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Ask Charlie - Starting A Production Company

  • 2000 16 Jun
Ask Charlie - Starting A Production Company

Charlie Peacock IS HERE with YOU in Musician Resources on the Music Channel at to answer YOUR questions. Think of it as your chance to have Charlie as your mentor - your virtual mentor here on

Charlie won't be able to answer every question, but he'll pick one or more to address as part of his regular column, ASK CHARLIE here in Musician Resources. To send a question for consideration, just email us at


Having been in bands for the lasts ten years, as well as publish a magazine and have just started a coffeehouse, I'm looking to start a production company. My goals are to manage, consult, and promote bands / artists, as well be a full production company with studio included. What do suggest that I do or where do I begin to research for these answers? Do you suggest a mentor, and if so where would I find one?

Thanks for your time, take care, and God bless.

James H.


I'll start with a brief description of a production company and its function in the music business. A production company takes on two separate roles and tries to successfully combine them into one: the role of finding and developing musical talent (the A&R role at a record company) and the role of producing the artist's demos and masters. Production companies often add a third role to these by operating their own recording studios.

Most production companies are driven by the reputation and skill of a single producer. Still, there are production companies that are run by talented entrepreneurs or talent-finders who sub-contract with equally talented producers and engineers to do the actual music and recording work.

While many production companies enter into production agreements with record labels and often receive funding from a label to develop artists for them, some production companies remain autonomous and free of contractual obligations. Instead of using the record company's money, this type of company is capitalized via personal wealth, banking, or private funding of some variety. By not using the record company as a source of capital, the production company is usually able to negotiate a higher royalty rate once an artist is placed with the label.

Production companies provide an important service to the music business by acting as A&R satellites for the record labels, often catching talent the labels miss. Profitable interaction with a label and distribution system is of course dependent on the production company delivering what a label believes to be competitive and viable music.

This is of course a simple introduction to the nature and work of a music production company. The book, "This Business of Music" (available at should provide some additional information on the way production contracts are framed. It is easily obtained and revised often. I recommend you purchase a copy for your desk.

Finding someone to mentor you through this process would be excellent, though I imagine somewhat difficult. Truthfully, a good entertainment attorney and the information out there on the bookshelves of a Tower Books or Virgin MegaStore can equip you with the basics. What you really need to concentrate on to be a valid production company is the making of music and your development as a person living in community with others. Be a person of good character and musical excellence. Be wise in the ways of the studio and cultivate the ability to discern lasting talent. These are the truest of starting places.

{{Charlie Peacock}}

For more Ask Charlie features, view the Musician Resources Interviews archive at

Charlie Peacock, seminary student and author of "At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look At the Past, Present, and Future of CCM" is currently working on a new CD of piano improvisations. The {{Roaring Lambs}} project features a song with Charlie accompanied by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

To send Charlie a question for consideration, just email us at