When it comes to becoming a professional beat maker, people tend to get confused. Some think you need to have a natural talent, others that a sizeable amount of money has to be spent and finally there are those who believe that it is as difficult and time consuming as it gets.
That last part may not be entirely wrong, but things are not always as simple as they may sound. Here is my beginners guide on how to become a Beatmaker. Let us take a look.
How to become a professional beat maker
There is no perfect or ideal way to start making your own beats. You just know it. You may have listened to the Mobb Deep “The Infamous” album and you are fascinated by that aggressive dark sound or you are a DJ Premier or J Dilla fan and want to sound like them.
Each one of us has his own influences from a huge variety of top class Beatmaker out there. Again, there is no right or wrong. Every influence is there to help a new Beatmaker be born. Do not miss the chance to focus on what other people do right or wrong in order to achieve better results yourself.
Gear – What to buy as a beginner
One of the first things that you need to consider about is your gear. What you need to buy to start making your own beats.
You have seen all those Youtube videos with famous producers making beats in studios that are worth a fortune with the most expensive equipment that cost thousands of dollars, and you think that it what you have to do. You have to buy all these stuff. Wrong, think again.
From personal experience, I am more than certain when I say that you don’t need any of these expensive equipment to make a nice beat. All you need to start is a descent personal computer or a laptop (of course a sampler of our choice like an Akai MPC or the NI Maschine is also an outstanding solution if you are into hardware), an affordable sound card (I would say around $150-$200), a set of monitors (around $300-$400) and any of the DAW of your choice. That’s all. You can start making your beats and you can upgrade your equipment over time.
Trust your ears
There is no thing such as good music or bad music (well ok, sometimes there is). What sounds perfect to you doesn’t necessarily sound perfect to others and maybe lots of them).
You need to trust your ears and believe in your sound. There is no equipment that can make you a good beatmaker if you are not really a good beatmaker. All you need is to listen carefully to the songs you like, focus on the details that make them sound that nice, read and watch online in order to learn about mixing, mastering your sound (there are tons of articles and youtube videos that teach you what you want to learn for free) and work on your music on a daily basis, as much as you can. Hard work makes all the difference.
Create the music you enjoy listening to
This is something very important. You DO NOT need to create what people like listening to this particular period of time or what big time DJs play at mainstream shows. Create the music you enjoy listening to because this is the only way you are going to feel fulfilled by the process.
Exercise and new ideas help music evolve in ways we can’t even imagine at this point, so you don’t need to limit your music as far as style or genre is concerned. Create what you enjoy listening to.
Upload your music everywhere
There is a nice and very descriptive video uploaded on Youtube by Anno Domini of AnnoDominiNation.com which describes and gives ideas on how to act as an online beatmaker that wants to sell more beats online, that I would recommend to everyone interested in making an online Beat Selling Business. Here it is:
So let’s start with the basics.
First of all, I would say that it is very important that you have created a catalog of at least 50 to 100 quality beats. For example, our own catalog consists of more than 400 beats and counting. It is extremely important also that your beats are of high quality, with proper mixing and mastering applied on them, so that you engage your listeners and make them come back for more.
This requires years of work, good ears and advanced beatmaking techniques so that your sound can be distinguished from the wide variety of beats available on the web, and build a trustful brand name.
Next step is to register your own website
Find a suitable domain name that matches your business brand name, and then search for a host provider. You can search for the availability of your domain name in places like Godaddy.com, and find a host provider in these places:
I would suggest to avoid complicated extensions such as .org or .net and stick with .com which is used more often and people are more familiar with.
Find an appropriate theme for your website which will help your site purpose which is of course to sell beats. You can find amazing wordpress themes especially made for selling beats online in the following places:
- Music maker
What you need to do next is to setup a Paypal account to accept your payments, and visit one the large Beat Selling communities to purchase a Beat Player which will be the most useful and important tool of your business. The three places you HAVE to visit to purchase a Beat Player are:
You have to decide which player suits most to your requirements, upload your beats, setup your prices and embed it on your website. That’s it. You are ready to start selling your beats!
Other places where you can promote and sell your beats, except your own website are Youtube, Soundcloud, Soundclick, ReverbNation, Bandcamp and CD Baby. Upload your beats on those platforms, include your information and a link back to your main website where possible.
Do not neglect to visit the forum sections of the websites mentioned above, because they tend to have very large hip hop (and not only) communities and are a great opportunity for you to become a member, learn from other members and make connections.
There are mainly four types of beat licenses. Basic, Premium, Unlimited and Exclusive. Of course these licenses changes if you want to sell mp3s or free demo downloads of your beats, but there four are the main types.
Price ranges vary for each license type.
