Posted on April 27 2018
On this week’s podcast episode Wes and John Smythe had an amazing discussion about alternative ways to make money as a producer/and or musician. If you missed it check it out! This topic is so important and worth expanding upon in an age where producers really have to get creative and rethink how they do business in order to succeed. Considering this I’ve compiled 3 ways that producers can make more money for their time and effort.
Be a Brand, Be a Business…
Selling your beats online is probably an obvious first step to make money, but your personal brand usually determines how successful you will be at it. Know that the way you portray yourself and interact with others on social media is essential to your brand. If you choose to keep your personal social media separate from your business than you should make efforts to have brand continuity across the board for all of you social media pages that point people to your work (make a separate page on each platform for your business). Everything from artwork to names of beats and such matter! Be authentic but also know who you are trying to sell to. If you want people to find your music and pay for it, make sure its quality production that you’ve put time into. Be sure to upload on your respective platform (Soundcloud, Beatstars, Youtube etc.) so people can stumble upon your music and hear your work (this again is where artwork and presentation matter). Having the mindset that you are a business goes a long way when you are trying to attract clients. Professionalism as far as being easy to reach through an email that you check daily can make all the difference. Of course many reading this know that these are the very basics of selling online but to really be successful in today’s market you have to adjust to how people are consuming. Which brings us to our next point…
YouTube and Licensing
Hosting your beats on YouTube can lead to successful leads with reaching masses of potential buyers who you don’t readily have access to your website. YouTube is the most used website in the world to listen to music legally, though it wasn't created for music streaming. Clearly the traffic is there so leveraging the potential eyes you’ll get is crucial. Furthermore beat licensing online has been a lucrative alternative to selling beats wholesale for a good amount of time now and YouTube has been a prime environment for this exchange. You can sell for cheaper and sell the same beat over and over again to a number of artists getting exponential return for your work. The “Type Beat” phenomenon has many producers touting channels with substantial amounts of subscribers and views on their beats because of the power of search engine optimization. An even more important piece to making this YouTube licensing process work is to register your work with a distributor (such as Tunecore etc) and to upload work frequently. The more quality work that you put out with titles that are relevant and search worthy, the higher your chances of building subscribers, views and people who will want to license a beat from you. But the hidden treasure in all of this is getting enough traffic and views on your work to where you can receive ad revenue from YouTube. Even if you don’t make sales some days you could be collecting money on people just listening to your beats!
Diversify Services Offered
Many times it seems far too easy to pigeon hole yourself as a producer who can only sell beats to make money...so if you don’t get that big placement or you can’t keep selling beats to make any kind of substantial money what then? Many of these extra avenues of income in the music production industry are right at your fingertips and are things you may already do!
-Engineering, Mixing and Mastering:
Most Engineers are/or where producers first. If you already spend a substantial amount of time focusing on this aspect of production, choosing to take a bit more time to learn the craft may provide you with the skills for a whole other career. Though there are automated mixing and mastering services arising, the demand for real human labor is still the industry standard. You’d also be surprised to note how much a background as a producer helps in post production with mixing/mastering. Those ‘post pro’ decisions can many times make or break a record! Many want to be the producers making beats and getting placements meanwhile overlooking the fact that they could make just as much money (sometimes more) as engineers.
-Specialization in Collaboration forming Production Groups:
It’s usually hard to make a living out here on your own as a producer, but with anything there is strength in numbers. Find some like minded people who you work well with, pull your resources together and make moves. Being in the digital-age makes the possibilities endless as now you could be working with people half way across the globe that you haven’t met face to face. Maybe drums aren’t your strong point but melodies and sounds are. Find those who have strengths that are your weaknesses to make a better finished product. Even teaming up with songwriters and artists who can record demos to your production can open up more opportunities for your songs to get placed.
As I mentioned before YouTube is essential for building your brand and business as a producer and another avenue that it present on this platform is getting into the “How To” industry. If you have some skills with your production why not share? Just posting yourself making a beat is content that attracts so many viewers. With the right leveraging of this content you can capitalize on the ad revenue, build your following and then use your vlogging to gain more traffic ultimately raising chances to sell/license your beats. Once you gain interest from your channel you can take it a step further and create online classes that service other people trying to learn to make beats as well.
We know how hard it can be trying to make money selling beats online but with a little adversity comes creativity. Open your mind to all the possibilities I’ve listed and go do some exploring of your own. Try a bunch of different things to find your niche but most importantly get to work! In this ever evolving industry there’s always new ways to make income if you just put your mind to it!
- John McNeill