So you’ve spent the last few months passionately makin’ beats and getting to know your favourite DAW. You’ve played a few of them for your friends and heard some of them throw a few rhymes over some too, but now it’s time to take your beats out there into the world. There’s a number of different ways you can go about doing this, both in the real world and online, but using ye olde internet is what we’re going to talk about today.
Getting started becomes easier and easier as the years go by, with software being more and more accessible and equipment getting cheaper so it’s important to think ahead and make sure you stand out. It’s about building a brand, taking advantage of YouTube and eventually opening a store to sell those hits. Oh, and of course there’s the social media grind but don’t worry, we’ve got the right tips to show you just how to level up in your quest to live that Producer life.
#1 – Branding
Having a brand isn’t just a business thing anymore…in fact, start calling it that because that’s exactly what this is. You’re in the business of makin’ dope-ass beats, never forget it. If you don’t already have an alias then don’t stress, using your real name is perfectly fine. When you eventually start filling out the legal stuff, you’re probably going to be using your real name anyway…but I’m getting ahead of myself. For those with the artistic talent, designing a logo should be a piece of cake but if you need a bit of help, there are plenty of freelance artists for you to hire on Fiverr (for only $5!).
Be sure to pick three or four colours that you’ll use consistently to help form a central theme. You’ll use these colours on your pages so people recognise you on every platform and a recurring image keeps popping up in their heads. Don’t be afraid to take a few snaps of yourself too. People need more than a pretty logo, so why not that pretty face? Again, using the same image throughout will put you on the fast track to recognisability so make it a good one.
#2 – YouTube
Song hosting sites, like datpiff and Soundcloud, used to be the go-to places to host your music but YouTube is one that has stood the test of time. New artists and producers emerge every day and it’s left those two sites in particular flooded with wannabe talent, making it that much harder to stand out. The same could be said for YouTube (I mean, I bet someone is uploading a cover of a Shawn Mendes song as we speak) but there’s one key element that still makes it a great resource. In case you didn’t know, Google owns Youtube and it integrates with every Gmail account on the planet.
Since we all have one of those, everybody can view, like, share and comment on any video without having to complete a whole other sign-up. Human beings have become very visual creatures and need that stimulus to keep their full attention. Even if it’s a still image, most people need something to keep their eyes occupied as well as their ears. The image you create should be relevant to the brand you’re trying to build remember and should follow the same design characteristics. It’s not just text explaining your song, think of it more like a poster for the music they’re listening to.
#3 – Selling
Once you’ve gotten a few views online and read a few comments from people saying “…that’s dope”, it’s time to start thinking about monetizing your talent. This is where a lot of guys go wrong simply by forgetting one important thing: This is a business, you’re an entrepreneur and you are trying to sell a product. Quality. Always. Counts. Spend a few bucks to get a professional mixdown of your beat or spend a few minutes on youtube learning how to do it yourself, it will always be worth it in the end.
I personally hate listening to beats that have these piercing high hats or snares overpower anything resembling a melody. It’s hard to be creative when the music is hard to listen to and ultimately, it will drive potential customers away.
Beatstars.com is a great place to host your finished product. They offer a free sign-up in exchange for 30% of each sale, but once you start making that dough, you can upgrade to a monthly subscription to keep all your royalties. They also have a host of promotional tools that you can use and offer contract templates if you want to sell Exclusive Rights to your beats. And to make sure no-one gets away with a free download, you can add your own pre-recorded voice tag that can be removed upon purchase.
#4 – Social Media
Social Media isn’t just for Justin Bieber fans anymore. Many businesses see it as a vital advertising tool and remember, you’re a business too. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, I swear, the list goes on and every year, people are flocking to a new platform. Now that doesn’t mean you need to be blowin’ up across every inch of social web space there is. The simple strategies work best and so for a start, pick one platform and keep that as your prime source of online engagement (liking, sharing and commenting). Use the rest as share-only pages and generally make promotional posts on your latest creations. Being highly active on one is better than partially active on many.
HowToMakeHip-Hop.com Interview with JCaspersen
I happened to meet JCaspersen one day when I was doing the rounds on Twitter. It may have been the “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” tweet that he had pinned to his timeline but nevertheless, I was impressed by what I heard. Not only that, but he regularly updated his followers on the success he encountered and I was keen to learn how he turned his passion into a thriving business. So I caught up with JCaspersen and he was kind enough to answer a few burning questions. You can listen to and purchase his beats at JCaspersenBeats.com.
10 February 2017
1. How old were you when you got started and what software did you use?
“I was around 17. I use FL Studio.”
2. Did anyone, in particular, inspire you to get into the production game?
“To begin with, my friends and I were just playing around with a software called Dance eJay. Then I started getting interested in music and I found Vybe. His beats were a major inspiration to me.”
3. How long were you making beats before you were ready to go online?
“I think I put my first beats online after a couple of months.”
4. Which platform did you use first to share your music (Youtube, Soundcloud etc.) and which is your favourite today?
“I started on YouTube. Then people started requesting somewhere to purchase my beats, so I made a SoundClick page. I don’t really have a favorite. I’m using SoundClick, YouTube and BeatStars and they all have their advantages.”
5. Looking to the future, how do you plan to Level Up this year and improve your game?
“I’m looking to work with some more artists & labels here in Denmark. Other than that, I’m gonna focus on YouTube I think.”
6. Which artist or producer would you pick to be your dream collaboration?
“Right now, I would love to work with Kehlani or Young Thug. As far as producers go, there’s always Boi1da.”
7. What advice would you give to any beginners out there?
“Learn how to play an instrument. Preferably piano or guitar. That will help you big time. Other than that, just focus on perfecting your music. Everything else will follow.”
These are all important things you need to consider. My advice would be to start getting ideas as soon as possible and to go back and make sure you’re makin’ beats worth buying. Even if you start out small, growing any business takes time. Put yourself in the entrepreneurial mind state and get used to being as business-savvy as you are creative.
Got any more questions before you get started? Or have you already begun your journey to that Producer life? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
- So You Wanna Make Your Own Rap Beats?
- How To Make Your Own Beat Studio
- Loops and Sample Packs: What They Are and How to Use Them