If you’re a music producer of any kind, then you know that getting samples for your tracks isn’t always easy. Unless you’re creating all of your music with organic recordings of instruments or crafting custom sounds in your favorite VST sampler like Massive, then you’ve probably turned to finding free or purchasable sound samples online.
There are a few popular websites that you can go to when you want to purchase a “beat” – in the producing world, a “beat” is not just the term for rhythm samples, but it can also be a melodic synthesizer, bassline, or any other kind of recording.
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve browsed online and have seen the “competition”. Sure, there are lots of websites that have great websites, and it might seem fruitless for you to take the time to create your own website. However, consider this: if you build your own website to build your personal brand, then other producers who need beats will come to you if they need something unique…
…and they’ll always need something unique!
Start With Your “Sound”
What kind of genre do you specialize in? Rock? Hip-hop? R&B? EDM?
This may not have occurred to you up until now, but there are literally hundreds of subgenres of the “main” genres these days. Within each of those subgenres, there are different types of samples and beats that you can sell.
For a (pretty) complete list of genres and subgenres, you can visit MusicGenresList.com.
Set A Production Schedule
When you’ve decided that selling beats is the way you want to go to make money as a musician, before you create your website you need to have content. In your case, this means that you need to actually have a certain number of beats ready to sell so you can upload them to your website.
For starters, you probably want to have at least 1,000 beats ready to go. Boy, that’s a lot, you may think to yourself. However, don’t be discouraged – the reason you want to have at least 1,000 beats ready to sell is because you need a wide selection.
If a young producer who’s just getting started comes to your site, he/she will come with the mindset that they’re going to have to browse the website to find what they want and/or need. If you only have twenty beats on your website, then he/she isn’t going to be impressed with your selection at all.
To remedy this, think about how quickly you want to set up your website. This isn’t an overnight effort, after all – it’s going to probably take the better part of a year just to gain some serious traction and customers. Go into this venture with the expectation that you’re actually going to have to put effort into this if you want to make money as a musician, because this is how musicians make money: with hard work and dedication!
Once you’ve decided on your timeline, figure out how many beats you need to produce every day. An easy break down would be 1,000 beats ÷ 10 per day = 100 days. Not bad – that’s about 2½ months of working your tail off for a few hours every day.
Once you’re done, and if your beats are great, then you’ll be ready to launch your business.
Setting Up An Official Business
Make no mistake that when you start selling beats online, it’s imperative that you have already established a legal business entity. To sell something to anyone – no matter what form it takes – you must have some sort of structure set up.
This involves a few steps. Depending on what state you’re in, the cost to register your business will vary. If you’re a Military Veteran, this may even be free!
Once you’ve registered your business, you need to make sure you get an EIN registered with the IRS. The easiest way to do all of these things at once is through LegalZoom; however, be aware that it’s absolutely free to register your EIN with the IRS, and websites like this will charge a fee. LegalZoom can at least help you through the process of registering your business!
Launch Your Online Store
Now that you’ve set up your business legally, you are ready to set up your online store. Here are a few great examples to model your store after:
Each of these websites has a different branding feel to them, but you get the idea. Find what kind of store best expresses your audio beats & samples, and you’ll be well on your way to making money as a music producer.
The best part about selling beats and audio samples online is that once you’ve uploaded them for purchase, they can produce passive income. Make sure that your store says they’re “royalty-free” so your customers don’t have to pay a royalty every time their song is played commercially (that’s a WHOLE other level of complication, and if you don’t have royalty-free beats and audio samples then you’re really losing to your competition).
Start Marketing Your Online Store
Once you’ve established your business and your website is ready to go, it’s time to show the producing world why they should purchase their beats from you…
…except, it’s not that easy.
The truth is, there’s a LOT of competition out there, and a lot of talented folks. To gain an edge over your competition, you have to find something that sets your brand apart without reinventing the wheel.
To do this, the best method of finding your “competitive edge” to make money as a musician is to work on your personal branding. Many music producers who are looking for beats want to purchase from a face – it makes it a more “human” purchase, and they’ll be loyal to not only your brand, but recognize your skills as a producer as well.
Don’t be afraid to record yourself on YouTube and put yourself out there as an expert producer. It takes guts to run a business of any kind, but it takes even more courage to talk on video, put your face out there, and risk your personality to internet trolls.
The music industry is a pretty cutthroat market, and it takes cunning and skill to make serious money. However, if you choose to play in the big leagues, you have to be ready to put in a big amount of effort to make money as a musician.