There are no stupid questions when you start making music. So let’s address one of the simplest of all – what does music production mean?

Music production seems like a complicated, intimidating subject for a beginner to get your head around, with hundreds of technical terms to learn and techniques to master. Time to ease you in slowly.

What is “production” in music?

Music production is making music using digital tools. It’s the journey of a song, from initial idea through the writing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering of the music.

Beatmaking and the recording of instruments is typically done in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation.) The song is assembled piece by piece in parts called tracks, one instrument or sound at a time.

Music software like Pro Tools or GarageBand are both DAWs – basically, a recording studio on your computer. Each DAW contains plugins of virtual instruments of every type you can image from drum kits to synthesisers to gongs, and effects like reverb to manipulate the sound design of your tracks.

Logic Pro X
Logic Pro, a DAW for Apple users, has different coloured tracks running horizontally down the screen.

Getting started producing music has never been more accessible or cheaper. Really all you need is a computer, a microphone and your ears. Free DAWs are available to download; the popularity of loops and samples means that you can make beats and click notes into a piano roll to make melodies and chords with zero prior musical knowledge.

Online platforms like BandLab make the process even easier and more social, too, and YouTube is full of music production tutorials for beginners, whatever software you’re using. You can even produce music using just a smartphone app.

What exactly does a music producer do?

In a classic studio, music producers oversee the recording process. They organise what the musicians and singers are up to in the studio and make sound design choices.

Nowadays “producer” means different things in different contexts and genres. When it comes to electronic music, the producer does everything in the creative process; in hip-hop, the producer is the one who made the beat.

So – if you’re making music in your bedroom, recording every instrument and vocals yourself, or making beats in a DAW to rap over later, congratulations; you’re a producer. If you’re helping to record your buddy’s song whilst they play guitar, you’re a producer!

Music production is a vast subject, covering techniques like autotune to hardware like audio interfaces. But you’re just getting started, so pick a DAW, take it one step at a time, and enjoy the feeling of getting creative and making music.

Once you get going, find more music production tips here:

Just as it’s never been easier to make music, it’s never been easier to release music, either. You used to need a record deal to sell your songs, but now you can upload your tracks onto Spotify and other streaming platforms using a digital music distributor.

RouteNote offers unlimited music distribution, helping independent artists release their songs to streaming services for free. We make the process simple and quick, and you keep control over your music, free to come and go at any time. Once people start streaming and downloading your music, you’ll earn royalties and keep 85% of revenue; or you can choose to switch to our Premium music distribution, and keep 100% of your earnings for a small fee.

Find out more and sign up to RouteNote here today.