There’s a method of making money off music called beat making. Beats are often times used in Rap or Hip Hop music to compliment the singing or talking portions. They help the music flow and provide a wall of sound that allows the listener to experience the music and really consider what the artist wants to convey.
Here's how to make money selling beats.
Build a Reputation
Remember elementary school when everyone wanted to hang out with the popular kid? It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of his or her time didn’t they? Well the same applies in beat making. You need to become the popular kid before you’ll start making money. There’s a number of ways to do this but one thing is for certain, without high quality work, you won’t be a desirable beat maker.
Establish yourself as a beat maker who produces great sounding, high quality beats. Create a website or YouTube channel and connect with others in the industry. The goal here is to be noticed by those with a voice or a lot of followers (think Twitter mentions). If you are able to get your work on a hit album you’ll be set. Work towards this goal but don’t pass up on the opportunity to contribute some of your beats to a lesser known band or artist. You never know who the next big hit will be!
It’s absolutely necessary for you to hone your craft. This means spending time perfecting each and every little sound you produce. In a world fueled by social media its easier than ever to sign your professional death certificate by releasing a few bad beats. Make sure you’re 100% proud of your work before you allow anyone to hear it. In addition to this don’t be afraid to try new things. Like everything else the music scene is constantly changing and artists are always looking for something fresh to include in their next album.
Establishing yourself as an exclusive, in demand beat maker is paramount for your success. Remember that popular kid? Yeah, you want to be him. By being exclusive you will be able to focus more time on perfecting your music than selling it. Think of it this way. You can sell one beat for $1 to one thousand people or one beat for $1000 to one person. Which would you rather do? Limiting the sale of your beats gives you the ability to protect your reputation. Instead of letting a ton of artists over use your beats let only a few artists use them so that you become seen by the masses as an expert whose work isn’t cheap or imitated easily.
Producing different kinds of beats or including vocals (especially famous artists or female singers) will help to add a lot of value to your beats. In addition to vocals consider using an occasional sample. This allows you to harness the well-known work of others while still keeping it your own. If you pursue this path be sure you brush up on the process of clearing samples. It is not worth risking a lawsuit to save a few bucks on the licensing of a sample. After all if your beat makes it big you could potentially lose all your profits.
If your beats become popular enough, other artists will begin to ask for you by name. Once you’ve reached this level it will be considerably easier to make a living on your work. One perk of this is that you will be able to work side by side with other artists to craft the perfect beat. This reduces the likelihood of working for free that some new to the business, or unsuccessful beat maker’s experience.
You can’t sell what you don’t have. Before you try to make a name for yourself start with 20 – 25 solid beats and then create a profile on a site like Sound Click and offer your beats for sale. Having your work online is necessary to make sales and build a reputation. Try to avoid charity work (doing work for free) unless there is a big potential for a payoff.
Guest Post: Greg Davis is highly interested in all aspects of music. He’s a more than casual listener who enjoys working in the music industry as a writer and stage hand at various events. When not working or writing about music he can be found dancing at local concerts and shows hosted by the best San Diego DJ.