Making Money From Music

Can Music Producers Become Millionaires?

Dr Dre is one of the world’s richest music producers. Credit – NME

Music producers are a bit like songwriters in the music industry – absolutely essential, often under-rated, and often underpaid. So this begs the question, can music producers become millionaires? If you’re in a hurry, the answer is yes, by the way. Not only that, but there are even a couple of billionaire music producers too.

Yes – Music Producers Can Become Millionaires.

Despite the current wave of negative media highlighting how a large number of music producers have caught the rough end of the deal in the music industry, there are hundreds, if not thousands of multi-millionaire music producers. And I’m not talking about just a net worth upwards of 1 million, I mean so much money that they could barely work out how much they actually have.

A few notable music producers immediately come to mind when I think of millionaire producers. You’ve got Timbaland, who made hit after hit in the early two thousands, Metro Boomin, who recently sold part of his catalogue for a whopping 70 million dollars. There are a load of slightly less well known multi-millionaire producers too, including many of the members of Internet Money, a producer collective. You’ve also got Kenny Beats, who makes an insane amount from not only music royalties but also his hugely successful video series. The list goes on, and there are genuinely far too many examples to have a list. But one producer sticks out above them all, as arguably one of the richest artists alive, let alone music producers…

Can Music Producers Become Billionaires?

Although I’m sure you might not be too surprised to learn it’s very common for successful producers to become millionaires, if I told you it’s possible to even become a billionaire, you might not believe me. I have two words for you:

Dr. Dre.

Yes, okay, not all of his net worth has come solely from music production, although this career alone made him more than enough to retire years ago. For those of you who aren’t aware, Dr. Dre was part of NWA, a hugely successful pioneering rap group, and worked alongside rap royalty including Snoop Dogg and Eminem. He’s also a very good rapper too, by the way.

Following on from his immense success in music, he moved onto a fairly related business, which would turn out to become his most profitable venture yet – audio equipment. After founding Beats by Dre in 2006, he continued developing some of the most popular headphones and speakers on the market, before selling the company to Apple, in a deal worth around 3 billion dollars.

Yes, there is a billionaire music producer alive on this planet as we speak, and he should spark inspiration in all of us.

Sadly, along the way he had to deal with a heartbreaking incident no one would wish on their worst enemy, but he stayed strong and persevered.

How Do Music Producers Make Millions?

The music industry is a complicated beast, and becoming a millionaire from being a music producer can come from a variety of different sources.

Firstly, there is beat selling. Some top-end producers charge mid-5 figures or more for a single bespoke beat, a price which rappers at the top of their game are more than willing to pay. There are two sides to selling beats in 2023, and selling hugely expensive exclusive beats is becoming a bit less popular, thanks to YouTube. Many producers sell their beats as leases for a much smaller amount, often around the $30 to $50 range, and then sell exclusives for anywhere from $250 to $1000, depending on their demand.

The strategy many modern music producers opt for is to sell a lot of beats to smaller artists as opposed to a select handful of exclusive industry placements. Both can be lucrative, but it seems that many producers these days make a good living solely from selling a large number of cheap beats.

On top of selling beats, there are also royalties in many cases. Producers can negotiate a certain percentage of the song’s royalties depending on their level of success, and for some, this income stream alone brings in millions per year.

Additionally, some producers also perform as DJs and earn money from touring. This is less common outside of dance music circles, where almost all DJs are actually music producers. There are a few exceptions to this, including Kenny Beats, who has done a Boiler Room set, and Metro Boomin, who has pulled of some spectacular live performances recently.

Right, so that’s songs and performances mostly covered.

How Do Music Producers Make Money?

There are also a few other ways music producers earn good money. These income streams are numerous and diverse, so here’s a list:

  • Radio Shows
  • Advertising / TV placements
  • Video Game soundtracks
  • Merch sales
  • Music production courses
  • Custom software
  • Sample packs
  • Memberships + subs from streaming
  • Collaborations with other producers
  • Investing
  • YouTube ad revenue
  • Social media sponsorships
  • Music Royalties
  • Beat Sales

As you can see from the list above, there are tons of ways music producers earn additional income on top of just their songs, which in 2023 makes becoming a millionaire from making music a lot more accessible to smaller, less industry-level producers.

It’s hard work, and will take potentially countless hours per week of hard graft, but the dream of making it as a producer and retiring young is still very much alive and well.

What Percentage Do Music Producers Get of a Song?

The percentage split of a song’s royalties which go to the song’s producer vary hugely. We’ve seen 1% splits given to unknown producers working with big artists, all the way up to an equal 50/50 split for producers who have build a solid brand and loyal following around their music. This figure varies massively, and the main factor is existing success as well as who the producer is working with.

Conclusion – There are Countless Millionaire Music Producers

Hopefully this article has acted as a source of inspiration if you dream of turning your passion for making great music into a full time career. It’s definitely possible to become a millionaire music producer, and there are too many examples of people who ate living this dream to even count.

Music is a multi billion dollar industry which generates unfathomable amounts of money, and although it’s possible to get the rough end of a deal, it’s also possible to get paid extremely well with great music and business accumen.