Basic Licenses range between $5 to $50, Premium Licenses $30 to $80, Unlimited Licenses $50 to $120 and Exclusive Licenses range between $70 to thousands of dollars.
Demos, tagged or mp3 downloads are usually free or sold for a minimum price of $1.
Multiple income streams
One very important thing every beatmaker should consider is to try and create multiple income streams. This will help the individual not to keep all eggs in one basket and manage to continue generating money even if something with one of the income streams goes wrong.
To achieve this the beatmaker has many options.
First of all, he has the ability to create drum kit, drum loops, loop packages and bundles. Those can be uploaded on a shop and be sold through the main website, or create them and upload them on websites such as:
- Producer Loops
- Modern Producers
These places are a great opportunity for a little cash on the side, so that you can add up to your main income.
Promote on every social media platform available
Knowing how to manage the social media is very important when it comes to promoting your beats. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon come very handy, are free to use at least in the beginning and have tons of people using them every hour of the day.
It would be very helpful if you had the convenience to dispose even a small budget every month to enhance the traffic to your social profiles, creating for instance Facebook ad campaigns, but using them for free can be extremely crucial too.
What you need to focus on is to upload interesting content such as videos or photos that are eye-catching and can easily attract peoples’ attention, or some very useful blog posts that will solve peoples’ problems or questions and will link them to your main website.
Internet stations & music libraries
If you want to go a step further and make your beats available to more people you can upload them on internet stations and music libraries such as:
- Spotify (internet station)
- Pandora (internet station)
- Audio Jungle (music library)
- Pump Audio (music library)
Internet stations pay artists according to the number of plays of their tracks and they are a great place for instrumental music, with a wide variety of listeners and music genres.
Music libraries make your beats available for people that are looking to put music on their websites, youtube videos, podcasts, advertisements and video games. You can imagine the potential those libraries and the connections that can be created by uploading your music on them.
Royalties both on internet stations and music libraries are realistically pretty low, but they can add up as the plays or the demand for your tracks increase.
Make a list of subscribers as soon as possible
The importance of E-mail Marketing is known by most. Building an e-mail list from day one is one very important thing to consider when it comes to starting an online business. Same goes for a Beat Selling business.
Here is an article we created about the importance of E-mail Marketing and its amazing results for every online business.
The beatmaker should start collecting e-mails from people interested in his work as soon as possible. The most popular way to do this is by giving something for free in exchange for the peoples’ e-mail address such as an E-book, Drum Kits, Loops, a Software or pretty much anything digital that can be downloaded by the subscribers immediately after they give their e-mail address.
To achieve this, the Autoresponder is your main tool. Some of the best Autoresponder tools are these:
- Constant Contact
With these Autoresponders you can create sign-up forms, create e-mail campaigns and automate your business to save a lot of time and organize your work.
Make a team
We all know that beatmaking can be a one-person job. But when it comes to selling beats online things change a bit.
Organizing a team of beatmakers can benefit both sides. You can upload constantly more beats to your listeners with a very wide variety of unique styles and techniques. This way even the most demanding listeners will be satisfied and your brand’s creativity and diversity will be enhanced.
You can take a percentage of each beat that is sold through your website, and this way you help both the beatmakers that create the beats and yourself.
Compilations, mixtapes and contests
Making compilation albums and mixtapes can be very important for your brand name’s exposure and attract many potential customers. You can ask permission by the artists who have used your beats to contribute their tracks for your compilation album, or offer free beats for artists in order to create new songs exclusively for your mixtapes.
That way both you and the other artists gain exposure doing team work and promoting together your tracks. You can make the songs available to far more people than usual as both sides can be introduced to unknown audiences.
Running a song or a beat contest is another great way to promote your beats and your business. Ask people to contribute their lyrics for a new beat that you created and let the listeners decide who wins.
You can also challenge beatmakers to remix a beat or a song that you created. That way you amplify your brand’s exposure and you gain new creative ideas. What is more, you can test the peoples’ trends and watch closely to what they prefer listening to, so that you can improve as an artist yourself and manage to offer much more authentic, fresh and quality music to your audience.
Finally, you can finally sell those compilation albums, mixtapes and songs created in the contests and earn a nice commission on the side.
Last but not least, you are allowed to dream big. Correction. You HAVE to dream big. Limitations will only keep you back and the fear of success is going to haunt you. Don’t let that happen to you. Beatmaking is an international language with lots of opportunities, no matter what your sound, style or music genre is.
The only unbreakable rules are: Hard work, unbelievable effort, time investment, money spent and a long road to go. No famous and successful beatmaker/artist/entrepreneur was born successful, each one had to work to achieve their goals and chase their dreams in order to be able to enjoy the fruits of their work.
Have faith in you and your work, become better in making music day by day and improve your marketing skills by learning from your mistakes.
Nothing gets earned overnight.