What does “professional” mean in the music biz?

All stakeholders often use a bunch of buzzwords in the music biz for marketing purposes and the main reason is self-explanatory—money. Still, the one I am going to talk about today is “professional”. I will discuss other terms later on in the near future when I feel like it.

In general, people mainly use the term “professional” to describe the quality of a sound recording as having a good aesthetic value. But the final product in music production can be highly subjective. One’s sonic interpretation of beauty is a sonic monstrosity devoid of any sanity to another person. Moreover, this begs the question: should music always be categorized using words such as good (best) or bad (worst)?

In some cases, using the term “pro” to describe a record single‘s overall tonal balance may be justified for competitive purposes. For example, if a tune has undergone sound engineering by a reputable audio engineer. It is likely to have a reasonable chance of commercial appeal than one that has not.

Can you fake it until you start producing like a pro?

There are areas of music where money answers everything e.g., production and songwriting. Technical areas such as tracking (live instrument recording), mixing, and mastering aren’t quite suitable for that. They require you to actually do the work. Yes, you can outsource but you are better off doing it yourself for fast turnaround times.

For example, there is no way a busy record producer is going to be getting several music placements in a considerably short period of time. This is one huge red flag that someone has a sweatshop cooking up the same formula.

I personally don’t think it’s bad to have ghost producers. As long as you take care of the family. You break them off with a little something. A little compensation i.e., a small percentage of publishing royalties for their work.

And so it is, that in the cutthroat world of music, where one’s very name becomes a brand to be sold and peddled, only then can one truly consider themselves a professional. You hear that. You don’t have to do much if you constantly get your paperwork right. Almost anyone can be a pro of some sort.