Making
I don’t just ‘make a beat’ but I also direct the artist’s performance and use my knowledge and understanding of music theory, skills and knowledge of market trends to help you the artist create a marketable, radio and label ready song.
Direction & Recording
I have the ability to picture the entire finished song and know what is needed to get there. I work with the artist and direct their performance. Often in recording, it’s easy for the artist to loose perspective when they are just singing or rapping one part of the song. I’m constantly helping the artist deliver the best takes during the tracking session.
All in One Service. From Initial Idea to Radio Ready Mix & Master
Everything is done in house in the recording studio with the artist present. You can literally book the studio with nothing more than an idea and leave with a final finished, mixed and mastered song ready for release.
Plus, it’s more affordable than you probably think. Most songs on the Current Sound website were done in 1-2 days in the studio from initial idea through to creating all the music from tracking, vocal tuning, mixing and mastering ready for release. So for a similar price to buying the exclusive rights to a generic beat online to record over in the studio, you can have a custom instrumental and song created to suit yourself, style, genre and market.
Also, my Hollywood studio is super pimped out, comfy and you’re gonna have a great time, with great care and detail taken on your song rather than a rushed feeling that is all so common in many other Los Angeles recording studios.
I’m a music producer for hire and I can help by creating a marketable radio ready and label ready product. As for promotion, that is up to yourself and your manager.
I’m too busy producing, recording and mixing songs for artists every day that I couldn’t possibly fit in the time to promote all of my artists as well.
I do however, have some music promotion and marketing tips which you can read here.
I never promise that my artists will get signed as that really depends on marketing. I wrote a whole blog on this topic here: Do Producers Help Artists Get Signed in 2019? The article touches on the fact that none of the major labels offer artist development deals anymore. You must promote your own music and develop a large fan base first. That means, there’s no one I can pitch your song to that will sign it no matter how amazing it is. You have to put in the work in to market it yourself.
The way that I can and do help artists get signed is by creating marketable songs for them that are likely to do well if they are marketed properly.
Now, it’s more important than every to have a high quality marketable product to get noticed. Artists often forget that the influencers, DJs, radio stations, spotify playlist curators, online music magazines and blogs all expect a high quality production, mix and master as well as having a killer song that will do well in the market and grab people’s attention. That’s where I can help.
In order to keep prices affordable, we don’t do fixed prices per song. With a fixed price for a song, you have to allow a little for unforeseen circumstances. Not to mention that every song is different and what will be required and the time required will vary too much.
Most of the time when you’re paying for a fixed price at a studio, that guy doesn’t have the ability to take your song to the highest possible standard. He/she is going to rush your product to get the next person in who is paying a fixed price.
At Current Sound, you simply pay for the studio time like any regular recording studio except all of the services are included.
You can see a full list of the included services and prices on this page below but for a quick summary, with ever session you get music production, beat-making, piano, mixing and mastering all included in the same hourly and day rate.
The hourly and day rate is similar to most mid-sized studios that don’t offer or include any of those services. You just pay for the time we spend in the studio working on your song.
Depending on what needs to be done, will depend on how long it will take and therefore, how much it will cost. You can see a list of average times for certain services here: How much does it cost to record a song?
Generally speaking on average most songs can be done, even including custom music production and beat-making from scratch in 1-2 days in the studio. The latter giving more time for experimentation, vocal tuning, vocal tracking and so on. Any more time than that, you’re usually either getting something very unique and original and we’re spending more time than usual to be more creative or we’re bringing in lots of session musicians or spending time writing the top-line in the studio. Most of the songs on the Current Sound website were done in a day or two in the studio, from start to finish.
Recently, to cater for people outside LA, I’ve introduced fixed pricing for certain online services such as online mastering, custom beats, vocal tuning and so on. They are stack-able, meaning, you can purchase a few different services. Generally speaking, it is often more expensive than just booking the studio here in Hollywood and attending the session, especially when you start stacking services but it’s a good option for those outside Los Angeles. Click here to view the list of online services.
There is no short answer to this as every song is different and more established artists might need less takes than an up and coming artist. Being creative and experimental also takes more time than doing something simple and generic.
