1. How long have you been making beats/producing?
I've been making beats for 5 years. I was first exposed to the idea of production 2 years earlier when I bought a cheap dj setup my freshman year of college. My friends used to come over and freestyle, and I would try to DJ the cypher for them. This was when I was first exposed to the genius of Dilla, and when I heard e=mc2, I was mind blown. I remember listening to the original samples he used for hours on end, trying to figure out how he flipped stuff.
2. How long have you been selling beats for?
I've really only been selling beats for 1.5 years now. It started really slow.
3. How are you selling/licensing beats?
I lease beats and also sell exclusives.
3. How did you get into selling beats?
I've always been an entrepreneur since as long as I can remember. Haha.. seriously I was that kid trying to sell lemonade at the stand. When I was like 10, I remember my dad selling tickets on this brand new website called eBay. He made a few hundred bucks profit, and we were hooked on the idea of selling online. I would hustle pokemon cards in middle school, and eventually it turned into hitting garage sales and goodwill stores to find stuff to sell online. My freshman year of college I read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, and it completely changed my life. I had the online business background and dreamed of making something like that work, and I experimented with a lot of different businesses, all the while making beats and trying to just get good. Eventually, I had someone offer to buy one of my beats on soundcloud, and they sent me cash via Western Union. I sold it for $250, which was like crazy at the time because it was something I created in my dorm room. I remember walking into the bank, and the teller asked me why I was being sent cash. She looked at me crazy when I explained that I had sold a beat, and she asked, "What makes you think you can do that?" I just smiled when she handed me the cash.
4. How much do you sell beats for?
My lowest lease is price $19.99 and goes up to $999 for exclusives depending on the beat.
5. How much do you make monthly or annually selling beats?
I am on track to make $45,000 this year, which is crazy to me, because I've really only been doing this full time for one year.
6. What platforms are you using to sell beats?
Youtube is my main platform for posting new content, and I have a Pro Page with Beat Stars, which operates as a simple website / eCommerce store.
7. How are you marketing your beats to sell?
As far as the creative process goes, I don't do anything specific to make my music more marketable. I just do what I do, which is make beats. I create everyday, and I choose what I like most about what I've created that day and upload it to my Youtube channel. If you look at my channel, I have a ton of beats up there with different vibes ranging from trap to soul. I have beats some people might not consider "marketable" because they are dusty sounding boom bap beats, or maybe they use a sample, etc. That's okay with me, because that's just a creative reflection of what I was making that day.
However, when I list my beats on Youtube, I definitely do a ton of research, and pick SEO friendly terms for the beat. Sometimes I list my beats as "type beats" and other times I just add keywords in the title that describe the beat. When I first started on Youtube, I was very against the idea of "type beats." I uploaded like 30 beats with different keywords around the "Hip Hop Beat" keyword, and wasn't getting a ton of traction. It was a few months later that I read an interview from Joey Bada$$. He had just released Christ Conscious, which to this day is still one of the craziest beats I've heard. In that interview, he said that he found the beat by searching "Joey Bada$$ Type Beat" on Youtube, and in that moment my entire outlook changed. Personally, when I label something as a "type beat", in my head I think, "Okay, if I had any artists' (or an A&R) email right now, who would I send this beat to?" Once I got a bigger audience on Youtube, I actually asked my subscribers what they thought about "type beats" and many people commented that it helps them know what to expect from a beat when they are searching, versus obscure descriptive words. In addition to that, I've also noticed some young / newer artists don't even know what makes something "boom bap", but many times that's really what they are looking for when they search "J Cole Type Beat" so it works hand in hand to include both keywords for me.
- Youtube isn't an easy route, and this didn't just come out of nowhere. But many people are afraid of this platform and that platform because of competition and saturation, etc. Everyone is looking for the easy route to selling beats, and it's just not there. The biggest thing I learned so far (and I'm still learning) is that whatever you're doing, you don't want it to be easy, because then it wouldn't be worth it if you're at the top. If you're wanting to make money online as a producer, you need nose to the grindstone work ethic. Anyone can make a beat any throw it on Youtube, so you have to work that much harder on your craft than the next guy. Also, there's too many people selling BS courses on making money selling beats online and I hate it because they don't talk about how much work it really is.
There's a lot of talk and debate on the idea of "Type Beats" and I just want to make clear that for me, it's never the starting point, and I don't want to encourage people as such. People really think that labeling something as a "type beat" is a shortcut, and it's just not true. I would hate people to read what I say and then search the top keywords and say, "Okay, today I see that Drake Type Beat is trending so I'm gonna make a Drake Type Beat." It doesn't work like that. It's about honing your craft and just creating, and using SEO as a tool after the fact. It's really a means to an end of visibility, not a starting point of the creative process. Many people on YT think they need to make what's popular or marketable, but you'll actually have more success if you target a smaller group and build from there. For example, you could make the most cosmic sounding obscure jazz beat, and end up selling it, because there's an audience for that on Youtube if you hustle and find it. At the end of the day, the key is to make the beats that you want to listen to, be patient, and work like a madman.
8. Are you generally happy with the end results of your beat sales? That is, if someone buys a beat are you stoked on the final product?
Every single time someone buys a beat from me, I send them a thank you email, and also ask them to send me the final product. I listen to all these songs. It's time consuming, and I know I might sound crazy to do that. Many people I know wouldn't go that extra mile, and I don't blame them, because there's some good, some bad, and some ugly. However, for me, it's more than just selling beats. It's a very rewarding feeling to know that I was able to inspire someone to create, regardless if I particularly like the end result. There have been times when I've heard tracks I really like, and been inspired to link with them and create outside of just trying to sell them beats. I'm also extremely patient, and realize that every single interaction is a way to build my brand, whether it's through my Youtube channel, email, other social media, etc.
At the end of the day, my goal is to connect with others, and to use my creations to inspire.
9. What type of clients do you have?
Most of the people that buy beats from me are independent / soundcloud rappers. I've yet to have a major placement, but I am patient and believe in my work. Another really dope aspect of building my brand via Youtube is that I market free-use instrumentals to other content creators like video editors, vloggers, etc.
10. What do you do with your beat income?
I've been fully independent from a 9-5 for almost 1 year now (on December 1st). This is the most amazing feeling in the world to me. The idea of online business and being location independent has always been a huge driving force for me. 3 months ago, my wife gave up her job, and we decided to travel and live in Europe for 3 months. I've been able to escape what the corporate world sells as the "American" dream, and create a dream of my own, traveling from country to country and really experiencing the world in a new light, all the while making and selling beats while we travel and live abroad.
Check out more from Homage Beats and Follow Him:
Homage Beats - Beats Store: www.homageproductions.com