Now that we’re in 2023, it’s never been truer to say that music production tools have become increasingly affordable and user-friendly making the idea of producing music more accessible today than ever before.
…but does this mean that music production is easy?
It’s very easy to get started with music production and start producing great tracks, thanks to modern software and technology. However, truly mastering music production will take years of hard work as you build up your songwriting, mixing, mastering, and music business skills.
In this guide, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the ease or difficulty of music production and weigh the arguments for and against the idea that music production is easy based on research & my personal experiences in music production over the last 10+ years.
5 Factors That Can Make Music Production Difficult (or Easy)
Music production involves the creation, recording, mixing, and mastering of music, which can be a complex process that requires technical skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of music theory.
Music production can be done in a home studio with just a computer or a professional recording studio with all the bells and whistles. It can involve a single musician (like how I do it) or it can involve an entire team of producers and engineers.
There are several factors that contribute to the ease or difficulty of music production, so let’s look at the top 5 things that influence how easy or difficult getting into music production can be.
1. Technical skills required
Music production involves using digital audio workstations (DAWs), software synthesizers, and other production tools which will take some level of technical expertise to use and master.
Also – understanding the basics of music theory and audio engineering can be a great asset for producing high-quality music.
With that said, I’ve found that new producers can really shortcut a lot of this by training their ears instead of learning music theory, using free YouTube tutorials to quickly learn technical skills, and using simple & free software on their laptop, tablet or smartphone to get started.
To learn more about this, check out my other guide where I answer the question: Can Anyone Make or Produce Music?
2. Access to equipment and software
While there are many affordable and even free options available, high-quality music equipment and software can be very expensive.
This can be a barrier to entry for many aspiring producers, and it can make music production more difficult.
But as I mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to start with free or affordable options and then upgrade later. There are often even free trials available so you can test out options before committing with cold-hard cash.
3. Creative abilities
While technical skills can help make music production easy and polish off the final product, creativity is what sets great producers apart more than anything else.
It is not enough to simply understand the tools and techniques of music production; you need to be able to use those technical skills and the tools available to you to create something unique and original.
This is exactly why I rely on different templates and even pre-made loops in my own personal music production process:
It allows me to have a starting off point quickly so that I can focus on the creative aspects of the song instead of wasting time looking for kick drum sounds or bass sounds before even starting.
I’ve also found that instead of waiting for inspiration to strike to be creative, you can treat your creativity like a muscle by practicing often and committing to frequently creating (and even releasing) new pieces of music.
4. Time commitment
For better or for worse, music production can be a time-consuming process that requires a significant investment of time and energy.
This can make it difficult for producers who have other commitments, such as work or school, to pursue music production as a hobby or career.
I’ve found it best to “time block” or schedule time in your day for music production throughout the week. Even dedicating 30 mins to 1 hour per day can go a long way in making sure you are progressing towards your goals.
5. Costs and expenses
Finally, costs can be a significant barrier to entry for aspiring producers, making music production difficult to get into.
With that said, I’ve found it best to avoid “shiny object syndrome” and always start by making the best use of and mastering the tools that you already have at your disposal.
It can be tempting to think that buying that new plugin or hardware device is what you need to get to the next level, but in my personal experience, I’ve found that never, ever to be the case.
3 Top Reasons Music Production Can Be Easy
Let’s look at the top 3 reasons most people say that music production can be easy to learn in 2023:
1. Lots of tutorials & resources
There are many online tutorials and resources available that can help aspiring producers learn the technical skills they need to produce high-quality music.
These resources can include video tutorials, online courses, and forums where producers can ask questions and receive feedback.
2. User-friendly software & presets
Modern production tools are more user-friendly than ever before. Many DAWs, for example, have intuitive interfaces that make it easy for producers to record, mix, and master their music.
Additionally, many software synthesizers and plugins come with presets that can help producers create sounds quickly and easily.
3. The basics can be so easy
Finally, while mastering the technical and creative aspects of music production can take years, it is possible to learn the basics in just a few weeks or months.
This means that aspiring producers can start producing music relatively quickly, even if they do not have a background in music or audio engineering.
3 Top Reasons Music Production Can Be Hard
Next, let’s look at the top 3 reasons that getting into music production can be hard:
1. Steep learning curve
While many resources are available to learn the necessary technical skills, it can still take a significant amount of time and effort to master them.
This can be frustrating for producers who want to create high-quality music but are struggling to learn the necessary skills.
To avoid this: start slow by following video tutorials that cover the basics.
2. Time commitment
Producing high-quality music takes time, and many producers struggle to find enough time to dedicate to their craft.
This can be especially difficult for producers who have other commitments, such as work or school.
To avoid this: use “time blocking” to schedule time in your calendar for music production.
While technical skills are important, it is the ability to create something unique and original that sets great producers apart.
This can be a difficult skill to develop, and many producers struggle to find their own unique voice.
To avoid this: be patient with yourself and instead focus on practicing and enjoying the process instead of fixating on the end result.
I wrote and release 1 song per week (aka 52 songs in 1 year) as Best Friends Club before I really started to find my voice as an artist.