In saying that, I’ve looked at my bookings over the years and come up with some averages for you depending on what you’re doing/after. It’s pretty long. You can read my blog post on average recording studio times.
Since every song and project is unique though, for a proper estimate, it’s best just to call Tom at Current Sound on 310 598-0020 and he’ll help you work out how much time to book the studio for.
Royalty splits will be discussed prior to work being done.
In most cases, for unsigned artists with less than 20k followers on Instagram that book/hire me though the studio and pay artist day rate, I don’t worry about it. If you have over 20k followers on Instagram, we might discuss splits prior to working together.
For major label artists, I usually charge 50% on the backend/songwriting/publishing.
If you purchase a beat lease for one of my pre-made beats/instrumentals online, royalty splits are defined in the specific beat lease contract that you purchase. A summary of those terms can be viewed on the beat lease/license comparison page.
I operate the Current Sound recording studio in Hollywood, Los Angeles. It’s located in the heart of Hollywood, Central Hollywood just 5 minutes walk from the walk of fame and the musicians institute. On-site Parking is provided. There are plenty of great cafes and food places within a very short walking distance such as the Hard Rock Cafe, Mel’s Diner, iHop, Fat Sals, Chick-fil-A, Fat Tomato Pizza and a few over-priced hipster cafes lol. Studio hire is included in my hourly and day rates below.
For those outside LA, you can checkout the online services page for up to date pricing for custom hip-hop beats. Keep in mind that the prices on the online services page are stack-able and that the beat will only have a rough mix, intended to be mixed at another studio, with the track-outs/stems supplied.
If you’re recording at home and would like us to mix the beat also, contact us for special pricing. For the best result, sending the compiled vocal track back to us and ordering both the online mixing and online mastering service on the services page will give you the best overall result.
If you’re in LA, I’d suggest booking the studio for a day. In most cases you will leave the studio with a custom beat. If you’re a talented rapper and can freestyle you could possibly even leave the studio with a finished song that day with a rough mix but most of the time we spend half a day mixing the song and 4-8 hours on the production in addition to tracking and editing/comping vocals.
For more generic type beats for pre-written raps and for those that can freestyle, sometimes we can even do 2-3 hours on production, an hour tracking the vocals and still have time to do the full mix and song in a day…. but that’s not the average.
If you’re unsigned yes.
For major label artists, I usually take 50% on the back-end/songwriting for songs that I create the full instrumental/beat from scratch for. It may be possible to buyout/purchase the exclusive rights for a higher fee on a case by case basis.
If you’re an independent artist, DJ or songwriter in LA, you can just book the studio and pay the hourly rate and day rate while I work on it. That way you’re just paying for the time spent creating the remix as well as the time spent on the mix and master. On average, attended remixes work out cheaper since I can get instant feedback on what you’re after.
I mix and master all of my own remixes.
For a fixed prices for remixes for independent artists, including mixing and mastering, you can view the present pricing on the online services page.
For those outside LA, I can stream my studio over the net to you while I work on your remix. However, if you’re in LA, I’d suggest just booking the studio instead.
For labels, please contact the studio for a quote.
A good music producer understands the market and trends and has the “vision for the song”. The best music producers can picture the finished song in their head from the start and knows all the steps that need to be done along the way. The music producer is also the director for the song. Directing the artist’s and band’s performance to help them deliver their best possible takes. He/she oversees the entire song from the start to the end.
In the genres of pop, hip-hop and R&B, there are often no musicians to direct. You can’t direct the band members of a pre-made beat/instrumental lol. You also can’t direct the performance of a pre-made loop. Most music producers in these genres these days can also create beats/instrumentals but the best music producers want full control over the beat/instrumental. That means playing in all of the melodies from scratch. Not all so called ‘music producers’ have this skill. The problem is, anyone can call themselves a music producer. There is a big difference between a producer and a beat-maker. For a real music producer, if they’re not playing everything themselves, they are usually organizing session players to come into the studio to add certain parts to the song.
Most music producers in the pop, hip-hop and R&B genres also edit, tune and mix.
