• Kasper Topp

The Seven Stages of Music Production

Music production can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Before you hit the studio to record, here are the 7 main stages of music production and what you need to know:

1) Preproduction: pre-writing and arranging songs before recording

2) Recording: capturing audio tracks for all instruments and vocals

3) Mixing: adding effects, equalizing, and balancing the song

4) Mastering: preparing your final mix for distribution such as vinyl or digital distribution

5) Distribution: getting your music out there!

6) Promotions: marketing your song to increase exposure

7) Publishing: registering your song with major performing rights organizations for royalties.


Preproduction is the process of figuring out how a song should sound before recording takes place. This includes pre-writing and arranging songs, coming up with an appropriate plan for the song, and rehearsing the music with your band.

It's important to think about this stage of production because it can make a huge difference in a song's final sound. For example, if you're playing a slow ballad with an acoustic guitar, you want to make sure that there's enough space between the notes for the lead instrument to fit in and be heard. An overly busy mix with lots of instruments going at once might not be as effective as a simple mix with just one or two main instruments. Keep in mind that some producers will charge more for this service since it requires a lot more work on their part.


Luckily, the recording process doesn't have to be complicated. In most cases, a single microphone plugged into a small audio interface and a computer will suffice. Recording with a full band will require more gear and coordination, but it is possible.

The most common recording setup is just a microphone, audio interface, good speakers or headphones and a computer with some music software. That's exactly what it took for Billie Eilish and Finneas to get their Grammys. That, and a whole lot of skill and creativity!


A great mix makes a song come into its own, connect with the listener and convey the message and feeling as accurately as possible. A great mix is also one that is as exciting and compelling to listen to, technically, as the song itself, and to achieve that it is extremely important to have proper source tracks to work with in the mixing stage. You can only polish so much - so don’t skip ahead! The mixing process itself can be divided into three basic steps: Preparation, balancing and polishing. Preparation involves setting levels, panning tracks, maybe adding effects and other tasks that need to be done before actually mixing the song itself. Balancing involves getting the levels of the different tracks to sound good together. This is when you will make decisions about how loud each instrument should be, and which instruments will be panned where. Polishing is the final step in the mixing process and involves adjusting and automating effect sends, levels.


Mastering is the final step in the music production process. Typically done by ensuring a healthy frequency balance and a controlled dynamic flow through a song - from section to section - and, also as an entire album, from one song to another. Then there’s the technical: Mastering is also about embedding metadata, such as ISRC codes when creating a DDP master for CD production.

DDP stands for Disc Description Protocol. It’s a format for describing a CD-ROM master, so that it can be replicated exactly. This is a format used by professional CD manufacturers. The goal of mastering is to prepare your final mix for distribution, such as vinyl, CD or digital distribution.


There are many different ways to distribute your music.

You can put your song on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Apple Music or any number of other platforms for people to listen to. The downside is that you usually don't get paid that much on most of these platforms. To make up for this in income, you may want to sell your music outright on iTunes or have people pay on Bandcamp.

If you're looking for more exposure without having to worry about money so much, social media sites like Facebook are helpful because they allow users to access their videos through Messenger or Instagram Stories. You can also promote your music through email newsletters or any other way you see fit!


When it comes to promotion, there are two ways to go:

- Paid Promotions: such as buying an ad on Facebook, Google, Spotify, or paying for airtime.

- Earned Promotions: such as press coverage, using social media and online platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud organically.

Earned promotions allow you to build up a following and grow organically without the expense of paid promotions. Paid promotions can give your song a big boost when you need it most—such as when launching a new album or single.


Publishing is one of the most important aspects of the music production process. Why? Publishing ensures that you are eligible for royalties, which can lead to a profitable career as a musician.

Publishing your song with a major performing rights organization such as KODA, BMI or ASCAP will register your work and place it in their repertoire, meaning they will collect royalties on your behalf. This allows you to continue to receive payment for your music based on airplay, streaming, and other large-scale performances.

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