by Alex Cosper (2/15/2014)
Recording engineers are not necessarily as high paid and people may expect. The average salary for this job in 2014, according to Payscale.com, is about $40,000. Salaries range from $20,000 to over $80,000, depending on the studio, experience and location. One reason why you might expect these jobs to pay more is that recording studios charge such high rates ranging from $40 to $200 per hour. Unless a recording engineer owns his or her studio, the pay could be like a regular job.
A recording engineer many times will also be the producer of a project. The main different between the engineer and the producer job is that an engineer is responsible for technical aspects of the recording process while a producer is responsible for the mixing and finished product. In the world of popular music recording engineers can make impressive salaries if they work for a high end studio in Los Angeles or one of the other big music cities.
One way to become a recording engineer is to learn on your own about recording by watching a lot of recording tutorials on YouTube. Once you have gained a general understanding of the recording process, volunteer your services as an intern at a recording studio so that you can learn even more with hands on experience. Another route to becoming a recording engineer is to enroll in a recording arts college. Some recording wchools are nationally accredited and offer college degrees. One way or another you will need to understand how recording equipment and software works, which requires an understanding of the scientific properties of sound and frequencies. Almost every concept related to recording can be learned online by watching YouTube videos.
The goal of a recording engineer who wants to earn a high salary should be to become a producer, which requires more artistic schools. While the engineer does not necessarily need to know much about how instruments are played, the producer needs to be the artist who understands both the science of soundwaves and the art of music production. Producers make much higher salaries because they can make or break the commercial nature of a recording. Great producers with successful track records tend to attract the attention of record labels who send artists their way.
One of the reasons producers make so much more money than engineers is that producers are usually given percentage points on royalties from album sales. These royalties are paid on top of upfront recording fees. A producer who has a strong reputation for producing successful music will usually command a high salary. The key to becoming connected to high paying jobs in the recording industry is to be surrounded by state of the art equipment and experienced knowledgeable producers.
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