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What is the difference between a Producer and an Executive Producer?

What is the difference between a Producer and an Executive Producer?


Question from a Audio Masterclass visitor…

“On occasion I will see someone like Tommy Lipuma or Quincy Jones listed as 'Executive Producer' on a CD. What does this mean?”

Of course, titles such as this can be made up on the spot. You run your own studio? Well, you can be Engineer, Studio Manager, Executive Studio Manager, Principal or CEO as you choose. Whichever you think will impress people and satisfy your ego most.

But there is a broad understanding of what the title Executive Producer means… Where a Producer produces musicians, an Executive Producer produces producers.

Look at it this way. Let's say that you're a producer. But you want to make your business bigger than a lone freelance can grow to. So you get your own studio, a receptionist/secretary and someone to handle the invoices.

You now own a production company. Feels good, doesn't it? Better than just being a producer.

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You want to grow the company, so you hire an engineer. As the company grows, and the engineer's experience develops, you decide to promote him/her to producer and hire an assistant engineer.

You are now an Executive Producer. Feels even better!

The producer and engineer work for you, so although you leave them alone to get on with their work, you listen to what's coming out of the studio and every so often guide your employees in the right direction.

And your company grows. You build another studio, hire another producer and assistant.

Then along comes a really major client. They have an artist who needs a hit record. So you put both of your production teams to work on the same project, but independently.

As their work progresses, you pop in and out of both studios and give hints and advice. And of course you mention the other team to inspire a spirit of competition.

Eventually you will decide that there is a clear winner and probably merge the team to work on the one track. The team that didn't win can be set the task of coming up with additional ideas.

And on the finished product, along with the production credits you will see the sentence…

Executive Producer: Your Name Here


David Mellor

Layout, Signal Flow & I/O

Layout, Signal Flow & I/O

This high level audio course is essential knowledge for anyone who wants to learn how analog consoles and their state of the art studios are "wired up." It gives you the deepest possible understanding of mixing console Signal Flow and I/O both analog & digital.

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David Mellor