By overseeing the song, working with the vocalist in person to get their best performance and creating the instrumental, the music producer can help take the song to a whole new level, often beyond what the artist might be able to picture. By doing so, the music producer can help the artist create a marketable, radio ready and label ready song.
For a more in depth read about exact what a music producer does, I have a full article on this here.
I have a full article on that here: Difference between a beat-maker & a producer.
Often people confuse the two. There are lots of beat-makers who use the term music producer incorrectly. The main difference is that an actual music producer is working with the artist in person, directing their performance and has the vision for the song. In terms of myself, I also can create beats/instrumentals but I do it in person with the artist and play all the melodies from scratch on the keyboard/synth/piano as well as play in all the drums from scratch. This helps create a custom instrumental to suit the song, the artist’s existing melodies and/or flow and is done in way that helps enhance the song. I also tune the vocals, mix and master the song ready for release either independently by yourself or through your label.
Beat-makers just make the beat/instrumental, usually by themselves without the artist present and usually don’t direct the artist. They also often create instruments from using loops and they usually make the beat/instrumental first. That instrumental is then sold to the artist. Most often lack the music theory to be able to create an instrumental to fit an existing vocal melody and/or flow. Once they’ve made the instrumental, it’s usually sold and they don’t create the full finished song. They often lack the directing part as well as the skills to mix and master the song.
So music producers can also be beat-makers but not all beat-makers are music producers.
For a more in depth comparison you can read this article.
I was thinking of working with you but then I met another 'music producer' (or sound engineer) that I don't like as much but he said he can help hook me up with people 'in the industry'. Now I don't know what to do ?
The fact that this very long, super specific question is so common, common enough to go on my FAQ section should be a big red flag. You would not believe how often I get asked this question.
This is basically a common scam. False or misleading promises in order to get a session booked. Have they even heard the song you want to have produced or mixed? Do they even know your skill level? Do they know the size of your fan base? Your look? Your overall marketability? Most importantly, who have they helped sign in the past recently and what does their actual work sound like?
Not only is it sketchy, it’s also illegal
Most likely they are just saying this to get the session. In almost all states, including California, this is illegal. That means, by suggesting it, they’re already sketchy. They are basically claiming to take on the role of a talent agency. The only difference between an artist manager and a talent agent is you pay the talent agency a fee upfront to manage you. Paying a music producer for a song or for studio time with the promise or even suggestion of promotion is basically a talent agency is disguise.
It’s similar to the modeling agency or actor scam where you have to pay to sign up or for a photo session and they never find you work.
In California, a talent agency has to be licensed and bonded to legally operate and has to pay $50,000 to the state to operate. This is because artists are easily susceptible to promises of fame and will easily part with their money to get it. It is designed to protect artists from scammers and false promises. If someone makes a false promise, you pay them and they don’t deliver, you can sue for that $50,000. This reduces the number of fake talent agencies, although, there are still lots of them.
I can guarantee you, that music producer is not a bonded talent agent. The law exists for a reason. People move to California and Los Angeles in search of fame. The government is trying to help you from being screwed over. However, you still need to protect yourself, especially in any borderline gray area scenario like this.
When It’s Not Illegal
If you’re not paying the music producer and he is taking a split, that is different. You have to work out if giving up a percentage is worth it. That means the producer is acting more like an artist manager, not a talent agency. Artist managers just get paid of a percentage and don’t need to pay that $50,000 bond to the state.
If he/she were to produce, record, mix, master and promote the song for a percentage, without you paying anything, that’s a little closer to artist management or a music publisher and technically is perfectly legal. In that situation, it could be worthwhile if the person actually has the connections and talent but it can also get sketchy.
This was more common in the past. These days, due to the decline of music sales, shrinking major label budgets and the abandoning of artist management deals, for unsigned artists, this offer usually comes from amateur music producers who lack the skills needed to make a marketable product. Although, this arrangement is very common between professional music producers and signed artists. However, signed artists don’t need hookups with those ‘in the industry’. In this situation, you need to look into their skill level because you might end up becoming stuck with them…
The Hidden Costs of Splits
Professional music producers in Los Angeles rarely promote artists for free.
