When I started making music, the biggest challenge was finding good resources to improve my craft.
I was subscribed to a few YouTube channels and had found a couple blogs. But there was a lot missing, and I didn’t know where to find it.
You know what I wish I had back then? A single page that I could bookmark on my computer and return to whenever I needed a new resource. A definitive resource of… well… resources.
And that’s what this is. It’s the ultimate list of music production resources.
Here’s what’s inside:
- The best YouTube channels for learning music production
- The best music production blogs
- Books that every producer should read
- Production courses that are worth the money
- Events and conferences for music producers
Note: you will not find software recommendations in here. We’ve already covered that extensively in our Definitive Guide to Music Production Software.
The best YouTube channels for music production
Ask any producer how they learned music production and the likely answer will be “YouTube.”
Yes, there are drawbacks to just learning from YouTube (quality control being one of them—not every tutorial is made the same), but it’s undeniably one of the best platforms for learning electronic music production…
…as long as you watch the right channels. Otherwise you’re at risk of getting fed misinformation and/or picking up bad habits from amateur producers. So, which channels should you check out?
EDMProd – What, you expected us not to promote our own channel? Nah. We’ve got some good stuff on there. You’ll find a bunch of technical tutorials along with more creative/mindset based advice. We try and cover all aspects of production.
Andrew Huang – Being the most popular “music production” channel on YouTube, Huang is more of an influencer than technical educator. That doesn’t mean his videos aren’t helpful.
Sonic Academy – Been around for years, and for good reason—they put out great content. If you can’t afford a monthly subscription on their site, you’ll enjoy the free videos on YouTube. You’ll find in-depth tutorials, interviews, and more.
Cymatics – Advice on how to succeed on the business side of things (marketing and promotion), as well as in-depth courses and topic-specific tutorials. Spend some time on this one.
Pensado’s Place – If you want to get better at mixing, mastering, and recording—Pensado’s Place is the place to be. It’s not directed at electronic music producers (most of the audience is pro audio), but the insights you’ll gain from this channel will not be found elsewhere. If you’re an intermediate producer, this is a great channel to follow.
Other recommended channels
The best music production blogs
While not as popular or widely used as YouTube, music production blogs are still a great way to learn new techniques and hone your skills. Besides, some producers prefer learning by reading an article, as opposed to slogging their way through a long video tutorial (-> me!)
So, besides this blog that you’re reading (we have over 150 articles on music production), here are our recommendations…
ELPHNT – Try find a more aesthetic production blog on the internet. Go on. Yeah, you can’t. But Elphnt is not just a pretty face. This website contains a bunch of helpful video tutorials and articles, often with helpful animations added.
Hyperbits – Serik AKA Hyperbits is a close friend of mine, and he’s jumped on the EDM Prodcast three times (more often than any other guest). He’s been crushing it with his blog. You’ll find all kinds of advice here.
The Pro Audio Files – While not directed at electronic music producers, The Pro Audio Files contains hundreds of articles aimed at helping people produce and mix better music. I’ve even written a guest post for them on how to deal with creative block.
LANDR – Landr is an automatic mastering service. The software takes your song and masters it using complex algorithms (look, I don’t know how it works—this stuff is way above my pay grade). I do like their blog though, and you probably will too.
Ableton – Most company-written blogs are not worth following, usually because they hire some hip millennial who thinks they know how to write, and what you get is “5 tips on how to do X”—except the tips aren’t even helpful. Ableton’s blog is not this. The content is inspiring, fun, and informative.
Other recommended blogs
Recommended: 10 Must-Have iOS Synth Apps for Music Production
Books every producer should read
It’s commonly said that producers don’t read books.
Well, that’s fine. But if you’re one of these producers, you’re missing out. Books are helpful, they can change your life, and they can also change the way you approach creativity and music production.
Here are my top 5 must-read books for producers, followed by extras.
Deep Work by Cal Newport – Most producers work in a constant state of distraction. They can’t focus. They’re doing shallow work. The result? Well, there’s no results. Because you need Deep Work to really get them. 10/10 book. Read it.
Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool – Worried that you’re not talented enough? Forget it. Talent isn’t a real thing, and Ericsson explains why (from a scientific perspective) in this book. He also teaches you how to do deliberate practice (which, if applied properly, will put you ahead of 95% of other producers in the game).
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – Ever have those days where you sit down to make music and you just don’t feel it? There’s a resistance? Pressfield knows exactly how you feel, and he wrote this book to help you overcome it.
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon – You can read this book in an hour. It’s fun, insightful, inspiring and motivating. Don’t be put off by the title.
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior – This is the only technical production book that makes it into my top 5, and for good reason: it’s a killer book. If I hadn’t read this early on as a producer, I’d be lightyears behind. It’s one of the best books on mixing. Period.
Now, on to more recommendations, split by category:
Books on creativity and mindset for producers
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
- The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner
- The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
- The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker
- Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
- Work Clean by Dan Charnas
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- Do The Work by Steven Pressfield
- Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
- The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
- Smartcuts by Shane Snow
- Mastery by Robert Greene
- The Daily Adventures of Mixerman by Mixerman
- Zen and the Art of Mixing by Mixerman
- Musician’s Survival Guide to a Killer Record by Mixerman
Books on music production
- The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing Songs That Sell
- Making Music by Dennis DeSantis
- The History of Music Production by Richard James Burgess
- The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski
- Zen and the Art of Mixing by Mixerman
- Mastering Audio by Bob Katz
- Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt
- Harmony for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt
- Dance Music Manual by Rick Snoman
- Rick Rubin in the Studio by Jake Brown
- The Ableton Workflow Bible
- The Producer’s Guide to Workflow & Creativity
Books on business and marketing for producers
- Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
- Give and Take by Adam Grant
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin
- The New Rockstar Philosophy by Matt Voyno and Roshan Hoover
Production courses that are actually worth the money
One of the most common questions I get is, “Why would I purchase a course when I can just learn from YouTube for free?”
My answer: some courses can be well worth the money for three reasons:
- You’re more inclined to actually work through the material because you’ve paid for it (you don’t want to waste your money)
- They generally offer a more structured approach to learning
- If other producers have got results from them, they’re probably better quality than most YouTube tutorials
The issue with YouTube is quality control, but that’s not limited to YouTube, there are a lot of crap music production courses out there. I’m going to share 3 that I think are worth checking out (I’ve listed more in the PDF version, which you can download by clicking here).
EDM Foundations – This is one of the most popular courses on the web for new producers, and for good reason: it’s project-based and action-oriented, so you’re not going to sit around watching a bunch of boring theory videos—you’re actually going to follow along and do the work. Over 1700 producers have taken this course, and many have had great results.
Songwriting for Producers – Learning music theory is one part of the equation, but how do you apply that knowledge to write and produce a memorable song? How do you craft a catchy melody, or make an engaging arrangement? This comprehensive course will give you all you need. Beware though—it is very comprehensive.
The Hyperbits Masterclass – If you have the money for this—go for it. Hyperbits has had only one refund since launching this masterclass years ago. This isn’t just a course, it’s a program, and it’s highly reputable. The only downside is the cost, but if you can manage that, do it.
Events and conferences for music producers
Oh, you’re an extrovert, and a producer?
Strange. But maybe you’ll enjoy going to some events and conferences. Here are 5 of the most popular.
Amsterdam Dance Event – This is the mecca of all music industry conferences. Everyone goes to this. If you don’t feel FOMO yet, you should. I went a few years ago and loved it. Just make sure you set up meetings with people in advance.
Winter Music Conference – Probably the second most popular event. Less bicycles compared to Amsterdam, if that helps.
Electronic Music Conference – In the Southern Hemisphere and don’t want to travel too far? Or maybe you just enjoy listening to Australians. Whatever the case, this is a well-known conference, and worth visiting.
International Music Summit – Hosted in Ibiza. Enough said? In all seriousness, this is the place to be if you’re involved (or want to be involved) in the business side of electronic music.
SXSW – Not really an electronic music conference, but that’s definitely part of it. Worth checking out.