If you’re interested in the world of making music, you may have heard the terms “music production” and “audio production” used interchangeably.
So… what’s the difference?
Music production is the process of creating music from start to finish, which involves composing, arranging, recording, editing, mixing, and mastering.
Audio production involves only the recording, editing, mixing, and mastering of sound but for a wider range of applications such as music, film, video games, and more.
I personally enjoy the process of music production more than audio production, but I’ve also found that having some experience in audio production (mainly recording bands back in the day) has been super helpful in being a better music producer.
Regardless of which you feel like you prefer more, learning a bit about each will definitely help improve your abilities with your preferred form of production. 🙂
In this post, we’ll define both music production and audio production, explain how they differ, and discuss some of the unique challenges and considerations involved in each field.
4 Main Differences Between Music & Audio Production
It’s common for a music producer to have some audio production skills as well as for an audio producer to have some music production skills.
However, the 4 main differences between music and audio production come in the form of the end goal, how each producer works, the technical expertise, and unique challenges.
Let’s take a look at the 4 differences in closer detail, my friend. 🙂
The End Goal
One of the biggest differences between music production and audio production is the end goal:
In music production, the goal is to create a finished song or album that is meant to be enjoyed as a standalone piece of art.
Whereas audio production is often meant to support some other type of media, such as a film, TV show, or podcast.
If you feel like you’re more into making music for music’s sake (like me!) then music production is likely for you, while if you like to help capture and create audio to be used for any medium then audio production is likely for you. 🙂
How Each Producer Works
Another key difference between music and audio production comes in the shape of how each type of producer works and who they are likely to work with.
Music producers work with musicians, songwriters, and other creative professionals to create a finished piece of music just for music’s sake.
This type of producer is often working with a band or solo artist to bring their artistic vision to life but can also be self-producing their own music (like I tend to do with my own music).
Audio producers work with a variety of sound sources, including music, dialogue, sound effects, and ambient noise, to develop audio files to be used in other mediums.
While both music production and audio production require a certain level of technical skill, music production tends to focus more on musicality and creative expression.
In contrast, audio production requires a broader range of technical skills, such as sound design, mixing for different types of media, and understanding how sound interacts with other elements of a project.
With that said, I’ve found there are plenty of opportunities in audio production to get creative (particularly when it comes to sound design) and there are plenty of opportunities for music producers to get technical (particularly hands-on producers or ones that wear many hats).
Lastly, there are some unique challenges for each type of production, particularly when it comes to how each producer needs to work with others.
In music production, the producer may need to navigate creative differences between band members or ensure that a solo artist’s vision is fully realized.
In audio production, the producer may need to work with tight deadlines, budget constraints, and other logistical considerations.