The 6 Best Skills for Producers to Learn Outside of Music
Updated: Aug 30
Learning and mastering the craft of music production is incredibly important, but in 2021, the music alone is not enough. At Cosmic Academy, we work with our students very closely to help them develop all the “non-music” skills that are also necessary to succeed as an artist.
We know it can be a little frustrating that as artists we feel like we have to “do it all,” but on the other hand, the fact that growing a marketable brand involves so many other skills provides a massive opportunity to the producers out there who are willing to put in the work! We’ve collected below our list of some of the most useful skills that producers and artists can develop to help get further, faster (in no particular order):
1. Photo & Design (Help Your Marketing)
This one is big. Social media is largely based around visuals; posts with images and videos are promoted the most by the algorithms, and the visual experience that accompanies an artist’s music can completely change the connection that fans have with it.
Gaining some proficiency with photography (even smartphone photography!) and learning how to make your way around a basic photo editor can go a long way in your ability to create consistently engaging content, promote your tunes, and put your best foot forward instead of having to rely on label artwork or professional graphic designers!
2. Deals & Contracts (Signing records & gigs)
Whether we like it or not, every artist is going to encounter contracts. Whether it’s a record contract from a label or distributor, a management contract, dealing with booking agents or venues—this aspect of the business is unavoidable. And unfortunately, lawyers are expensive.
Now we’re not saying you need to head to law school and master the finer points of contract law, but learning enough to be able to understand the basics of what you’re signing will—at the very least—help you to know when a deal is complicated enough to get a lawyer involved, or when you can save yourself the money and feel comfortable signing a straightforward contract without shelling out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in legal fees. During our bootcamp, we work with our students to get them to a level where they can at least understand the fundamentals in the deals they’re likely to encounter.
3. Meditation (to clear your mind)
This one is often overlooked, but it’s incredibly important. The music business is stressful, and with all the distractions, notifications, emails, and messages all of us face day to day, one of the most important and rare skills we can develop is the ability to sit down and clear our minds.
For creatives like music producers, this is perhaps the most important single skill to work on. Without a clear, focused mind, writer’s block and a lack of inspiration is just around the corner—the best art comes from a clear head.
But it’s not just helpful for writing music—meditation can help us become more effective in every single aspect of our day-to-day lives, improve our sleep, assist our learning, and help us manage stress.
Some of our favorite apps to help learn how to meditate are Headspace, Simple Habit, and Calm. Check them out!
4. TikTok/Reels (Fastest growing platform and feature)
Like it or not, TikTok is here to stay. But again, it provides a massive opportunity to grow your audience! Think of it as another creative challenge. TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps in the App Store, and the demographics are right on point: 62% of TikTok users are under the age of 29. Even more surprising, the average TikTok user spends 52 minutes on the app every day.
Instagram’s “Reels” feature is also incredibly important. Some marketing researchers have found reels are generating more engagement than traditional instagram videos.
So what does all of this mean? Reels and TikTok are now a big part of a successful artist’s social media strategy. Study what works and start posting!
5. Streaming (Pitching playlists & channels)
The numbers are in, and it’s not even close: Spotify is the most important and relevant music streaming app today (it has the biggest share of the music streaming market at 32% market share, compared with Apple music in second place at 18%). Mastering the art of getting your music heard—especially on Spotify—is essential to success in today’s music landscape.
At Cosmic Academy, we teach our students the best methods for pitching their music for Spotify playlists, which is the biggest factor in how your songs will ultimately perform. Playlists drive traffic to your song, which then also makes the algorithm take notice as well and push your music to a bigger audience.
6. Social Media (For marketing & following)
This one may seem obvious, but using social media as a tool is a special skill that does take time to learn! It’s not enough to just to download the apps; you need to learn how to make the best use of them. What type of content performs best, which times to post, which apps are most effective, and how social media can be used to actually get people to connect with your brand on a deeper level. We work with our students very closely on this point in our bootcamp, and we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to master social media as a community-building tool in your arsenal!
We hope this post serves as a reminder for some of the skills you can learn more about and dig further into! Remember, the music is important, but it’s not the only thing we need to master in order to reach our goals as artists!