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A record producer is a music recording project's overall supervisor whose responsibilities can involve a range of creative and technical leadership roles. Typically the job involves hands-on oversight of recording sessions: ensuring artists deliver acceptable performances, supervising the technical engineering of the recording, and coordinating the production team and process. The producer's involvement in a musical project can vary in depth and scope. Sometimes in popular genres the producer may create the recording's entire sound and structure. However, in classical music recording, for example, the producer serves as more of a liaison between the conductor and the engineering team. The role is often likened to that of a film director though there are important differences. It is distinct from the role of an executive producer, who is mostly involved in the recording project on an administrative level, and from the audio engineer who operates the recording technology.
|Names||Music producer, record producer|
|Competencies||Instrumental skills, keyboard knowledge, arranging, vocal coaching|
|Music executive, recording engineer, executive producer, film producer, A&R|
Varying by project, the producer may or may not choose all of the artists. If employing only synthesized or sampled instrumentation, the producer may be the sole artist. Conversely, some artists do their own production. Some producers are their own engineers, operating the technology across the project: preproduction, recording, mixing, and mastering. Record producers' precursors were "A&R men", who likewise could blend entrepreneurial, creative, and technical roles, but often exercised scant creative influence, as record production still focused, into the 1950s, on simply improving the record's sonic match to the artists' own live performance.
Advances in recording technology, especially the 1940s advent of tape recording—which Les Paul promptly innovated further to develop multitrack recording—and the 1950s rise of electronic instruments, turned record production into a specialty. In popular music, then, producers like George Martin, Phil Spector and Brian Eno led its evolution into its present use of elaborate techniques and unrealistic sounds, creating songs impossible to originate live. After the 1980s, production's move from analog to digital further expanded possibilities. By now, DAWs, or digital audio workstations, like Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Studio One, turn an ordinary computer into a production console, whereby a solitary novice can become a skilled producer in a thrifty home studio. In the 2010s, efforts began to increase the prevalence of producers and engineers who are women, heavily outnumbered by men and prominently accoladed only in classical music.