When should you get a producer credit?
Look inside the booklet of your favorite CD. At the back will be a list of credits. Somewhere, unobtrusive but easy to find if you're looking, will be the credit 'produced by...'
This is the gold dust of the recording industry. Once you have a few credits like this on chart CDs, then your career can really start to take off and fly. But how do you get this credit in the first place? That's the tricky part.
One tried and tested way is to work in a studio. When you have reached the status that bands and artists will ask your opinion, then you are effectively handling a part of the production process. It's a big step to say that you have actually partly produced a record, but that could come. And a band or artist might give you a co-production credit on a track out of gratitude. Work your way up from there.
However, if you don't work in a studio, then things are going to be a little more tricky.
Another way you can get a production credit is to finance a CD yourself. If you're paying, then you get to decide who gets the credits. And if you want to call yourself the producer then no-one's going to stop you.
However, there are limitations in this. If you are the artist, then giving yourself a production credit is simply crass. If there is no producer other than yourself, then there is no producer.
There is another sense of the word 'producer' however, and that is in the sense of 'film producer'. A film producer's role is to set up the finance for a movie, make sure that the budget is under control, and keep a watchful eye open to make sure all is going well. And of course approve the finished product. There is nothing creative about this, in the generally accepted sense, yet the guy is still called a producer.
So you could finance a project for an artist or band. Let them supervise the musical aspects of the recording themselves so there is no producer. Then, since you produced the CD in the sense of finance, supervision and approval, you are indeed the producer.
So, that coveted 'produced by...' credit could finally be yours.