The Difference Between A Music Producer & A Beat Maker

The Difference Between A Music Producer & A Beat Maker

This comparison is an absolute cause for debate. It's a very interesting animal to dissect, so let's get right to it.
To me, a "beat maker" is someone who creates "beats". Nowadays, it's usually done on some type of computer. A beat machine (like an MPC or sampling keyboard) is the same thing. They are just pieces of hardware with their own internal CPU systems. So for the sake of argument, let's just say that 99% of modern music is done on a system that contains an internal CPU (yes, the Game Of Thrones intro theme song was entirely done on a computer. Crazy, huh?)
So what exactly does it mean to "make beats"? Believe it or not, most non-music-making people still don't quite understand what it is, which is totally ok. Here's a brief explanation of what "making beats" means: Think of it like a "one man band". The "beat maker" is literally composing a full piece of music. They are "playing" the drums (or "programming"), keyboards, instruments, various sounds, percussion, you name it. Sometimes, they take other pieces of music that already exist and "manipulate" them into brand new beats (in other words, "sampling"). All of this is done on a computer (most of the time, with just a keyboard hooked up to it).
Making beats is awesome. It's a skill. It's addicting. There's so many ways to express yourself. So many palettes, colors, sounds to choose from. It's like being a modern day classical composer, minus the paper, sheet music and feather tipped ink pen. It's 2016. We use computers. And software programs. Lot's of them. Almost too many to choose from. It's a skill that requires creativity AND technical know-how.
Ok. Cool.
So, what is a "music producer" then?
Well, in my opinion, a "music producer" is someone who produces music (surprise!). The definition of "produce" is to "make or manufacture from components or raw materials". In this case, our components are music chords, drums, instrument riffs and anything we can manipulate to produce "sound", which ultimately we like to call a "song", or "music".
So the argument becomes "Well, if I make beats, aren't I 'producing music'? And doesn't that qualify me to be considered a 'music producer'?". 
In 2016, the answer is yes.
Why is the answer yes? Because music is different now. The music consuming public loves anything that's good. A lot of good music nowadays doesn't necessarily have to contain vocals. There are pieces of music out there that were created with a laptop and headphones by people who are simply "making beats". It's 2016. Sh!t is different now.
I think the true argument here is the argument of "What else can you do beyond just making a beat?". Can you write lyrics? Can you compose vocal melodies? Can you play any instruments? Can you manifest song concepts and give purpose to a song? Do you have the skills to commit to the totality of creating a full song, with other people involved (vocalists, musicians, other composers, etc). Are you a leader? Do you know how to inspire other creatives while collaborating?
All of these questions have to do with one thing, and one thing only. The production of a song. Taking raw material and producing an audible collection of sound that provides satisfaction to the human being listening to it, usually lasting a few minutes, with hopes that they will love it, play it over and over, become inspired by it and hopefully remember that very moment in their life when they first heard it.
That's all this stuff really is at the end of the day.
Making beats is awesome. Producing music is awesome. It's all labels that either offend you, or stroke your ego. Having the skill set to do more or less is entirely up to you. Your process of how you "produce music" is also entirely up to you. Who gives a sh!t anyway. 
You produce stuff. From scratch. For the world to consume. That idea alone is pretty damn cool if you ask me.

35 comments

  • Flo

    Thanks for the explanation— still a bit confusing. I sort of have come to the conclusion that a beat maker is an updated version of a song/music writer only using modern techniques of computer manipulation and assistance. Is that way off?

  • Emmanuel Fulton

    Scott Storch is both a Songwriter and a Record Producer and here’s what he had to say as he doesn’t just make beats. Hes credited as both Writer and Producer when you look at his production credits.

    “In terms of working with the artist or vocalist, you know its important to come back and stay through with that, if you’re going to call yourself a producer on a track. You know, you don’t want to be just a track maker. To be a Producer, you wanna follow through and you know, push the artist and get the best record possible because its only going to help you. A Real Producer sees the whole thing through and has input through the whole vision of the record, from you know, what the melody is going to be on top, you know you, at least collaborate with some body on that, have an input on that, you know, sit there behind the board, trying to get a good vocals out of somebody, you know, or at least monitor the situations.- Scott Storch”

    Source: [New Interview With Scott Storch 2015 Beat Camp]

  • eman08

    Beat Makers are basically the same thing as Songwriters and Composers while Record Producers are the directors that oversee the whole thing from start to finish esp when working with the artist directly in the studio like the Quincy Jones. I do both roles myself as both a Songwriter and a Producer. Most Hip Hop Producers started out as Beat Makers before taking over the acting role as Record Producers, hint which is the reason why they are even called "Producer’s in the first place because they are both real Producers and Composers wearing two different hats. Beat Makers are typically credited as Writer, Composer, Instrumentation, or Drum Programming in production credits while Producers are simply credit as Producer for their role as directing and overseeing. That’s why Scott Storch, Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, Tricky Stewart, Timbaland, Bryan-Michael Cox, Rodney Jerkins or J.R Rotem are credited twice in production credits as both Writer and Producer for wearing two different hats as they don’t just only make beats. That’s where the confusion for most young people when all they see is video’s of Scott Storch or Pharrell Williams making beats and automatically assume that’s what Producers do when in reality that the composers job. Making beats doesn’t make you a Producer. When Pharrell Williams is not making beats, hes in the studio wearing the Producers hat that sits behind the mixing board directing and working with the artist such as Justin Timberlake. They are Songwriter/Producers. Beat Makers get all the same Songwriting/Publishing Mechanical and Performance royalties as their lyrical songwriter counterparts. Record Producers get what is called “Producer Point”s or simply Producer royalties paid out by the record label which usually is a 3% cut of record sales. Pharrell Williams is entitled for both Songwriting and Producer royalties.
    PRODUCER=DIRECTOR
    SONGWRITER/COMPOSER=BEAT MAKER

    Scott Storch gave his input as well. Heres what he had to say.

  • Ade sure

    I am up coming producer

  • Lonnie Creacy

    Will you mentor me?(lawndog_production_enterprise) is my ig. I would be so grateful if you took a look at some of my music and told me what you think

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