Most likely, if you’re unsigned and in the rare situation that the music producer is promoting you, he’s probably going get you to sign a producer agreement. That often comes with some sort of exclusivity clause and/or forces you to use that producer if you get signed. So this is only good if the music producer is extremely talented. Otherwise, even if he helps you, you’ll be stuck with a sub-par producer.
Split sheets seem more straight forward by comparison. However, depending on the terms or even lack of terms, by default that producer might permanently get a percentage of the songwriting royalties of your song, even if you have it re-recorded or re-produced. Technically, if you signed a split sheet, unless it specifies otherwise, you’d need the original producer’s permission to re-produce your own song! Heartbreaking if you have a killer top-line/vocal over a sub-par production and mix.
Why Professional Music Producers Don’t Find Talent and Hook Up Artists
There are many reasons why professional music producers can’t ‘hookup artists’ anymore. The main one being, there are no artist development deals from the major labels anymore. You can read more about this on my blog post, “Do producers help artists get signed to major labels in 2020?“
Unlike in the 80s and 90s when you could get a meeting at a record label to pitch a song and a new artist, those meetings don’t exist anymore. No major labels are signing songs by rappers or singers based on only what they sound like period. They are signing artists with a following. That is something the artist and their manager have to spend a long time building.
So that makes any ‘connections’ the music producer has rather pointless. Even if he got you a ‘meeting’ with an A&R that he’s friends with at a label, without marketable radio ready songs and a solid and active following of 10k or more followers on Instagram with regular engagement from fans, that meeting is just smoke and mirrors. Some producers do actually have connections like that, however, most are just lying. Even if they do have such connections, often it’s just his A&R friend helping his scam go along so he can keep convincing artists to pay him. This scam can be far harder to detect and even more confusing for artists. So you need to be careful.
True Consultants Can’t Accept Payment
It’s true that A&Rs do have consultants and in rare situations that consultant could also be a music producer or sound engineer. However, he’s not going to tell you before working with you if he is. That completely defeats the purpose. The main job of a consultant is to be a curator of talent and songs. Not to promise to help everyone who hires him regardless of their talent and marketability.
The whole point is they are secretly finding artists that are 100% ready to be signed. Marketing, branding, image, social media following, engagement, fan base, songs, relevance and overall marketability.
They don’t go around hinting they can help people to get work as a music producer or sound enigneer lol. Again, that falls under secretly operating a talent agency, something the major labels don’t tolerate.
Fake Promises = Unprofessionalism
It seems professional music producers just don’t go around hinting to help you if you hire/pay them. It shows a lack of understanding of the music industry and the law. Almost always, these promises or suggestions come from amateur music producers. They’re just looking to reel you in any will say whatever bull sh*t to do so.
In summary, if you’ve been promised to be ‘connected’ to someone in the industry but you have to pay them, whether it’s paying for production or mixing or anything, it’s most likely a scam because it’s illegal to suggest such an opportunity. Even if they say “They can’t promise anything but… hint hint wink wink.” It’s a common scam and many artists are desperate enough to be famous to fall for it.
Music promotion can be sketchy even with professional looking companies so you really have to do your research before paying or indirectly paying for any type of promotion or opportunity.
In my opinion, you should always book a music producer and/or sound engineer based of their talent alone. Spend your money on hiring a professional music producer to help create for you a radio ready and marketable product. Having a marketable product will give you a higher chance of success than a sub-par product by a producer with false or misleading promises, regardless of whether the music producer actually has connections or not. Simply use music producers for music production and artist managers for artist management. Artist management is a full-time job, so music production if the music producer is talented in demand. It’s best to keep the two separate. Otherwise, it’s likely neither will be done correctly.
Personally, it doesn’t effect me if you go with another producer because most likely you’ll be disappointed and come back. At which point, you’ll know how much better I am lol.
However, you can save yourself a lot of money and hassle if you want to by just not making this common mistake in the first place.
Nothing. They mean the same thing. It’s just that the name record producer dates back to when artists were releasing records. The modern name is “music producer” but a few well-known music producers have changed back and started using the title record producer again since every kid with a Macbook and Garageband likes to think they’re a music producer now lol.
