The term ghost producer refers to a songwriter or record producer who does not have any set workspace for production. They work in various spaces, from their home studio to coffee shops and hotel rooms, where they produce music and/ or videos for other artists as part of a freelance arrangement. In many cases, ghost producers are also the artists they work with. The term was first used in popular culture in the early 2000s, but it gained traction when big-name musicians began using it to describe their working style in the digital era.
Ghost producers are so-called because they do not have an office or regular workspace where they spend most of their time at. Instead, they operate from a variety of locations and almost always on brief-term contracts until something suitable comes up. So how much do ghost producers earn? Let’s take a look…
How Much Can a Ghost Producer Earn?
Ghost producers are often contracted to produce music or videos in exchange for a flat fee. The fee usually depends on the number of tracks or videos produced, plus a small markup for the studio rental and other overhead costs involved.
Typically, the fee is much lower than a fully-fledged studio session would cost, but it’s also not exactly a lucrative job, which is why ghost producers are so rare. It’s important to understand that pay is different for individual ghost producers.
What is the Average Ghost Producer Salary?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how much a ghost producer can earn. This is mostly down to the experience of the producer, as well as the type of music or content produced.
While it’s possible to make a decent living as a ghost producer, it’s rare. And it’s also important to consider that ghost production is often a side job for the producer, and it’s difficult to get a regular paycheck from it. Because of this, the average salary of a ghost producer might vary from year to year and from producer to producer.
With that said, there are a few figures we can use as a rough guide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that the national average salary for a music producer was $88,640 per year. Assuming our ghost producer works full-time yearly and adds in the cost of overhead, as well as having a small markup for studio time and other expenses, we can assume that our ghost producer earns a similar salary.
Factors that influence ghost producer salaries
There are a few factors that influence a ghost producer’s salary. The experience of the producer is one of them. As a ghost producer, your experience is the only thing that gets you paid. The more music you produce, the more you can charge. And the more experience you have, the more you can earn.
Location is another factor that can influence ghost producer salaries. The location of the project you’re working on also has an impact. It’s common for ghost producers to work on productions in other countries, especially given that most contracts are for short-term projects.
Finally, the type of music you produce will have some impact on your salary. Popular music, such as hip-hop, pop, and rock, will often be the highest-paying music genre. Producing low-brow content, such as pornography or viral videos, will have a much lower salary.
How much do professional music producers earn?
This is difficult to determine since ghost production is a very niche and creative industry. Its exact earnings are therefore not well documented. Producers, engineers, and mixers make the most money, with many earning well over $100,000 annually. Ghost production, on the other hand, is rarer and tends to pay less, with many earning less than the average salary of a music producer.
Ghost producers, on the other hand, tend to specialize in a specific music genre or content. This means they can sometimes specialize in niche genres, such as country or electronic music. This is an effective way to make a living, particularly if you have some experience in a specific genre.
Tips for landing paid work as a ghost producer
- Make yourself available – As a producer, it’s important to keep your availability open. It’s common for producers to work on multiple projects at once, so you don’t want anyone to think that you’re unavailable. You can let future clients know that your availability is open by keeping your online presence open, such as your social media accounts, your email address, and your website.
- Be creative – While it’s possible to produce similar music using the same formula, there’s no rulebook on how to produce a hit song. The only way to succeed is to be creative and find your unique way to produce music.
- Charge less – This is the most important tip you’ll ever hear when it comes to landing paid work as a ghost producer. If a client wants to hire you as a ghost producer, they’re going to want to pay you as little as possible.
- Be flexible – As a ghost producer, you’re often working on a very short-term basis. So it’s important to be flexible. If you’re working on a project in a city a long way from your home, you need to be as flexible as possible to make it work.
Ghost production is a rare profession, and the average salary of a ghost producer varies from year to year and from producer to producer. It’s often based on the experience of the producer and the content and location of the production.
With that in mind, the average salary of a ghost producer is likely to be quite low. If you want to make more money, you should consider becoming a full-time music producer. If, however, you want to make some money on the side while you pursue your passion, then ghost production might be for you.