The Trick To Selling Beats Online
Even though there are a lot of producers trying to sell beats online, very few are actually making a profit from licensing their instrumentals to artists. Most producers are not making more money than they are spending on their music. Social media gives us the impression that selling beats online is an easy way to make money. This perception couldn’t be further from reality.
Selling beats online is extremely difficult. The decreasing cost and increasing availability of music equipment have kicked down the barriers of entry into the music industry. Now anyone with a computer can make beats, create a website, and attempt to sell their instrumentals. You can go on any social network and see thousands of producers hustling hard trying to make a dollar. Very few of those beat makers are actually making money though. The reality is that only 3% of online businesses make a profit (more income than expenses). What do so many producers get wrong? What’s the key to making money from selling your instrumentals?
The trick to selling beats online is to not worry about selling beats online. Think about producing music like you would any other entrepreneurial venture. Take the “online” aspect out for a minute. Don’t think about the music part either. You are starting your own business. You need a great product, a store, goals, a budget, a brand, a schedule, and a plan. You need to invest in yourself in order to get a return. Approach selling beats like you would approach selling any other item.
Start by looking at your production catalogue from an artist point of view. Compare your beats to industry caliber production. How good are your beats? How many do you have? What type of beats do you have? Is your production better than most? How clean are your mixes? What makes you different? Are your beats worth paying for?
Artists can like your beats and not want to pay to use them. All producers deal with this to a certain degree. The key to converting artists into paying customers is inspiring them to do a song they believe in. If you can convince an artist (with your production) that they’ll create a hit song to your beat, they will have no problem paying for it. You need to create ideas for artists with your beats. This is essentially what separates beat-makers from producers. A producer can do much more than compose an instrumental. It doesn’t matter what genre of beats you produce. If you have good mixes, emotion evoking chord progressions, and hard hitting drum patterns; you can make money from selling instrumentals.
Rappers and singers have specific styles. Everyone has a unique taste in beats. Remember this when questioning your beat sales. Yeah, you may have 50 beats to choose from, but if you only have 2 R&B beats your beat selection sucks for R&B singers. You need to constantly be making new beats as well. An artist may like your beats, but if you only update your page every 3 months they are going to find beats somewhere else. You should aim to have at least 100 GREAT beats for artists to choose from before anything else.
You’re going to need a signature sound to hold the attention of artists. They listen to beats all the time. If your beats are mediocre, they’re going to get bored fast. Invest in some good VSTs, sounds, equipment, monitors, headphones, etc. Don’t use the same drum samples on every track.
You will need an online store to make consistent money from selling beats on the Internet. There are a ton of resources for this now. MyFlashStore, Soundclick, and Beat Brokerz are a few popular beat stores. You don’t necessarily need your own website to make money. However, you should have your own domain name. Make it something easy to remember so that people don’t have to type in a long link every time they want to hear your productions. You should also create a business account on PayPal so you can accept money from customers.
As stupid as it is, rappers care about who you’ve made beats for. The better your production credits, the easier it is for you to sell beats. People want to buy beats from producers who are hot. You’re going to struggle to sell beats, if you have no good songs. If you literally don’t have any good songs, focus on getting a few made before trying to sell beats.
Don’t limit yourself to selling beats in one format. You can charge artists more money for WAV and trackout leases. How you price your beats will impact your sales. Run some sales and discounts to encourage more artists to buy. Don’t charge too much for leases or exclusives if you are a new producer. Get some money coming in before you jack up your prices. Don’t worry about what other producers are doing. Just focus on your business.
Your brand is crucial. Decide on an original producer name and stick with it. Every time you change your producer name you make it harder for the people searching for you to find you. Pay a good graphic designer to make a logo for you. Make your Soundcloud, Soundclick, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, whatever other social network exists name all the same. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to track you down. Make it clear that you’re selling beats on your social media accounts.
I know this is going to break a lot of your hearts, but Twitter and Instagram are not the best places to sell beats. People use them because they are free. There are a lot of producers making big money who don’t really use social media. You have to go to where the artists are. It seems so obvious but people over think it. Make some business cards and go to open mics, music conferences, rap battles, and music networking events. Hand them out to anyone who looks like they do music. I’ve learned that a lot of artists are looking for new producers, but don’t know where to find them. If they’re serious enough to be out in the city working on their music, they’re probably paying for the beats they use. They probably know other rappers who are looking for beats too. There’s nothing like making connections in person.
You need to be aware of what it is you’re trying to do. Let’s say you want to do $20,000 in sales every year. If you lease beats for $20, you would need to sell 1,000 beats every year, 83 beats a month, and about 3 beats a day. We haven’t taken into account business expenses though. You need to pay for your beat store, new sounds, equipment, promotion, graphic design, etc. That means you actually need to sell MORE than 1,000 beats a year to make $20,000. Set a budget for monthly expenses and stick to it. It’s important to closely monitor your finances if you want to profit from selling your music. Remember that only 3% of all online businesses profit. For every 10,000 producers selling beats online, 300 of those producers are making a profit (more income than expenses).
Pay attention to the analytics on your beat pages. Look at how many people are listening to your music. Set goals based on those numbers. Let’s say you get 100 plays a day on Soundcloud and 2 out of 5 rappers are looking to buy beats. Let’s pretend 80 people pressed play but aren’t looking for beats (producers, DJ’s, engineers, your friends, your family, people who clicked your link through Twitter to be nosy, people who clicked play on accident). That leaves 20 people looking for beats and 8 people looking to buy beats. You had 8 potential customers on Soundcloud today. 8 people came in your store and looked around. Some of them could have come in the store and picked up more than one item (played more than 1 track). The point is you need to get A LOT of people listening to your beats REGULARLY, before you can sell beats consistently.
Word of mouth is the most important marketing tool for selling beats online. You need to get people talking about your beats. This is where you have to get creative and hustle. Make sure all of your friends and family are telling people about your beats. You will definitely need to pay for advertising to reach new customers. This payment could be direct or indirect depending on how you look at it. You can pay to promote your beat page on Soundclick, Facebook, Google, or DatPiff.
Maintain constant contact with all of your potential and current customers. The best way to do this (in my opinion) is by building an email list. You can maintain contact through social media too but there’s a good chance your followers may miss or ignore your promotional posts. An email list allows you to get directly in your potential customer’s inbox! What’s more valuable than free direct advertising? If you’re not currently building your email list, change that RIGHT NOW! Sign up at Mailchimp, FanBridge, or AWeber. You MUST have constant contact with your fanbase.
You shouldn’t restrict yourself to only selling beats. Use your music skills and brand to your advantage. Find other music related ways to make money. Charge other musicians for engineering, studio time, sound kits, promotion, graphic design, instrument lessons, or whatever else you can think of.
I hope this article inspired you to think about selling beats online in a new way! Be sure to join our mailing list for more tips like this!
Share this post