There is no harm asking as you might get lucky but generally speaking, I’m often booked 1-2 weeks in advance on average if you need a full day in the recording studio.
I’m very aware that most musicians are spontaneous and want to get into the recording studio at short notice as soon as possible when they’re feeling creative and motivated. However, just calling random recording studios and/or music producers in Los Angeles and taking whoever is available first is pretty much the worst possible thing you could do.
Los Angeles is a big music city. Those that are in demand are often booked in advance. By just calling around to see who is free that day or the next day, you’re increasing the chances of finding a sub-par music producer and/or recording studio.
Most artists seem to make this mistake early on in the career but that’s also the same time when saving for studio time is the hardest. Try to learn to be a little more patient are careful with who you spend you hard earned money with because once your budget is gone, it could take a long time until you can afford to come back into the recording studio again.
The music industry is highly competitive. I believe finding someone who will help take your song to the next level is important. More important than finding someone who is ok or just average but available that day. Please give me a call or send an email using the contact form. If I can’t answer at the time due to being in a recording session, I’ll get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your project and/or book a time for session for you in the recording studio.
I usually answer the phone calls and emails myself to offer a personalized approach. Your music is important. It’s best to discuss it with myself since we’ll be working on it together. A secretary can’t tell you my thoughts on your song or project and/or estimate studio time as accurately as I can. However, when I’m in a recording session, I often can’t pick up the phone. So just leave a voicemail explaining your song or project and I’ll call you back when I have a moment free. You can also use the contact form below.
I return every voicemail, sms and email. In most cases I will get back to you within 24 hours.
The reality is that most artists could benefit from the direction of a music producer. When you’re in the booth and focused on performing, it’s hard to be subjective and critical of your own performance. You’re often focusing on one part of the song without taking into account the final product. You’re also only hearing what it sounds like right now, not what it could be. A good music producer that can picture the final product can help direct your performance in a way that will improve the final song.
Also, most singers and rappers these days just sing or rap over a pre-made beat/instrumental they found online. In almost all circumstances, the beat would sound better if the drums, melodies and chords were tweaked to fit with the vocal, the artist’s style and their song. If you’re performing over a pre-made beat/instrumental there is no back and forth anymore. During the band era, singers and musicians would vibe back and forth and tweak their parts to fit with each other. That is something that is missing when you find a beat/instrumental online and write over it. Also, most beats you find online are very generic. It’s hard to stand out if you’re singing or rapping over a generic beat.
To compete in the market, you need a marketable product.
Tom Watson can not only direct your performance but he can create a custom beat in the studio to fit with your vocal melody or flow, without you having to alter what you’ve written. So that means, if you’re written over a generic beat/instrumental, that beat can be completely scrapped and a new instrumental/beat can be created to suit your vocal melody and/or flow to create a more marketable song. This is all done on the spot with the artist in the studio in the hourly and day rate and often costs similar to purchasing the exclusive rights to most generic online beats. Plus if you’re independent, you also get the exclusive rights for the custom beat created. Tom is also an expert in vocal tuning and mixing. He sees the song all the way through from the start to the finish and helps create for you to create a radio ready and label ready product.
Although some artists might be happy with just a recording and rough mix from another studio, in most cases radio, DJs, playlist curators, influencers and labels are more fussy that you. Your best chance of success in marketing your song, starts with having a marketable product in the first place. That’s where Tom can help.
Artist PackagePayment required on the day
- Studio Hire (full day - 8 hours)
- Music Production
- Beat Making from scratch
- Graphical Mode Manual Auto Tuning
Artist Hourly RatePayment required on the day
- Studio Hire (per hour)
- Music Production
- Beat Making from scratch
- Graphical Mode Manual Auto Tuning
Private LessonsPay as you go or per term
- Piano Lessons
- Beat Making Lessons
- Piano & Beat Making Combo Lesson
- Recording & Sound Engineering Lessons
- Composition & Songwriting
- Ear training & playing by ear
Contact: Tom Watson
Studio: Current Sound
T: (310) 598-0020