How to Make Money as a Beat Maker
The entrepreneur spirit has never been more alive than it is today. More and more, people are ditching the 9-5 lifestyle to carve a career based on their passions. Why wouldn’t you? Technology, specifically social media, has enabled us the means to share our passions and make a sustainable lifestyle out of it. Fields ranging from ghostwriting to music production, the possibilities are endless.
So, as somebody who aims to make it big via music production, you’ll ask yourself: “How do I make money as a beat maker?” From licensing your beats to teaching courses online, there are multiple avenues in which beat makers can make a profit.
While the accessibility is available, don’t think you’ll immediately strike gold with your investment. Freelance work is just as rigorous as any formal profession, maybe even harder. You’ll have to constantly build your brand to generate revenue off your work. Here are some avenues where you can start developing your style and build yourself up as the next great music producer.
How to Make Money as a Beat Maker
There is no shortage of online producers who are striving to carve a name for themselves. The ease in which people can create music has increased within the digital age. If you have patience and a disposable income, it’s not that difficult to learn music production. This fact makes the market that much harder to navigate through, especially for someone new to the business. If you cannot separate yourself from the pack, then expect to be swept by the tide.
Without sugarcoating it, making money as a beat maker requires you to establish your brand as a business as quickly as possible.
Many buyers can instantly pick out the quality of the brand based on the presentation of the seller alone. A beat maker who sells their product via word of mouth has no chance against someone with an established social media presence, dedicated online store, and a loyal fanbase.
As a result, the quickest method to get your foot in the door is to start developing your niche and understanding the audience behind it. Once you’ve developed a library or a portfolio to sell, you can sell your products and build your identity as a brand name.
Developing Your Brand
Reaching this stage is not an easy process. You’ve invested time and money on not only a digital instrument but also the software needed to fine-tune your beats. With a firm understanding of the business, you can start developing a system to market your beats and generate a consistent revenue.
To build-up a profitable brand, the 4 keys to success are as follows:
- Establish your Niche
- Research the Audience of that Niche
- Build Your Portfolio
- Market your Portfolio to your Audience
Let’s go through this list in-depth, examining how each step will give you an advantage over other aspiring beat makers.
Establish Your Niche
What makes a brand really stand out is its individuality. Each has nailed down a specific niche that defines their brand. This makes a ton of sense as your niche can be something that you can produce effortlessly while still being enjoyable for you, the creator. For example, if your favorite genre to produce is lo-fi hip-hop beats or R&B, have that be your established niche.
An established niche will make it much easier for you to grow a following and find artists to sell your beats to. Remember, the main focus is to build a brand with a loyal fanbase. It’s better to be known as an R&B producer rather than that guy who “makes beats online”.
Even with a set niche, you still need to carve an identity within that niche. This is not to say that you have to completely reinvent the wheel. The point is that everyone and their mothers are getting into music, so why is your style more appealing than the competition?
If your niche involves lo-fi beats, examine your favorite artists and see what makes them stand out. But importantly, observe what you would change about their format. This mindset is the first step towards producing music in that genre with your signature flair.
Research the Audience of that Niche
This step occurs alongside establishing your niche. The goal is to research the audience of your niche, what they’re looking for, and what will they be attracted to. You have to get into the mind of a potential client.
To start, you should dive into discussion forums regarding the genre and of the popular artists that perform this style of music. You’ll gain insight into what the community loves about this niche and feedback regarding the styling production. If there’s an outstanding positivity towards a specific format or track use, consider incorporating that into your production.
Ultimately, we don’t want to copy anyone. But it’s crucial to see what has or hasn’t led to success for other producers. You need to provide for the needs of your targeted audience while retaining your unique niche. This is a daunting task, to say the least. But the experience is valuable towards building your brand as marketable.
Build Your Portfolio
With all the necessary prep work behind us, it’s time for the exciting part: making music! This step isn’t higher up due in part that aimlessly making beats without a niche and a targeted audience would hurt your brand. Without considering these two factors, you’ll have a low chance of generating a positive reaction from potential fans. In this regard, relevance is vital.
It’s a given that not everyone will connect with a certain beat. That’s why it’s crucial to build a portfolio of multiple tracks for clients to sample. A portfolio with a high track count will reassure you that one of more beats will appeal to browsing artists. Besides the quality, it really is a number’s game with your merchandise.
A portfolio with a diverse range will instantly attract a wider market than one where every sample sounds the same. Experiment with the beats per minute (BPM) or vocal features, whatever it takes to individualize each track. This extra effort will showcase not only the diversity of your production but the lengths you’re willing to take to create an exemplary product.
Market Your Portfolio to Your Audience
Finally, it’s time to market our portfolio to potential buyers. If you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume you’re a newer producer. With this in mind, let’s start with the easiest method towards marketing.
The best way to garner credibility is to market your beats by establishing a social media presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; all these sites allow us to join pages dedicated to interacting with potential clients. Here, we can post a sample or two from our portfolio for clients to browse. The networking potential from social media sites are near limitless to the people we can reach out to.
There’s also the additive benefit of interacting with other aspiring music producers and asking for their feedback on your portfolio. The collaboration process can showcase what your style may be lacking as well as examine how others are thriving in the community.
