Selling beats ain't always an easy task. It takes a certain awareness and "know-how" that not everyone is prepped with right from the jump.
Sales is a vital skill, and it's equally important whether you're selling beats online or you're landing major or indie placements in person 💎
The best place to start improving your beat sales is to be able to identify why artists don't seem down with your beats.
We're not talking about vague and uncertain answers like: "I guess I just sent them something they didn't like" or "Maybe my beats aren't good enough yet." We're talking about black and white, easy to understand reasons why your beats aren't getting purchased / used by rappers and singers ✅
These reasons are pretty common and can significantly help you grow as a producer and start getting noticed in the industry:
Reason #1: Overproduction
The next time you're in the car, turn on the radio and listen to your local Hip Hop station 🔉 Listen to how spacious and straightforward-sounding the beats of major rap songs are (pretty similar with underground songs too).
It's not uncommon for new producers to over-compensate for the perceived rookieness of their beat by adding more layers and ideas than necessary.
Even more experienced producers can lose sight of their beat and add way too many instruments, FX, and drums 😅
Just because a beat is "busy" doesn't mean it's great.
An artist should be able to project themselves onto your beat when they hear it for the first time. They shouldn't feel that they need to compete with the beat for the listener's attention.
The key to avoid overproducing your beats is to not lose focus of the final purpose of your beat 💎
For example, if you're making a DaBaby type beat, remember that most of his songs only involve one or two instruments (usually a flute melody or some piano notes without chords) and then some bouncy, spacious drums.
On the flip side, if you're making a Lil Nas X type beat, his songs tend to be much more layered with harmonies, melodies, and progressing drums 👍
Don't overthink it; try using a timer to make beats to improve your efficiency in the lab and prevent you from adding unnecessary elements and layers to your instrumentals.
Reason #2: A Bad Mix
While a "good" or "bad" mix can be subjective, it's worth noting that an artist will steer clear of a poor mix when they hear one. It's certainly worth your time to have a general grasp on best mixing practices.
The bulk of mixing Hip Hop beats is addressed with 1) sound selection, 2) basic leveling (gain staging), and 3) EQ. Other helpful tools, of course, include the lite use of creative effects such as reverb, delay, chorus, and flanger, etc.
A good mix will have a low end that kicks you in the chest and a high end that shines without making your ears bleed. It will be balanced in such a way that makes the listener want to hang out in that sonic space.
A great way to tell if you're hitting the mark is simply asking your friends or family whether they vibe to what you've got going on. Even if they don't appreciate the style you make, you should be able to get a sense of whether they'd consider it on par with the other published music they hear on the regular 💯💎
An additional technique is to A / B your track against comparable published music. Flip back and forth between them, keeping in mind that the published music is fully mastered and will likely be louder than your current mix.
The foundation of your beat shouldn't be distorted, muddy, or outdated samples. You can't polish a turd 💩
Team ProducerGrind's YouTube is a great place to start for learning how to mix properly. Get those mixing chops up, and you'll have artists banging on your door to sing over your masterpieces 🚪
Reason #3: Boring Beats
There's a thin line between making a boring beat and overproducing 👀
Before you condemn a beat as "boring", try to envision an artist doing their thing overtop. If you maintain that a beat just ain't catching, then you might want to consider adding additional elements ✅
Try a switchup, or maybe even transpose your beat to another key. There's all sorts of things you can add or adjust to make a "boring" beat an engaging beat.
Be honest with yourself. You don't need to upload everything you make. If a beat just ain't it, no sweat. Move on.
Remember; the beats used in popular songs always have a super catchy sonic hook and have bounce in their drums that inspires flow.
It's your job to find and bring out these qualities.
Reason #4: You're Using Outdated Sounds
If you want success in the Hip Hop industry, you have to make music that sounds modern with the current sonic trends 💯
Having a modern sound is essential for getting artists interested in the beats you send out.
And can you blame them? An artist wants to jump out of the gate with a fresh sound. They don't want to sound like they've just jumped out of the early 2000s (unless, of course, that is what they want).
This doesn't mean you have to create generic stuff 👍 Keep your flavor and don't sell out!
Keep your stash fresh
What's considered "modern" is constantly shifting in Hip Hop. For example, short 808s is a big trend. If you listen closely to radio and popular beat-selling platforms, most trap music is currently using short, distorted 808s 👂
Thinking back ten years ago when Chief Keef was coming up hard out of Chicago, short 808s were nowhere to be heard.
Chief Keef's main producer Young Chop (along with other relevant producers at the time), were all using long and sustained 808s in their beats 👀
Reason #5: Bad Marketing
Whether you rely more on Instagram or you're focused on building a YouTube type-beat channel to drive traffic to your beat store, one thing stays the same no matter the platform; quality marketing is important 💎🔥
Sitting on a goldmine with no way to tell anyone is just as useless as not having any gold at all 🔑
If you're really trying to level up your marketing, follow your favorite producers and creators on social media and study what they're doing. Make sure to also get on their email lists.
Everyone's competitive edge is different, so try different approaches and don't be afraid to fail 💪
Even if you're not focused on selling beats, landing placements online requires you to know how to DM artists, managers, and A&Rs to get a response and be taken seriously!
The key is to quickly communicate what sets you apart as a beat seller. What's your value-add? What's the buying / licensing process? How can people communicate with you?
Definitely check out our guide to increase beat sales with email marketing 💯💰
Hopefully one of these five reasons why artists aren't buying your beats resonated with you. If one did, that's a great place to focus on.
Being a beatmaker isn't easy. There's lots of competition and even more things lobbying for the attention of your customers. But with enough gusto, finesse, and smarts, you're sure to find that sweet spot where you are regularly engaging with interesting and talented clients. Together you'll rise to the top!