SELLING YOURSELF AND YOUR BEATS
So you have been working really hard in the studio and have put together about 10 to 15 beats that you think are some of the best work you have done in months. So what do you do now? That is a great question and one that we will cover in more detail in this week's article “ Selling Yourself and Your Beats.
Did you know there are over 4 million songs on Soundclick and iTunes has sold over 10 billion songs! By these numbers we know that selling music is far from dead because people are still making money from music and more importantly to you from selling beats. So how do you sell more tracks and get more money in your pockets? Well it is really about selling yourself and not your music per se. Now this does not meaning that the track is unimportant in the sale process, but it does mean that it plays a lesser role than what most people think.
WHO ARE YOU?
I know Rodger Daltrey first asked the question 34 years ago, but it still must be asked today. Who are you? What kind of producer are you? What style of producer or beat maker are you? If you don't know who you are then your fans won't know either. Of course the sound of your music is very important but equally as important is you. Buyers are buying you and what you stand for along with your actual music. Remember fans need to relate to you and to your music so don't make it hard for them.
I see some new producers and artist who say that they don't fit into a box or a style of music. That may be true but you want your music to fit into a style at least partially so that fans can easily relate to it. Once you make a name for yourself you will have the freedom to explore more, but when starting out it is best to stick with a style. Now this doesn't mean that you can be different or even sound different. All it means is that you should try to make it easy for your fans to describe your music to other possible fans. Rather your style is more like Kayne's or more like deadmau5 it really doesn't matter as long as fans can group it and relate to it. Identifying with your audience is the first part to the sale.
TIME TO CHANGE HATS
Once all the creative work of building your beat is done it is time to put on the sales and marketing hat. Although this is difficult for some of us it is a very important step. You must be willing to become a salesperson and sell yourself and your music. This step is a must if you don't want to end up with empty pockets and a bunch of tracks on your computer that only you and your friends have heard. These are two “must do” things you have to do to be successful in selling your beats.
Give your beat a name – Don't just give your beat any name that first comes to mind. You really want to take some time and listen to your track several times before giving it a title. What lyrics do you hear when you play the beat? What is the hook? What feelings do you have when you hear this beat? If you can answer these questions you will come up with a track title in no time. Now keep in mind that an artist may not use the original title when they release it on their album or mixtape, but the name will most certainly give him or her ideas for writing to it. Helping to give your artist song ideas will most certainly help with selling your beats to them.
Find your niche – Many producers and beat makers spend so much time trying to sound like this person and that person that they never find their own sound. They key word here is “find”. You must find your sound not go searching for it. There is a big difference. Many music producers when starting off go and search for a certain sound. This is usually in the style of their favorite producer. This is not original and will leave you feeling like your music sounds too much like a certain producer. It is okay to let those you admire influence you, but you don't want to end up copying them. You want your sound to find you and not the other way around. Making music is a process and finding your own niche or your own sound is part of that process.
WHY DO PEOPLE BUY MUSIC?
The purchase of music has always been and still remains an emotional process. Everything related to marketing music is based on trying to spark a certain emotional response. Hey, everything related to music is about an emotional response from creation to sale. Everything from the notes used, the naming of the track, the bridges, the breaks, the tempo, etc., are all used to create emotion. So don't forget this very important factor when it is time to sell your beats. People buy music with emotion.
Your beat creates emotions and emotions create feelings, feelings create sales and sales create money in your pocket. It is important that you don't forget this simple fact and use it to your advantage. Think about what emotions would cause people to buy and keep them in mind when marketing your music.
Okay you now have an identity as a producer. You have a style of music your fans can relate to and a catchy name for your track. You are also keeping in eye on the emotional part of the sale, so now what's next? The next step is to close the sale. This is not the hard part but the easy part if you already have the other parts in place. The guys that sell a lot of beats each month are not just sitting around waiting for someone to buy, but are actively promoting their music through several channels. Don't be afraid to ask for the sale.
Article written by Alex Butler
Alex is an audio engineer, studio producer and freelance writer based out of Seattle, WA.