While it’s important to have a quality sample, it’s equally important to establish the right connections right off the bat. As they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know. By interacting with as many producers and potential clients as possible, this may lead to recommendations from their associates as well. As stated previously, similar to your portfolio size, it’s a numbers game when it comes to the people within your network.
An Established Market: What’s Next?
We’ve extensively looked at the steps needed to establish your brand in the vast marketplace called music production. You may be asking yourself; “Is that it”? The simple response is yes and no.
These steps will see you gather a small net worth of profit from selling your samples. But this is not enough to make a living off of it. At most, these steps are necessary to get your foot in the door. What comes afterward will dictate how you make a career out of your passions.
Let’s examine the additive steps that you can take to transition from an average producer to one that every artist will be clamoring for.
Create an Online Store
A lot of exemplary freelance workers will establish their brand with a website and logo, catering specifically to their services and credentials. This will further distinguish your brand against the competition. As a consumer yourself, you would easily choose a service with extra polish over their base-level counterpart.
As streamlined as it was to learn music production, the same mentality applies to create a unique site. Squarespace, Medium, Blogger (to name a few) are some of the best mainstream sources that novices have used to create personal sites.
This site will primarily be used to sell your beats and services to potential clients. But why stop there? Your online store can be used for fans to form a community. Essentially, you would create a safe haven for fans to discuss any common interest. You can also leverage the site by sending daily post, keeping fans updated with every stage of your production career.
As we emphasized, if the marketing doesn’t reflect the quality of the beat, then a buyer will simply overlook you. Going the extra mile will only benefit your experience in the long run.
In turn, a website dedicated to your brand will cause a surge of active users. Each user being interested in either your services or your thoughts on the production process. Every user is another person that you can sway with your influence. As a result, why not market other services that may appeal to them?
One approach is to place advertisements on your site. These advertisements should be catered to your audience and must be appealing enough for them to click on it. This form of advertisement is known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisement. The owner of the site will get a profit from every click, even more if the click leads to a sale.
Word of caution though; turning on advertisements may harm your reputation within your fanbase. There’s a certain stigma that websites bloated with advertisements are the creator’s intention of “selling out”. This is a double edge sword as you want to be faithful to your audience but at the same time, you still need to make a living.
If you are willing to place advertisements on your domain, keep them both relevant to the content and use them in moderation. An advertisement collaboration between yourself and your preferred DAW programming is a perfect example of this. This is a product that you cherish and that will be discerned by the audience. Unless you have a personal stake with the advertisement, it’s advisable to avoid posting it at all costs.
Services Besides Creating Beats
As a beat maker, you’re more than just the songs you produce. You’re an encyclopedia of knowledge that can assist and teach others. Your resume should include skills such as:
When an artist is looking for someone with your qualifications, there’s a potential profit to be made. By expanding your services, you’ll generate another avenue to earn a profit and increase your marketability.
A producer, known as “a jack of all trades”, will always be more appealing to a vast array of clients than one who is simply producing a beat. This mentality will go even further towards expanding your social network. This influx of new clients will definitely recommend you to associates within their inner circle, resulting in a surge of positive trafficking on your website.
This can be taken one step further with the inclusion of teaching others how to get into music production. Using sites like Skillshare or YouTube, you can continue to increase your personality by creating a video series based on your production process. Tutorial videos are a huge commodity to gather great P.R for freelancers. Everyone uses the internet to learn new knowledge, why not be the face associated with their success?
Think about it this way: all the online personalities that taught you what you know are just regular producers like yourself. Now that you have built a brand name for yourself, why not return those services for other beginners as well?
With an active fanbase and website, you may consider selling merchandise to increase revenue and attention to your brand. If given the opportunity to support their favorite artists or influencer, many fans will easily pay extra to sport merchandise with your branding on it. Items with your logo or brand’s slogan are an easy commodity to produce through a third-party company.
In the best-case scenario, you can go about selling $20 t-shirts or $40 hoodies for a nice net profit that will go directly to you. The third-party company responsible for the production line will only take a small margin. They will also include other free services such as shipping and handling. This hands-off process gives you more liberty to focus on your production schedule. Like everything else we’ve mentioned in this guide, the extra work will only increase your revenue and social image.
There are some caveats to this financial prospect though. You have to make sure that you have an active enough fanbase to risk producing merch in bulk. Many online sellers take this approach to minimize production costs. This incentive may put you in an awkward scenario where you’re stuck with a stock of merch that no one wants to buy. But if you’re confident that your fanbase is loyal enough to splurge on your branding, then take the risk.
Back in the day, it was difficult to make money as a beat maker. Unless you were signed under a label or had connections to the industry, you had a low chance of success. Since then, things have changed drastically, thanks to the internet.
The hustle required to sell your brand still exists, but it has transitioned to become a lot more streamlined. Don’t confuse streamlined with easier though. The hustle still remains to present yourself as a viable investment. Why you maybe passionate about your creations, if that sentiment isn’t represented in your marketability, then it will be meaningless. What is most crucial is the perception of the clients on your brand.
Looking through this guide, you should have the knowledge necessary to break into the business and develop your brand. The difference between a successful beat maker and you are the hours spent hustling their product. Time, labor, and a bit of good luck are the only factors holding you back.
But enough talk. If you’re serious about making a career out of your passion, then it’s time to start now. Hopefully, you’ll look back at this guide with great success and create your own message for the next aspiring beat maker to come.